Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads?

Dogs have this endearing characteristic of tilting their heads, as if asking you “whats next or what do you mean?” People tilt their heads too when they want to understand more. But of course dogs doing this act are more adorable than people.

Just as in humans, dogs tilt their heads too when they want to hear better. Dogs can easily converse with each other merely by sniffing and by growling. Obviously it would be a different thing with humans. Dog are intelligent creatures but we must realize that our actions as well as speech can be confusing to a dog. Notice how a new dog or a puppy would watch the master for a while before acting on a command. This is because the dog is still familiarizing on the body language and the speech of the master. After a while you will notice that the dog would cock its head when it realizes that what the human is saying concerns him. The words eat and food would make a dog tilt its head even without actually seeing the food.

The dog would react to the slightest noise by tilting its head. Anything interesting would make the dog sit up and perk its ears. Mainly this is due to the positioning of the ears. Some breeds have pendulous ears that obstruct the sound. Sound waves are often muffled by thick ears that are densely covered with hair. The dog has to cock the head so that sound waves can pass through the obstruction and reach the eardrums. Dogs with pricked ears rarely tilt their heads to hear more.

Usually dog would tilt their heads if the sound or the person talking are in front of them. Head tilting will not be necessary if the sound is coming from the side as the sound waves will go right in.

Head tilting can mean that the pet is infested with ear mites. Of course ear mites are more common in cats but dogs get it too. Head tilting can have a more serious medical implication. This could mean that the ear is infected. This often happens to dogs with big floppy ears. Because the inside of the ear is often hot and moist it became a rich bed for bacteria to flourish. Encephalitis, a brain infection can also cause head tilting. Brain injuries and tumors can make the dog tilt its head.

Some dogs however are showoffs. They would tilt their head because they know that their beloved masters are amused and performing can gain them a hug, a cuddle and a tasty treat.