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Dogs possess a body language very varied that, at times, is not adequately understood by their tutors. However, the key to a harmonious coexistence between people and dogs depends largely on the correct interpretation of canine language and gestures.
In this AnimalWised article we will explain what does it mean when a dog raises its front leg, showing you up 8 different situations in which you can observe it. Each of them will be accompanied by other signals that will indicate with more precision what our dog is trying to say.. ¡Keep reading!You may also be interested in: How to teach my dog to paw Index
- The body language of dogs
- A common behavior in certain breeds
- The hunting sequence
- Curious about some smell
- Invitation to the game
- Fear, submission, or discomfort
- Request for affection for learning
- Dog training and skills
The body language of dogs
As with humans, dogs carry out signals, vocalizations and postures own They serve to express their desires and moods, in addition to communicating with their peers and with other species, which is known as "signs of calm ". In this sense, on many occasions people misunderstand the gestures and reactions of your pets, especially when compared to human standards, as happens, for example, when they attribute feelings of guilt to the dog or humanize it.
This not only generates a misrepresentation of what the dog is really trying to express, but also prevents their human companions from understanding what they want, which in the long run creates problems at home and can lead to stressed and aggressive dogs by not seeing their basic needs met.
If you do not understand many of the things that your dog does, it is very possible that you have not stopped to analyze his behavior or understand the language with which he speaks to you. Among these gestures, one of those that generates the most curiosity occurs when dogs raise the front leg. ¿You want to know what this means? ¡Here we detail all the possibilities!
1. A common behavior in certain races
Some breeds stand out for their surprising ability with their legs, as is the case of the boxer dog, which many attribute its name precisely to the innate ability to use both front legs in various situations, much more notably than in other canine breeds. Another example is the English pointer, which owes its name to the position you take when it smells its prey, raising its front leg. 
2. The hunting sequence
When a dog raises its front leg during an excursion, the meaning is clear: your dog is carrying out the hunting sequence. It is very common that we observe it precisely in hunting dogs, such as beagles, bracos and hounds, however, practically any dog can carry it out.
The hunting sequence has several phases: tracking, stalking, pursuit, capture and death, however, it is when the dog smells of its prey when he lifts his paw. Some signs that accompany this characteristic posture are the extended tail and the raised muzzle. You can also carry it out when look for a trail in the environment.
3. Curiosity about a smell
Likewise, it is not necessary to be in the middle of nature for our dog to raise its front leg, it is enough that it finds a smell or special trace in the city to carry out this instinctive behavior. Perhaps you are looking for a slice of pizza or trying to follow the piss of a bitch in heat. In this specific case, in addition, the dog may lick the urine of the other dog to obtain more information about him or her..
3. Invitation to the game
At times, we can observe how our dog raises the paw and, right after, makes the pose of invitation to the game, extending the two front legs, together with the head down and the middle tail raised.
If your dog adopts this position, you should know that it is the so-called "bow of the game" and it is inviting you to have fun together. You can also dedicate it to other dogs.
Raising the front leg as a synonym for play can also be accompanied by a slight tilt of the head, with which the dog wants to communicate that it is curious about you. It is even possible to find close his favorite toy Or that you hold it in your hand, so the dog will put a paw on you to indicate that you give it to him, because he wants to play with him.
5. Fear, submission, or discomfort
Sometimes when two dogs are related and one of them is especially fearful or submissive, the scariest can lie down and raise the leg as a sign of calm for end the game or to indicate that you do not feel comfortable. It usually occurs when the other dog is especially active, abrupt, and even aggressive..
Another situation that causes the dog to lie down and raise its leg is when has been punished. It is important to note that it is not a submission position, as occurs in the relationship between dogs, since dominance in dogs is intraspecific, that is, it occurs only with members of the same species.
In these cases, in addition to showing the belly and lifting one or both legs, the dog will show its ears back, its tail lowered and it may even remain immobile. In this case the dog is telling us that He is afraid and wants us to stop scolding him.
7. Request for affection for learning
When the dog raises its front leg to place it on your hand or knee while looking at you, it means that he wants you to pay attention or caress him. This gesture with the connotation of wanting caresses can also be accompanied by other signals, such as rubbing the nose of the muzzle against you and even small gentle bites on your hand. There are also dogs that, once they have been petted, they repeat the gesture of placing the paw on the hand of its human companion to indicate to him that he wishes to continue the pampering.
Usually it is due to learning, Well, the dog learns that by carrying out this behavior humans pay attention to it, in addition, we usually reinforce this gesture with caresses and affection, so the dog continues to express it.
8. Dog training and skills
If you have taught your dog to paw, it is likely that he will carry out this command on a regular basis when practicing obedience and canine skills exercises with him or when he is simply, look for a reward thus. It is important that we reinforce the dog only when we have requested the order, not when he wants it, since only in this way will we secure well canine obedience.