Why do dogs tilt their heads?
Dogs are notorious for being cute. You laugh because you know it.
Their noses are so boopable, their puppy dog eyes get you every time, and whenever they do that head tilt, you crumble faster than a freshly baked cobbler. Still, there’s wonder about why our fur babies tilt and rotate their heads so much.
“Being cute” can’t be the sole reason and purpose to why these beloved fur baby companions move their heads like that. So what’s the real reason, or reasons?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), who say that dogs tilt their heads to improve their hearing as one reason, “Despite being able to hear an incredible range of frequencies, dogs can’t locate the source of a sound as well as humans can. However, like us, when a dog hears something, his brain can tell the difference between how long it took the sound to reach the ear farthest from the sound compared to the ear that’s closest. That difference can help localize the sound."
Think about when your dog tilts their head the most though. It’s while they’re in front of you, isn’t it?
This kind of ties into our blog post that questions if dogs recognize us, which they do; just not in the way you think. When your dog is sitting in front of you and you are speaking, they are processing multiple things (sight, sound, smell, etc.) to identify you.
When they tilt your head, they are more than likely responding to you speaking and trying to get a better understanding of your tone and feelings. By tilting their heads, dogs are able to refine and further define their surroundings and focus on their subjects.
According to writers at Furbo, however, there’s another possible explanation to the head-tilt.
They explain, “Dogs are the only animals that can read emotion in human faces, according to Dr Kun Guo at the University of Lincoln in the UK. Their studies showed that dogs can see intuitively whether people are happy or sad, pleased or angry. If they can understand our emotional state, the thinking goes, then perhaps the head tilt is a way of showing empathy with us. Our furbabies do seem to have an uncanny way of telling when something isn’t right with our world, and of trying to cheer us up with kisses, snuggles, and that delightful head tilt.”
When should I be worried it’s a health issue?
Excessive head-tilting, nausea, disorientation, and/or loss of balance can indicate that your dog is experiencing more than being cute; something is up! When in doubt, head to your trusted veterinarian’s office. The vet can do a checkup, examine your fur baby’s ears, etc. Chances are, your pooch has vertigo or some form of ear issue.
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