Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads?

You’ve seen it before; dog owners all over the world adore it. The tilted head, the alert expression, the upright ears. Dogs have charmed pet parents with this look for generations, and in many ways, we encourage them to keep doing so by responding positively to them.

But why, in the first place, do dogs incline their heads? Do they demonstrate to us that they are listening? Do they wish to hear more clearly?

Is It Normal for Dogs to Tilt Their Heads?

Dogs will tilt their heads for one of two main reasons.

The first is the “traditional” head-tilt that everyone is familiar with. Dogs communicate with us by tilting their heads in this way, which helps them hear better and shows us that they are paying attention to and interested in what we are saying and doing. This is entirely OK and fairly typical.

A medical condition that causes a dog to constantly tilt his head, even when he is not paying attention to a sound or object and maintaining eye contact, is a less frequent cause of head tilting. Dogs that do this frequently have additional issues, like lack of balance or an odour that suggests an infection.

Have your dog’s head inspected by a veterinarian if it tilts its head all the time and/or the tilt is not obviously a method of communication.

Does Head-Tilting Help Dogs Hear Better?

Many dogs find that head-tilting improves their hearing. Because of the way their ears flap, some animals—like German Shepherds—may not be able to hear sounds coming from behind them well.

To better hear the sound, they can triangulate its location by rotating their ears or their entire head. Other breeds, like Cocker Spaniels, have thick, heavy earflaps that can completely enclose the ear canal and muffle all noises. Their hearing will also be enhanced by raising these earflaps.

The head tilting and ear flap movement can frequently be so faint that we fail to notice them. The dog may also decide to make an excessive motion at other times. And different dogs can opt to bend their heads differently.

Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Head When We Talk to Them?

When facing us straight, many dogs’ heads will incline. They may be unable to see us due to their long noses, which may account for some of this. This explains why some breeds of dogs with shorter noses, like Bulldogs, tend to tilt their heads less than longer-nosed types, like Retrievers.

Dog head tilts are also cute, and when a dog looks at you, most people can’t help but smile or laugh. A dog learns to repeat a behaviour when you smile at them when they bend their heads in your direction.

Dogs occasionally incline their heads to help tip their ears toward your voice, enabling them to concentrate more intently on what you are saying. They are able to see your face clearly and hear your words more clearly once they have tilted their heads up.

Why Do Certain Sounds Make Dogs’ Heads Tilt?

Certain noises are more likely to cause a dog to tilt their head, particularly those that intrigue or perplex them. They will tilt their heads to try to localise the sound, discover its source, and learn more about it if they are particularly interested in it and unsure of where it is coming from.

Just like with humans, it takes something intriguing to get a dog’s ears perk up. In comparison to a car passing by in the middle of the day, you’re considerably more likely to pay attention to the sound of someone walking about your house at night. When compared to more common noises, sounds connected to food, toys, or something enjoyable are significantly more likely to cause your dog to bend their head.

When Is a Dog Head-Tilt a Sign of a Problem?

Even though communication-related head tilts are the majority, certain dogs can develop medically induced head tilts. Generally, these tilts don’t “look attractive,” and the dog’s head stays inclined for a long amount of time (vs. the few seconds of a normal head-tilt).

It’s very likely that you’ll also notice some extra warning signals, such as your dog being unsteady, prone to falls, or displaying ear infection symptoms. Take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if their head-tilt appears to be anything other than a means of communication.

Leave a Reply

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop