We’ve all seen dogs tilt their heads and have probably thought to ourselves, “Wow, I love this.” It’s so cute!
Researchers in Hungary believe they’ve found the reason why they do it. They say it’s a signal that the dog is listening intently to what they hear.
It’s a sign of politeness
A dog with a head tilt is sure to garner some well-deserved praise. In fact, head tilting is a sign of good manners in many canines, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. This is especially true when it comes to greeting your canine companion.
In addition to being a show of politeness, it’s also an indicator that your pup is paying attention to you. This may be triggered by a sound you’re making, like your voice or the squeak of a dog toy, but is probably most common when you’re interacting with another canine in close proximity. If you notice your dog’s head is cocked to one side all the time, it may be an indication of a more serious problem. It’s best to consult your vet in this case. They can diagnose and treat a variety of head tilts, so it’s best to get a professional opinion before taking matters into your own hands. You’ll be glad you did!
It’s a sign of curiosity
A dog’s head tilt is a cute way to communicate with humans. A head cocked to one side makes us smile, and dogs love getting treats and head pats when they do it.
Often, head tilting is a sign that your pooch is simply being curious about what’s going on in front of them. It could be a noise that has peaked their curiosity, such as a barking dog on TV or the sound of a train in the distance.
Dogs with long muzzles, like greyhounds and German shepherds, are more likely to tilt their heads in this manner than dogs with shorter noses, such as Bulldogs and Boston terriers. This is because the muzzle may obstruct their view and make it more difficult to see what’s going on.
It’s a sign of hearing
Researchers in Hungary believe they’ve found the reason why dogs tilt their heads when they hear you speak: it’s a way for them to hear what you’re saying. In a study published in the journal Animal Cognition, they observed dogs’ head-tilting patterns during object-label knowledge tests.
The Hungarian researchers found that “gifted” word learner dogs, or those that can memorize at least ten different toy names, tilted their heads more often than the dogs with less talent. And, they noted that this was true even when owners used a command like “fetch!”
A dog’s vestibular system is located in the middle and inner ear and helps to maintain balance and coordination. A problem with this system can cause a dog to tilt their head or have vertigo and dizziness, which is why it’s important to get it checked out right away.
It’s a sign of vision
One study suggests that head tilting may be a way for dogs to better see our facial expressions. When a dog’s long muzzle interferes with vision, they tilt their heads in order to work around the obstruction.
This tilt also helps them better hear sounds because it alters the position of their ears and allows them to shift their pinnae or ear flaps in a way that optimizes directional hearing. This allows them to more easily determine where a sound came from, and how far away it was.
If your dog’s head tilting is accompanied by other signs such as dizziness, weakness, drunken gait (ataxia), or involuntary eye movement (nystagmus), you should have him checked out by your vet. These symptoms can indicate a serious condition like a brain tumor or stroke.