Dogs more likely to be right-handed

Was drawn to the recent article in The Times because of Hollie who is most certainly right paw dominant which has not helped her recovery at all bless her!.

“The vertebrate brain is crossed-wired, ie, the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body,” said Dr Elisa Frasnelli, a researcher. “Thus, the use of the right paw suggests an activation and control by the left hemisphere.”

Some 58 per cent of those with a preferred paw were right-pawed, the study, published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science found.

My father regularly comments aka repeats himself! that pets are becoming ‘more human’ and he does have a point, and to be fair he did point out this article to me.

Original Article

Dog owners often like to project human qualities on to their pets. But a study suggests there is one area in which canines do follow mankind; they are more likely to be right-pawed.

An analysis of nearly 18,000 dogs in Britain has found nearly 75 per cent of the pets showed a paw preference when reaching for food. Of these, just under 60 per cent preferred to use their right.

The researchers, from Lincoln University, said that having a preferred limb, known as lateralisation, is thought to be beneficial because it makes animals more efficient at tasks.

Previous studies have found that chimpanzees with a stronger hand preference forage more efficiently for termites. And locusts with a stronger leg preference make fewer mistakes when attempting to cross a gap, which suggests improved motor control.

“The vertebrate brain is crossed-wired, ie, the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body,” said Dr Elisa Frasnelli, a researcher. “Thus, the use of the right paw suggests an activation and control by the left hemisphere.”

Having a lateralised brain “avoids competition between the two hemispheres”, she said. One side can be busy performing a routine task, while the other can simultaneously respond to unexpected stimuli. “Timing can be vital in situations when, for example, an animal needs to escape from a predator”, she said.

For the study the team used data from the owners of 17,901 dogs across the UK. The owners had to place a treat inside a cardboard or plastic tube and observe how their pet tried to retrieve it.

They were asked to score whether their dog used their left forepaw or right forepaw or whether it was difficult to tell. The trial was repeated three times.

Some 58 per cent of those with a preferred paw were right-pawed, the study, published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science found.

When the team broke their results down further, they found that female dogs were more likely to be right-pawed than males, with 61 per cent preferring the right, compared with 56 per cent of males. The researchers said this suggested that hormones may be playing a part in lateralisation.

Although the study did not monitor which of the pets had been neutered, previous research has found that more female dogs than males are neutered.

The proportion of right-pawedness was also higher in elderly pets compared with younger ones. “It is possible that as an animal ages, it learns which paw is more efficient to use, however, the mechanism that governs this is not yet fully understood,” said the researchers.

When analysed by breed, they found that greyhounds, dobermanns and rottweilers had the highest proportion using their right paws more, while lhasa apsos, rough collies and Rhodesian ridgebacks had the lowest.

A previous study by Queen’s University Belfast, found that left-pawed dogs took longer to approach a bowl of food when it was placed in an ambiguous position, compared with the right-pawed ones. The results suggested that the lefties were more “pessimistic” than their right-pawed peers, the researchers said.

Dr Deborah Wells, a researcher, said that “from a pet owner’s perspective, it might be useful to know if an animal is left or right-limb dominant as it may help them gauge how vulnerable that individual is to stressful situations”.

About 90 per cent of humans are right-handed, a finding that is consistent across all cultures. As with dogs, men are more likely to be left-handed than women. Another study, again by Queen’s University, Belfast, found that female cats were more likely to be right-pawed than males.

Researchers from the University of Trento, Italy, reported in December that wolves were more likely to be right-pawed than left.

CLEVER CANINES
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Dogs can smell human emotions

A dogs can use its strong sense of smell, which is about 100,000 times more powerful than a human’s, to detect human moods based on our sweat. In a 2017 study published in the journal Animal Cognition, human volunteers watched videos designed to cause fear or happiness, while scientists collected samples of their sweat. The samples were presented to domesticated dogs and their heart rates monitored: dogs given sweat from those who had been scared showed more signs of stress than those given sweat from those who were happy or neutral.

Puppies are born deaf . . .

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