When trying to analyze an animal’s body language, each signal must be taken in context. Other body language signals should be analyzed as well to form as complete as possible view of the animal’s intent or emotional state. You can generally characterize signs in 3 categories: go, stop and yield.
The paw lift is one of those body language signals that must be interpreted based on context. The best interpretation of this body language signal is anticipation or uncertainty about the situation. The dog is anticipating something and the dogʼs go button is pressed. She could be anticipating a treat from her owner or she could be ready to spring forward and bite her owner. By interpreting the rest of her body language, you can figure out which way she will go.