Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads?

Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads?

Author WDF Staff


Is there anything more adorable than your dog doing a head tilt?! Usually, head tilts occur while you are speaking (to your dog). Puppies are especially known for tilting their heads when they hear a new and interesting word or sound. There are a few reasons why your dog might be doing that. Dog experts have plenty of theories about why dogs do that. They say that the head tilt has to do a lot with a dogs’ ability to empathize. Dogs can read your body language, facial gestures and can feel different emotions that we are feeling, and by tilting their heads dogs show us their empathy.

dog tilts head

Some of them say that dogs do that to hear and even to see you better. Dogs are known to be able to hear frequencies that for humans are impossible to hear, but, they are not as good at finding out where a sound is coming from. With tilting the head dogs are supplied with additional information that helps them while locating the source and distance of the sound source. Therefore, some people think that dogs tilt their heads so that they can find out is the sound they are hearing really is coming from their owner. It is a dog’s way of showing interest or curiosity about a sound. Many believe that tilting is a consequence of the dog trying to filter what we are saying to pick up those familiar parts of our language they understand and are taught, such as “walk”, “treat”, etc.

Many believe that tilting helps dogs to see our faces better and read our expressions, especially dogs with big muzzles. To these dogs, the view is partially blocked, so they compensate by tilting their heads. They may also do this when they see something they find strange and/or fascinating.

Unfortunately, in some cases, there is a medical reason for head tilting. If your dog tilts its head a lot, it could indicate that the dog feels dizzy. This dizziness is associated with disorders of the vestibular system and it is most often seen in older dogs. The vestibular system is located in the middle/inner ear and is responsible for balance and coordination.

swiss shepherd head tilt

When there is something wrong with this system, there can be head tilting accompanied by some other symptoms, such as vomiting, ataxia, etc. This type of tilt looks different from a regular head tilt. A healthy animal will tilt its head just for a brief moment or two, and a sick one will have one ear close to the ground on a regular basis. If your dog tilts its head persistently and continuously take it to the vet because that may be a sign of a vestibular issue or even an ear infection.

World Dog Finder team

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