You know that it is one of the cutest thing that your pooch does. You engage in a conversation with it and suddenly it cocks its head to one side and looks at you as though it’s listening intently to what you’re saying, curious and hanging on your every word. But is it listening to you? Does it understand what you’re saying? This week Raise A Paw was feeling all inquisitive and curious to know, why does your dog tilt its head?
One suggestion is that the head tilt is due mainly to the position of the dog’s ears. Some pups have ears that obstruct sound (or the noise coming out of your mouth) while others have ears covered in a thick coat of hair and sound waves become muffled when traveling in to the ear. When the dog tilts its head it is deemed as an effort on their part to adjust their outer ears (pinnae) in order to focus on the precise location of sounds.
An addition to the first suggestion is that when your pup tilts its head it is a combination of a physiological response and of communication cues. What this means is that as your dog is listening to you it is trying to identify familiar words that it has come to associate with particular activities: going outside, getting a treat, etc. There are muscles in the middle of the dogs ear which they use to perceive slight nuances of sound which also happen to control head movements. Therefore, this control of the middle ear works in conjunction with its gaze, tilt, etc. Based on this concept when your dog tilts its head it is in fact trying to perceive what you are saying and indicate to you that it is in fact, listening.
Either way, the facts remain that it’s pretty damn cute.