Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads?


There is something alluring about a dog tilting their head when we speak with them or they hear a sound. For some factor, it makes them look cuter and smarter than normal and possibly a bit more human. But have you ever questioned why your dog does it? Exist other species that likewise tilt their heads? Corbin Maxey is a twenty-five-year-old nationally recognized wildlife specialist, frequently appearing on “The TODAY Show.” He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and started a non-profit to help reptiles when he was simply 12 years old. Maxey answered our concerns regarding why dog tilt their heads.

Why do dogs tilt their heads?

Although the habits is not fully understood, there are various explanations regarding why:

To hear better:

Dogs will tilt their heads to rearrange their ears to much better evaluate the noise’s area and distance. Physiologically, the turning of their head assists open their ear canal. This likewise assists with attempting to determine familiar sounds and audio hints.

To get a much better view of our facial expressions:

Some experts think that tilting the head assists dogs get a better view of our facial expressions. Stanley Coren, author of the book “The Intelligence of Dogs”, recommends that dogs with longer muzzles have an obstruction of view equivalent to holding a fist as much as our nose. By tilting their heads, they get a much better view of our facial expressions.

Dogs have evolved to be very good at understanding humans. They can read our body language, facial gestures, and speech patterns to empathize with us. They even recognize certain words and vocal tones and associate them with playtime, walks, or food. When they tilt their heads, it’s possible that they are trying to filter what we are saying to pick out those familiar parts of our language.

To help determine what they are hearing:

Dogs rely greatly on audio and visual cues. They can find the slightest modification in the tone of our voices and will try to understand familiar sounds that might intrigue them. By cocking their head, they can focus on recognizing important audio cues that lead to favorable enrichment for the dog, like getting a treat or going on a walk. We’ve trained them: Because we are so keen on this behavior, we typically use positive reinforcement like appreciation or deals with that inadvertently train our dogs to show head tilting for rewards.

Is this something wolves, coyotes, or perhaps foxes do?

Head tilting has likewise been recorded in different Canid types including wolves, coyotes, and more closely in foxes where they use their exceptional hearing and head tilting to discover rodents hidden deep within the snow.

Does other species do it?

Head tilting has actually also been observed in numerous other mammal and bird species most likely correlating for better hearing.

Also read: Dog Smiling: What Does It Mean?


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