Dogs are known for doing the cutest things, but there’s nothing more adorable than the doggy head tilt. You might assume it’s a sign of curiosity, or maybe that it’s simply your dog paying attention to you. But is there actually a deeper meaning behind this common canine habit? Let’s find out…
Why do dogs tilt their head to one side?
Even canine experts find it difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why our dogs tilt their heads, but here are a few of the most popular theories:
There’s no doubt that a dog tilting their head is adorable, which means they’re often met with affection when they do it. Therefore, they may be likely to repeat this behavior for more attention. After all, dogs love the limelight more than Mariah Carey!
To try and understand us
Some animal experts suggest that this behavior is a sign of empathy and understanding. If your dog is directly in front of you, it’s likely they’re paying close attention to your body language, facial gestures, and the inflections and tone of your voice. They’re concentrating hard – trying to truly comprehend what you’re saying!
Of course, our canine companions will never fully understand all the words that come out of our mouths. But we can almost guarantee that they’re listening out for some of their favorite words – like walkies, treat or playtime!
To hear better
The most widely believed reason for dog head tilting is that it helps with hearing. But aren’t dogs able to hear a massive range of frequencies? This may be true, but they tend to find it difficult to figure out where sounds originate. Adjusting their head from side to side may help them to pinpoint the exact place a noise comes from. Check out our guide to the early signs of deafness in your dog and, if you’re worried, always get them checked out by a veterinarian.
To see better
Your four-legged friend is naturally inquisitive. So, if their line of sight is blocked, it only makes sense that they’d tilt their head to get a better look at things.
Some breeds – like Beagles, German Shepherds and Greyhounds – have longer noses than their flat-faced counterparts. It’s likely that this cute head tilt is just a way for them to see around their snouts! Dogs are experts at reading their owners’ expressions. By tilting their heads, they give themselves a clearer view of your face.
When to be concerned with dog head-tilting
A dog suffering from an ear infection may tilt its head more often to relieve pain. A constant head tilt could also be a sign of Vestibular Syndrome – a condition similar to Vertigo in humans, where dogs lose their sense of balance. If that’s the case, you’ll probably notice other signs, like confusion and vomiting. It’s always a good idea to schedule a visit with your vet if you suspect an underlying health issue.