Why do dogs tilt their heads?

Let's understand the reason behind this endearing trait of dogs

Head tilting behavior

This is a pretty common behavior in dogs. It is mostly seen in response to listening intently to the guardian's voice.

Most often observed when the guardian says something that makes the dog curious, head tilting is a behavior which is referred to as the cutest trait of dogs.


There are many theories behind the head tilting behavior of dogs.

Unfortunately, not much of scientific research has been done pertaining to this behavior of dogs. There are a few theories but nothing concrete

1. Paying attention

Dogs tilt their heads when they pay attention

Dogs tilt their head in response to their guardian's voice because they are paying full attention and trying to understand what the guardian is saying.

2. To judge distances

Ear flaps of dogs help them judge distances.

How the sound impacts the left ear vs the impact on the right ear is used by dogs to judge the distance from where the sound is coming

3. For communication

Dogs understand what the guardians are saying by deciphering the body language of the guardian.

Dogs understand the commands of the guardians by their body language. The expression on the guardians face, the signaling of the hands, the body posture tells the dog how to interpret what the guardian is trying to say.

4. To combat facial features hindrance

Snouts of the dogs may pose as hindrance to their vision

Dogs who have long snout find it difficult to see the guardian property. They may cock their heads to the side to get better vision. This is not the case with pugs, boxers or other breeds which have short snouts.

5. The behavior has been encouraged

In most cases, the guardians reinforce the behavior

When the Guardian appreciates the behavior the first time, gives a pat on the head and increases the behavior, this act as positive reinforcement. The dog learns to associate the behavior with rewards

When the Guardian is in front

Even when the guardian is in front, sometimes dogs tilt their heads when listening to them

In case of dogs, the sound gets captured by the external year and is then financed through the interview to the brain. The muscles of the dogs middle year is controlled by the region of the brain which also controls the head movement. Therefore, when the dogs tilt their heads towards one side, he or she is trying to understand what the guardian is saying

6. Latest study

Behavior may be associated with learning

It has been observed that when dogs tilt their heads, they learn better. The dogs who tilted their heads were able to recognize 10 toys while the dogs who did not tilt their heads could barely recognize 2.

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