Search: do animals have dominant paws; animal paw preference
Why: I just watched Maddie bat my glove onto the floor. Every night I put it back on the table, and in the morning it's on the floor again. She is a moron. But does she do it with the same paw every night?
Answer: Yes, maybe! From Scholastic:
The rest of that page is about experiments for kids to do with their cats, but I'm not gonna do them because Maddie is sleeping and, well, I don't want to. But! I can see some abstracts on PsycNet and Google Books that say:
For years most scientists have thought that only humans have hand preferences because only humans have brains whose right and left "hemispheres," or sides, are "specialized." That is, each side of the brain tends to exercise control over specific functions, such as speech.
Recently, however, scientists made some challenging observations in the lab. They found that some non-human primates, such as monkeys, for example, depend more on one hand than the other to do certain things. Perhaps their brains are specialized too.
Of the 35 cats that had a dominant paw, 13 used the same paw for all 100 ...and
No overall population tendency to right- or left-paw preference was seen on any of the tests, nor could a sub-population of handed dogs be detected. This failure to replicate previous reports that male dogs tend to use their left paws while females use their right was counterbalanced by a signiﬁcant tendency for male dogs to use their left paw when initially presented with one test, and for the latency of left paw use to be signiﬁcantly shorter than that for right paw use on these initial presentations. This signiﬁcant effect disappeared with repeated presentation of the test, and was not present in females. We conclude that behavioural lateralisation appears to be a labile category in dogs, and may be related to brain hemispheric effects in responding to novel stimuli.Also, I think this is the original study they're talking about, where somebody said boy dogs are left-handed and girl dogs are right-handed. Fail.
Source: Scholastic, Science Direct
The More You Know: Maddie might be left-pawed. Here she was before she let herself go: