Why do dogs tilt their head?

Why do dogs tilt their head?

Dogs are always doing the cutest and strangest things – like tilting their heads.  You may just be thinking ‘Aww that’s so cute’ or you may be wondering if there is a deeper meaning behind why they are doing it.  There are a few proposed reasons.

The first is your dog is just tilting its head for attention as it has associated this behaviour with positive reinforcement and seen the reaction it evokes in you of adorableness and so know if they do it again, they might get more head scratches.

Another reason is when they are showing emotions like curiosity or empathy, dogs may tilt their head when they’re trying to understand the situation – which is quite a human-like behaviour.  You will notice this happening often if you mention some of their favourite words like “treat”, “walk”, “park” – they’re trying to comprehend what’s happening and may get excited at the possibilities ahead!

To help with their senses – you may find yourself that if you’re trying to hear better, you will tilt your head to the side to see if that helps – dogs may do exactly the same thing.  Also, with their sight – if something is blocking the way – like their muzzles, it makes sense that they’ll tilt their head to try and improve their visual perspective.  For this reason, you may see less head tilting on dogs with flatter faces, like Bull Dogs and Boston Terriers.

The only time to worry about a head tilt is if your dog appears to be tilting its head often, when there is no need for auditory stimulation.  It may be a sign that bacteria has built up in their ears and is becoming uncomfortable.  If this is the case, take your dog to the vet.   A constant head tilt may also indicate a deeper medical issue called “Vestibular Syndrome” which is similar to vertigo in humans.  If you notice this head tilting along with other symptoms like vomiting and confusion, please take your dog to the vet.

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