Why Do Dogs Turn Their Heads When You Talk to Them?

Whos a good dog?! Does your furry friend tilt their head to one side when you call their name or ask them a question? Sometimes youd swear they can understand every single word – and are going to reply with some doggy wisdom!

Some behaviourists think that our pets tilt their heads on purpose because they know we find it pleasing, and will give them lots of fuss, attention and treats in return! He suggests also that dogs who tilt their heads have a close emotional bond with their owners – a good sign from all that training and time together!

And although they cannot talk, they will recognise words or phrases that will have a desirable outcome for them – like walkies, dinner time, or fetch your ball! An online survey he conducted found that dogs with a shorter muzzle (such as a Pug, or French Bulldog) tilted their head less frequently when listening to a human speak.

Why does my dog turn his head when I look at him?

He knows you’re talking to him, so he’s trying to pick up those words he understands so he can respond appropriately. By tilting his head, he is honing in on the best position to understand you as clearly as he can. This is common in dogs with floppy ears that turn their whole heads to reposition their ears.

Do dogs tilt their heads when Confused?

At least not exactly. It’s one of the dog’s cutest behaviors: when a dog appears to be listening or concentrating intently, it will sometimes cock its head to one side, seeming to imitate a human “confused” behavior. … Those nonverbal communication tools include facial expressions and, yes, head tilt.

Its irresistibly cute. A dog with a head cocked to the side makes us smile, and its hard not to shower him with praise, pats, or treats. But why do dogs tilt their heads? Do they know how adorable they look, or is something else going on?

They are looking at head tilting in primates, for example, common marmoset monkeys, and what they are finding is that it has a lot more to do with the visual cortex than it has to do with getting more auditory cues, she says. His pilot study showed that dogs with more pronounced muzzles, such as Greyhounds , exhibited head-tilting behavior toward their owners more often than those with flatter faces, for example, Pugs .

You know the pose. You love the pose. The most photogenic, heartwarming, smile-generating canine posethe head tilt. Dog owners are entertained by the upward turned face, curious eyes, and perky ears that accompany the cute head tilt when their dog hears an interesting sound.

A German Shepherds ear flap covers only the back side of the canal and limits the detection of sounds from the rear. To compensate for the interference of ear flaps, dogs perk up their pinnae and tilt their heads for optimum sound collection.

Essentially, cocking the head and adjusting ear flaps helps the dog assess the location and distance of sound. They assess our facial expressions, eye movements, tone of voice, body language, and inflection to translate human communications. It stands to reason that dogs with flatter faces like Bulldogs and Boston Terriers may tilt their heads less since their short noses do not get in the way as much as long muzzles.

Are they confused?

We know that our canine friends have excellent hearing! They can hear noises far more acutely than we can and are more likely to notice if there’s an unusual noise outside, like firework celebrations or an unknown visitor approaching the house!Some people think that doggy head tilting is a sign that they are listening – moving their head to the side to hear us better (and sometime to double check Often, you may see a doggy head tilt when you use a higher tone of voice. When you ask a question or say the magic word “walkies” the tone of the sentence tends to go up at the end – which can be a great trigger for you pooch to expect something!However, some dogs will tilt their head if they hear another dog (which may be on the TV or radio) and because they can’t see them they will tilt their head to work out where the sound is coming from – this can sometimes end up with your pooch showing signs of confusion and alarm such as barking.

Or are they very clever?

Your doggo is one smart pooch! Some behaviourists think that our pets tilt their heads on purpose because they know we find it pleasing, and will give them lots of fuss, attention and treats in return!According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist and Professor Emeritus at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, head tilting is a sign of intelligence. Head-tilting dogs tend to be more sensitive as they are more attuned to sounds. He suggests also that dogs who tilt their heads have a close emotional bond with their owners – a good sign from all that training and time together!We know that our furry friends can be very smart. And although they cannot talk, they will recognise words or phrases that will have a desirable outcome for them – like “walkies”, “dinner time”, or “fetch your ball”! Dr John Ciribassi, a veterinary behaviorist with Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants, suggests that a doggy head tilt may be a sign that they are concentrating on what’s being said, and hoping to recognise more words that will mean something nice is going to happen!

