Why do Dogs Tilt their Head When we Speak?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Why do Dogs Tilt their Head When we Speak?

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If you are someone who loves chatting to your dog, you are probably highly amused by their sweet tilting heads whenever you talk to them or call their name. Often they look confused or inquisitive, but do you know why they do this?

There are several theories that try to explain why dogs tilt their head when we speak, so keep reading this AnimalWised article to discover them.

Your dog wants to hear you better

It is no secret that the ears of dogs are much more developed than the human being, so they are able to perceive more frequencies, many of which we don't have the ability to notice.

Based on this, some researchers argue that dogs tilt their head when you speak to move their ears in such a way that they can better perceive the sounds you emit.

Now, why would they want to do this? Although they cannot understand what you say, it has been proven that dogs recognize about 200 words of human vocabulary, including the commands and instructions you have taught them and those that relate to positive reinforcements.

So, when you talk to your dog, maybe they are waiting to hear that you are taking them out for a walk, giving them a treat or even calling their attention for something they are doing at that moment. Besides the word, they are also analyzing your intonation.

They need to see you better

From a young age, dogs are used to looking upwards when they are with you, always looking at your face and your facial expressions, which help them to identify what you expect from them and your state of mind.

Thus, one of the theories on why dogs tilt their heads when we speak focuses on this fact to try and explain this phenomenon. They postulate that for some breeds, because of their physiognomy, it would be difficult for them to look at humans from the front, so when tilting their head, they have a complete view of our face.

In what cases would this assumption be valid? For those breeds characterized by a long muzzle, which prevents them from having a complete view of your face when they look straight ahead, tilting their head allows them to not miss any gesture or expression and have more opportunity to interpret what you say.

Why do Dogs Tilt their Head When we Speak? - They need to see you better

Are they suffering from any discomfort?

Sometimes the head-tilting gesture may be due to the dog suffering from an ear disease , so they would turn as a way to seek relief from the discomfort they feel, which is usually itching or pain. Of course, when this is the reason, the dog does not turn their head once, but many times. It is not too difficult to detect. In addition, they are accompanied by different signs, such as redness of the ear pavilion, scabs or accumulation of abnormal wax, among others. So, if you suspect that this might be the cause, do not hesitate and go to the vet.

On the other hand, a dog who is deaf will tilt their head to try and listen to you better. So, this is another possibility that you should also consider when discarding why your dog tilts their head when you speak.

Conditioned behavior

Dogs learn many things from us, and above all, they learn what things please us and that leads to a reward for them. If, when your dog tilts their head you are incredibly caring and cuddly and shower them with affection, it is likely they will repeat the gesture for the same attention.

Although there are several reasons that can lead your dog to tilt their head when you speak, the dog can have this behavior for several reasons. They may want to hear better, see better, and receive those caresses that they love so much.

Why do Dogs Tilt their Head When we Speak? - Conditioned behavior

If you want to read similar articles to Why do Dogs Tilt their Head When we Speak?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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