Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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Health Learn About Dogs

Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads?

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel
Sep 1 ·
why do dogs tilt their heads?

We’ve all seen our dog tilt their head. We coo and awe over it because it’s just so cute. But what’s the reasoning behind it? Why do dogs tilt their heads? Believe it or not, the true answer is still unknown. However, there are a few theories as to why dogs tilt their heads. So, let’s talk about them.

why do dogs tilt their heads?

Why do dogs tilt their heads?

Dogs aren’t trying to be cute when they tilt their heads. Even though we find it absolutely adorable. So, what’s the point? Well, there could be a few different reasons as to why dogs tilt their heads. But, it’s all because of the way their bodies are made up.

Dogs might be trying to see us better

First, your dog might be trying to see you better. Canines don’t have great vision, especially when it’s something up close to them. So, if you’re standing in front of your pooch and they tilt their head while staring at you, they might be trying to see you better.

This is often the case for dogs with large muzzles. The bigger the muzzle, the more in the way it is from their line of vision. Your pooch may tilt their head to get a better scope of their vision, whether it’s to pay attention to you or to look at something else.

Dogs might be trying to hear us better

Canines have much better hearing than humans do. They can hear certain sounds and frequencies that we can’t. So tilting their head when nothing seems out of the ordinary could mean your pooch is hearing something we can’t. However, their ears are made up differently than humans.

When humans hear a sound, we hear it and know where it’s coming from. In other words, if someone calls us from behind, we can’t need to turn around to know where the sound came from. Dogs, on the other hand, have ear flaps that partially or completely cover the ear canal. So if someone calls them from behind, your pooch needs to turn around and find where the sound source is coming from.

The ear flap is moveable so that your dog can pinpoint where certain sounds are coming from, but it might need the head of a head tilt. Of course, this depends on the dog breed, too. Some dogs have pointed erect ears, while others have floppy ears.

For example, a German Shepherd has ear flaps that block sounds from behind. Meanwhile, a Cocker Spaniel has floppy ears with ear flaps that block sounds from all around them. 

why do dogs tilt their heads?

Dogs might be trying to understand our emotions

Your furry friend is very good at picking up your emotions. They can easily emphasize with you when you’re sad, angry, or excited. Canines are great at picking up our body language, reading our facial gestures and speech patterns.

When your dog tilts its head, it could be trying to understand what we’re feeling. They also pick up certain tones and words. For example, they can associate certain words with food or a walk. So a head tilt could be your dog’s way of trying to understand the context and to emphasize with you.

We might be positively reinforcing head tilts

Chances are, we’re influencing our dogs to tilt their heads. Because it’s such a cute response, we tend to act positively. So, whenever they tilt their heads – no matter the reason – and we coo at them, your dog may associate the head tilting with the current situation.

For instance, we talked about how dogs are great at picking up certain words and tones from us. So, if we begin to talk about food and they think it’s dinner time, your pooch might tilt their head. Oftentimes, we think it’s too cute that we end up feeding them. Regardless of whether it’s actually dinnertime or not, you’re rewarding them, and your doggo might believe they’re getting rewarded for the head tilt.

On the other hand, if you mention the word “vet,” chances are your dog isn’t going to tilt their head. Again, this is because they know exactly what the vet is, and they don’t want that reward.

why do dogs tilt their heads?

Should you be concerned about head tilting?

Most often than not, your dog’s head tilting is caused by something listed above. Ear infections do not have head titling as a symptom. However, if you notice that your pooch is constantly tilting its head, then it could be disorientated. They may feel dizzy, and imbalance and are trying to correct it. This could be due to idiopathic vestibular disease in dogs.

Why do dogs tilt their heads?

Your pooch could be tilting its head for several reasons. They might want to hear you better, see you better, or they’re trying to understand your emotions. But, chances are, your furry friend is also doing it because they get a reward from it. After all, they’re just too cute.

Similar reading: learn more about your dog’s health

Rachel Poli Author
WRITTEN BY
Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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