Question about raised paw?

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Cry cry cry!
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 7:06pm PST 
Just something I've noticed lately with both Mulder and Ridley... Mulder's always done it, and I never really thought anything of it, but now that Ridley's picked it up I'm curious.

Occasionally when out on the trails or even sometimes in the yard, either Mulder or Ridley will get hyper focused on something, and "point". As in, raise a front paw to to their chest like a bird dog might.

I highly doubt its actual pointing behavior... where on earth would that have come from, you know?... but its just sort of funky!

Is this something all dogs do, and I've just mistakenly taken it as exclusively a pointer's trait?

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 7:16pm PST 
I've witnessed some dogs do who do that, too. Not all of them were pointers. I'm not really sure how that works, though. Maybe they're learned behaviors? Maybe it's instinctual in many dog breeds? shrug

I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 7:41pm PST 
It's my understanding that a raised paw means that a dog is unsure about something.
Could be that Mulder caught a particularly interesting scent and was unsure about its origin?

Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 7:47pm PST 
JT does it too when he's super excited and focused on something. With I ask him to 'watch it!' when we play soccer his mouth snaps shut, he lowers his body and curls one paw up in antcipation knowing I'm gonna kick his ball. (his favorite thing is blocking it out with his head, don't ask!) It's so cute lol. I've seen a few other ball obsessed herding dogs do the same.

Edited by author Sun Oct 28, '12 7:49pm PST

Ava & Nix

Suburban Farm- Dogs
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 8:03pm PST 
Nix does the exact same thing as JT. He raises a paw in anticipation when I'm about to kick his soccer ball. I think it's adorable. smile

Ava raises her paw occasionally too, when she's interested in something. It had my fiance's mom insisting she must be mixed with Pointer, but it's not necessarily exclusive to Pointers, just like the crouch is not necessarily a Border Collie-only trait either.

As for why some dogs do it...? I think there can be a lot of reasons for a lot of different dogs, like anticipation for fun, or uncertainty, interest in something, or even as simple as dogs who do it because they've been rewarded for doing so.

Edited by author Sun Oct 28, '12 8:04pm PST


Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 8:54pm PST 
Farley also raises his paw in a "pointing" manner usually when he seems to smell something in the grass. There is an area near my house that has trees and tall grass and I know there are mice in there and Farles always points at it. He has done it when he stands up on a tree trunk as well, usually if there is a squirrel up there. He points "up" the tree lol. Must be a hunting gesture in some breeds.

I'm not sure if that type of gesture is the same as lifting the paw in an appeasement gesture (say, lifting one paw while in a sit). I don't think the two kinds of signals are related but I could be wrong. Maybe it is uncertainty or curiosity. thinking

ETA I actually have a photo from last year of Farles pointing- I believe it was at some bushes where a couple squirrels were hiding.

Pointing at a bush

And I found another one from the year before last bol

pointing again in the snow

Edited by author Sun Oct 28, '12 9:05pm PST

Natasha - 美花- ~Beautiful- Flower~

Let's play tag!- You're it!
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 11:06pm PST 
Tasha does this occasionally. Mostly she does it when she sees something in the distance and is focusing on it. Sometimes she does it when she's in a new situation and is nervous about it. She will raise the paw but she won't be focusing on anything, she will be looking around with her eyes darting back and forth while licking her lips.

In my inexperienced opinion, Tasha raises the paw in the direction she wants to turn to run in. If she's focused on something she's comfortable and curious about, her body and paw is facing that direction and often after a few minutes she will begin walking towards it, starting off with the paw that had been raised. If she's nervous, her whole body is swaying, she's shifting her feet, and generally her paw will be up and angled in a different direction and she will usually swing around and start running or slinking off starting with the raised paw...if that makes sense! So maybe the raised paw is just up to get a head start on walking or running! laugh out loud shrug

Also, I think that all dogs do this, but Pointers were bred specifically to enhance the trait so it's become so ingrained into their DNA that they do it much more often and hold the pose longer than other breeds. Because of this, it's unusual to us when we see other dogs raise a paw to point.

Edited by author Sun Oct 28, '12 11:12pm PST


Cry cry cry!
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 7:55am PST 
I have some pictures here somewhere of Mulder as a tinny puppy "pointing" while still at his breeder's, haha. It was just a hoot to see Ridley picking it up too.

It'd be an interesting project to capture the behavior and see what I can do with it.... I can add pointing game to my "to-do" list right next to coon hunting and water retrieval laugh out loud

On it, Boss!
Barked: Sat Nov 3, '12 9:36am PST 
My German shepherd dog has done this a few times as well. He has never met a pointer in his life.

I have seen coyotes in the wild "point" while stalking things.

I'm no biologist, but I'm thinking this might be a predatory behavior inherent in canids.
Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Sat Nov 3, '12 4:05pm PST 
I think it's an anticipatory behavior. I know my dogs do it when they stalk the squirrels. Sarah does it when she wants me to throw the ball I am holding. I think by lifting their foot they get that split second advantage. Makes a big difference in the wild!
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