Everybody loves the doggie head tilt. You know, that adorable little head cock to the side that dogs will do whenever they seem confused by something. My dog would often do her head tilt if I was talking to her with food in my hand. It was like she was confused as to why I wasn’t sharing my food, or more accurately, why I was taking so long to give her a taste of whatever I was eating. As dog owners, we’ve all seen the cuteness that is the head tilt. But what does it mean exactly?
According to experts, there are several reasons for the head tilt. One of the reasons for the head tilt is simply so they can hear better. Very much like the wolf in the classic fairytale “Little Red Riding Hood,” if your dog is tilting their head it’s their way of saying, “I’m trying to hear you better my dear.” When dogs tilt their head, this allows them to adjust their outer ear in order to better focus the location and distance of where the sound is coming from. So if you’re out with your dog and they tilt their head it could just be that they’re in a particularly noisy area and they’re trying to pinpoint a particular sound that has intrigued them.
Another sensory reason for why your dog may be tilting their head a lot – whether it’s at you or not – is because they want to be able to see you better. Dogs rely on our facial expressions and body language in order to better understand what we’re trying to convey to them. Therefore if they can’t see us and our expressions then they can’t tell what our mood is. Often times dogs with larger snouts will need to do the head tilt in order to better focus on what is in front of them. It’s the cutest sight obstruction ever when they do their head tilts.
And finally, one of the other reasons for a doggie head tilt is that it’s a physiological response to communication. As dog owners, we probably see this most when we talk directly to our pets. They’re trying to identify what we’re saying to them, and as a result, they look absolutely adorable in the process. While our dogs are not fluent in human, they can pick out keywords like “walk” or “treat” or “toy,” and the head tilt is merely a way for them to filter through the other words they don’t understand and identify the ones they do.
How often do you notice that your dog is doing the head tilt? Let us know!