> Ever have a dog who would cock it’s head at the sound of the treat jar? Wondering why your pooch turns an ear when you speak to him? Curious WHY dogs tilt their heads?
> Well, if you’re curious, you and your dog have something in common… This ridiculously cute behavioral cue is actually an intentional communication signal in our dogs that indicates curiosity!
> Dogs will tilt their head to orient towards a sound to improve hearing. Their ears will perk forward in interest, using them like antennas to concentrate on the noise. By utilizing head tilts and ear perks, these miraculous canines can detect the location of even the slightest sound within 0.06 seconds!
In prey-driven dogs, a head tilt could be a precursor to a “pounce” or “attack”. Dogs hear much better than us, particularly in the higher decibel range. This enables canines to hunt for rodents and small vermin, who make high-pitched squeaks and noises. Intensity in the head position increases, the dog orients it’s ears and head towards the sound to effectively locate it, then BOOM! Mouse soufflé for dinner.
This may explain why our dogs look so attentively at us when we speak to them, especially if our tone is upbeat and higher pitched. It perks their curiosity and natural instinct to pay closer attention.
> It possible your dog tilts it’s head, simply because it makes YOU happy. Dogs are intelligent, learn by association, and are very good at reading our energy and emotions. So when we coo and smile and giggle when our dogs adorably cock their heads at us, perhaps we are just positively reinforcing the behavior to happen more. Either way, equally as endearing.
Not so cute, however, are underlying medical causes for a head tilt. If your dog is tilting all the time, or more than often, best to take Fido to the vet to rule out issues like vestibular disease or an inner ear infection.
Assuming your dog is exhibiting healthy communicative head tilts, take advantage of this likable behavior and teach it on command! A fun trick to implement in almost any context!
Thanks for reading, your pooch will be proud that you’re staying aHEAD of the game in dog language!