Head Tilting and Hearing

Perhaps head tilting, by altering the position of the ears, helps dogs better determine where a sound is coming from. 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.But most of our dog’s head tilting is done when we’re standing directly in front of him. In this case, Goldman thinks localization isn’t the goal. Instead, she thinks it’s about frequencies and inflections. The dog may be listening for the high-pitched baby talk we often use when we’re happy with our pups (did you know dogs do respond to baby talk?). “I do believe it is to get refinement on what is being said, rather than where it is coming from,” says Goldman. The dog is probably trying to gather or focus on the information.

Dog Head Tilting and Vision

Goldman also believes that vision plays a role in head tilting and suggests that research done in other species could lead us in the right direction. “They are looking at head tilting in primates, for example, common marmoset monkeys, and what they are finding is that it has a lot more to do with the visual cortex than it has to do with getting more auditory cues,” she says.Stanley Coren, Ph.D. in psychology, also hypothesized that vision is a possible cause of head tilts. He reasoned that a dog’s muzzle might obstruct his view, so to get a better look at his owner’s face, a dog could tilt his head. His pilot study showed that dogs with more pronounced muzzles, such as Greyhounds, exhibited head-tilting behavior toward their owners more often than those with flatter faces, for example, Pugs. So, head shape and muzzle size may influence head tilting. However, more than one-half of the flat-faced dogs head tilted, so there may be more going on than simple snout issues.Goldman thinks Coren’s research is a great start, but points out that there could be more factors involved than just snout length. In the primate research, the visual acuity of the animal at certain ages seems to be related to head tilting. So, Goldman thinks looking at head tilting over a dog’s lifetime could be informative. “Are we seeing more in puppies when their eyes are not fully developed? Or maybe when dogs become geriatric, and their vision (and hearing) starts declining, we see a re-emergence.”

Positively Reinforcing Head Tilting

Goldman believes that we can influence head tilting by how we interact with our dogs. “I think it might happen more often in certain dogs than others because it’s reinforced. I believe it is usually followed by a positive event, like ‘Do you want a cookie?’ or ‘Do you want a walk?’ or ‘Do you want to go in the car?’ and things of that nature. I don’t think most people say, ‘Do you want to go to the vet?’” The cookie, walk, or car ride that comes next is rewarding for the dog. And because dogs repeat behaviors that are rewarded, our positive reaction can increase the frequency of head tilting.Even if you love your dog’s head tilting enough to train him to do it on cue, there are still times when a head tilt is a cause for concern rather than cookies. Goldman warns, “If you see a persistent head tilt, and it seems not to be related to anything, go straight to your veterinarian.” Persistent or continuous head tilting can be related to many different and potentially serious health concerns, such as an ear infection or a vestibular issue.

Why Dogs Tilt Their Heads

You know the pose. You love the pose. The most photogenic, heartwarming, smile-generating canine pose…the head tilt. Dog owners are entertained by the upward turned face, curious eyes, and perky ears that accompany the cute head tilt when their dog hears an interesting sound.

How does head-tilting help with hearing?

Dogs have a keener sense of hearing than people do and can detect frequencies and sounds that escape us. But humans have an advantage over dogs in one regard: a person with normal hearing ability can detect a sound regardless of the direction from which it is initiated, while a dog’s directional hearing is more limited.The external human ear is engineered to pick up sound so efficiently that a person does not have to turn toward the sound to capture it. A person’s ability to discern sound is not affected by whether it comes from the front, back, left, or right so when someone calls you from behind, you do not have to pivot to hear him.Not so with dogs. Dogs have

Do we encourage this behavior?

There are several factors involved in the canine head tilt and it is human nature to respond to the “cuteness” of the head tilt with positive reinforcement. When dogs cock their heads, we give them a good pat, speak in a kind tone, and smile. So, another reason that dogs cock their heads is because we teach them to do it by providing positive reinforcement. Our response to the head tilt encourages repetition, so the more we gush over the cute canine head tilt, the more we get to enjoy it!