Why do dogs tilt their heads when spoken to?

Why do dogs nod when spoken to? What are the possible causes of this behavior?

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Why do dogs tilt their heads?

There are two main reasons why dogs tilt their heads.

The first is when we talk to our pet or when they hear an unusual sound. It would seem then that the adoption of this posture is a form of non-verbal communication of our pets. The tilt of the head could then serve them to better hear what we say to them and to let us know that they are particularly interested in our words or in the noises that we emit.

But, in dogs, there may be more concerning reasons for a head tilt.This posture can, in the rarest cases, be linked to a medical problem such as ear pain linked to otitis or loss of balance such as is encountered in the vestibular syndrome. When a dog tilts its head for he alth reasons, the head tilt is usually constant and occurs even when the dog is not focused on a sound.

Does tilting your head help dogs hear better?

In dogs that do not suffer from any he alth problem, tilting their head when spoken to them would simply help them to better perceive sounds.

The pavilions of their ears, especially when it comes to droopy ears which "obstruct" the auditory canal, can somewhat interfere with the perception of sounds by attenuating them.

The rotation of the ears, or of the whole head when the dog tilts it, can therefore quite simply allow the dog to take off his auricular pavilions from his auditory canal or to orient them differently, thus facilitating his perception sounds.

Often the direction of the dog's ears and the tilt of its head are so subtle that we don't even notice them when, at other times, the dog may choose to exaggerate the movement.

A story about snout length?

Many dogs only nod their heads when they are facing us and we are talking to them.

One of the hypotheses that would explain this behavior would be the length of the muzzle of our dogs. Dogs with long muzzles would not see us well when we stood facing them. In these dogs, tilting their head would allow them to change their angle of view and have a better perception of our facial expressions when we speak to them.

This hypothesis would also explain why dogs with short, flat snouts, like bulldogs, tilt their heads less often when we talk to them compared to dogs with long snouts.

The sign of great attention?

A team of researchers from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary has suggested that when a dog tilts its head to the side, it could be a sign of great attention or even intense concentration in dogs. the dog. This hypothesis would be based in particular on the systematic observation of this behavior in Border Collies capable of recognizing toys by their name.

Besides, certain sounds, especially those that intrigue or perplex them, are more likely to make a dog's head tilt. If he's really interested in the sound and doesn't know where it's coming from, he'll tilt his head to try and locate the sound, find its source, and get more information about it.

You may have noticed that there has to be something interesting for a dog to tilt its head and "open its ears" .So sounds associated with food, the squeak of a toy, or something fun like a high-pitched voice are much more likely to cause your dog to nod his head than other sounds.

A behavior we encourage?

When a dog tilts its head when hearing a sound, most people find it cute and have a positive reaction. They start smiling, laughing or talking more to the dog. These human behaviors can also reinforce this behavior in the dog who, seeing that it generates a positive reaction in its owners, will repeat it.

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