Dogs
Here are the super cute reasons why dogs tilt their heads
We all love that adorable head tilt that dogs do...but there are actually some real reasons behind it!
Michael Dabu
05.03.22

Dogs are charming from all angles and there are no questions about that, right?

They are one of the cutest (if not the cutest) creatures to have ever lived on Earth.

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Everything they do is just adorable and it’s almost impossible to spot something “ugly” about them.

That is why they are listed as one of the best home pets.

They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. They all differ physically but there is one thing they do in common.

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They tilt their heads.

And dogs do look extraordinarily cute whenever they do. That innocent look on their faces as they tilt their heads to either left or right.

But have you ever wondered why they do it apart from looking so absolutely charming?

As it turns out, dogs do tilt their heads for some good reasons.

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Shared on the American Kennel Club website is Los Angeles-based certified applied animal behaviorist Jill Goldman’s, Ph.D. research about the reasons why dogs do this.

According to her, “There is the possibility of several factors, and visual might very well be one, as well as auditory factors. So, it’s hard to say which one is the winner. But although it happens spontaneously, it most likely repeats because it’s positively reinforced.”

They do it to hear better.

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Simply put, dogs do not have hands so they tilt their heads to alter the position of their ears. We all know it well, there are dog breeds with large ears.

Those humongous ears are on the way and it prevents sound waves from reaching a dog’s ear.

Although dogs are naturally born with impeccable hearing abilities, there are just instances when they can’t determine the location of a certain sound.

But have you ever noticed that dogs often tilt their cute little heads when we are standing in front of them?

In this case, Goldman thought of another reason aside from determining sound location.

She says, “I do believe it is to get refinement on what is being said, rather than where it is coming from.”

Tilting their heads give them better vision.

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Goldman also believed that acquiring a better vision of something is one big factor in dogs’ head tilting behavior.

“They are looking at head tilting in primates, for example, common marmoset monkeys, and what they are finding is that it has a lot more to do with the visual cortex than it has to do with getting more auditory cues,” says Goldman.

Stanley Coren, Ph.D. in psychology, also hypothesized that providing themselves a good angle of something is also a probable reason.

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The reason behind his hypothesis is that dogs’ snouts could be getting in the way of their vision. This is particular to dogs with long muzzles like Greyhounds.

However, based on his study, more than half of flat-faced dogs tilted their heads. It goes to show that their head tilting behavior is more than just a snout size issue.

Human-influenced head tilting.

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Goldman also shares that humans play an important role in this behavior of dogs. How we interact with our dogs is one probable cause why they do tilt their heads.

“I think it might happen more often in certain dogs than others because it’s reinforced. I believe it is usually followed by a positive event, like ‘Do you want a cookie?’ or ‘Do you want a walk?’ or ‘Do you want to go in the car?’ and things of that nature. I don’t think most people say, ‘Do you want to go to the vet?’”

When dogs are ecstatic or happy, they do not just wag their tails. They also show joy by tilting their heads.

Goldman, however, warns pet owners that head tilting could still be concerning.

“If you see a persistent head tilt, and it seems not to be related to anything, go straight to your veterinarian.”

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We all love our dogs when they tilt their heads but there is more to it than just being adorable.

Thankfully, animal behaviorists like Goldman continue to study the root cause of dogs’ head tilting behavior.

Hopefully, the conclusion of this study will turn out positive and far from serious health-related issues.

Try playing the video below through the speakers and see if your dog will tilt its head.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Michael Dabu
hi@sbly.com
Michael Dabu is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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