Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads?
25 January, 2018
Dogs are adorable companions and do so many things that make us smile. And what could be cuter then when dogs tilt their heads. We can only conjecture why dogs tilt their heads, but it seems to be when they are intrigued. There are a few other reasons why dogs tilt their heads.
Dogs might tilt their heads to get a better understanding of what we are saying
Dogs have evolved to be very good at understanding us humans. They can read our body language, facial gestures, and speech patterns to empathize with us. They even recognize certain words and vocal tones to associate them with meal time, walks, or play time. When they tilt their heads, our dogs could be listening for specific words and inflections they associate with fun activities like meals and walks.
Dogs are empathetic and the head tilt is their sensing something from us that is either happy or sad
Dogs definitely know when there is something just not right with us. If we are unhappy, they can usually sense it. Whether we are sad because we just got into a fight with someone or possibly hurt ourselves, they can tell. And they may be confused, so they’re assessing the situation, checking out how you’re doing (i.e. the head tilt) and then probably giving you lots of licks and snuggles.
The head tilt might just be the way our dogs can hear us better
Even though dogs can hear frequencies we can’t, they’re actually not as good as humans at finding out where a sound is coming from. Some experts believe that when a dog tilts its head, they are trying to adjust the pinnae, or outer ears, to better detect where a sound is coming from. So when they hear a distinct or different sound, they tilt their head to find the location of a noise.
The head tilt might be how a dog responds to visual cues.
The head tilt may also be a response to visual cues, not just sounds. Stanley Coren of Psychology Today suggests that a dog’s muzzle might make it difficult to see the source of a sound. By tilting their heads, dogs are better able to see our faces and read our expressions, which they are also very good at.
If the head tilt is frequent, it could be a signal an underlying health issue.
If your dog is tilting his head frequently, he may be trying to regain his balance or prevent himself from falling. It could be vertigo. When something’s not right in the vestibular system, we have a hard time gauging where we are in relation to our surroundings, which can be scary. If you notice constant head tilts, falls or even nausea in your dog, make sure to visit your vet immediately.
And, of course, the more we praise our dogs for that cute head tilt by smiling or laughing, our dogs will continue to do so. They know how to get our attention!
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