The Reason Why Dogs Tilt Their Heads

If you're blessed to have a dog in your life, you've probably experienced the heart-warming head tilt. Even if you're telling dogs it's time for a stroll, they may still turn their heads in different directions, leaving you to wonder why. Are they listening to what you're saying?

What does a dog tilting its head mean?

Dog tilt head

Experts are unable to provide a definitive explanation for the reason canines tilt their heads in certain directions. They've proposed a variety of possible solutions, including:

1: The dogs were trying to find a noise.


Dogs tilting their heads frequently indicate that they are trying to figure out where the noise is coming from. Dogs can hear a wide spectrum of frequencies, up to three times greater than humans! For this reason, if your pet is tilting their head, it can be to hear a disturbance that is too high-pitched for you to perceive. Adjusting their head from side to side might help them pinpoint the source of this noise and determine what it is.

2: They’re intrigued or curious.


If dogs exhibit this behavior while standing directly in front of you, it means they are engaged in what you're saying or are listening for the frequencies, inflections, and particularly key words they appreciate. Of course, they may not understand all you say, but if they like the way you speak to them, they might be trying to figure it out.

3: Adjusting the area of vision.

Dog tilt head

There may be a connection between your dog's head tilt and their vision. A dog's muzzle may hinder their view; thus, they tilt their heads from side to side to see better. In his preliminary research, he noticed that canines with longer muzzles, such as greyhounds, were more prone to tilting their heads than flatter-faced species, such as pugs. However, he discovered that more than half of all flat-faced breeds turned their heads, indicating that there is still more to learn.

4: It is a learned behavior.


When the dog tilts its head, this adorable behavior is likely to be rewarded with positive reinforcement, which might include a cutesy voice, an uproar, and perhaps even a snack. This signifies that your dog has discovered that turning their head earns them affection. After all, our canine companions are people-pleasers, and once they discover you enjoy something, they are more inclined to continue doing it!

What if the dog is tilting its head a lot for no apparent reason?


See your veterinarian right away if your dog seems to be tilting its head excessively and there are no visual or auditory cues, as this could be a sign of a health problem.

Some dogs with ear infections might turn their heads more frequently to reduce pain, and a constant head tilt may indicate vestibular syndrome (an illness in which dogs lose their usual sense of balance, similar to vertigo).

Vestibular syndrome displays differently than typical head cocking; your dog will frequently maintain one ear like the ground and tilt to one side, similar to a boat falling in the water. This disease can create extra signs such as dizziness and nausea, so it's always a good idea to have the pet checked by a veterinarian to address any concerns.

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