Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads?

We all love our dogs’ cute antics, especially when they look at us with those sweet eyes paired with the tilt of their head. We just can’t help but adore them. But you might wonder: why do dogs tilt their heads anyway?

You may have noticed your dog tilt his head when he hears something new or when you talk to him. Doggie head tilts may look cute, but dog’s don’t do it to look charming.There are different reasons why they do it.

 

Dogs Tilt Heads To Locate the Source of a Sound

 

We all know that dogs have an acute sense of hearing, and they are inherently curious about their surroundings. Whether it’s a squeak or a mere footstep, anything can pique the curiosity of our furry buddies.

Dogs make head tilts as a reaction to strange and unfamiliar sounds. It’s a process called triangulation, in which a dog’s ears function as stereo receivers.

Most dogs will tilt their heads upon hearing an unfamiliar sound so as to find the source of the sound. The reason behind this is that when a dog hears an unfamiliar and interesting sound, his brain calculates the delay between the time the sound reaches the ear nearest to the sound and when it reaches the ear away from it. With this difference, the dog’s brain can estimate the distance of the sound source’s location.

 

Dogs Tilt Heads Because They are Trying To Understand Us

Sometimes dogs tilt their heads when their owner talks to them and there is a reason behind this.

According to Steven R. Lindsay’s Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, when a dog listens to a human’s voice, he is trying to determine familiar words or tones that he can associate with a reward – like food, car rides, or going for a walk.

A dog’s middle ear muscles are controlled by the same part of the brain that controls their head movements and facial expressions. This means that when a dog tilts his head when you talk to him, he is actually doing two things:

  • He is trying to figure out and understand what you’re telling him.
  • He’s letting you know that he is listening.
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Dogs Tilt Heads So They Can See Our Faces Easily

 

According to Dr. Stanley Coren, who conducted a survey published in Psychology Today, dogs sometimes tilt their heads to see us better in an effort to understand our body language, facial expressions, and eye movements.

Among 582 dogs who participated in the survey, 186 had flatter faces. Fifty-two percent of dog owners with flat-faced dogs reported frequent head tilting while 71 percent owners whose dogs had large muzzles reported that their dogs tilted heads frequently when they were spoken to.

 

Dogs Tilt Heads To Please Us

 

Some dogs tilt their heads to please their owners. A doggie head tilt is undeniably adorable, and we can’t help but giggle when our dogs do it.

When your dog tilts his head, you may have a tendency to speak in a very pleasant voice. This gives your dog an idea that he may get some treats or rewards in return.

So by reacting positively to this heart-melting act, you are unknowingly encouraging your dog to do it more.

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