Here’s The Real Reason Why Your Dog Tilts Its Head

My wife and I just got a new dog named Stanley. He’s been the cutest little guy and we absolutely love when he tilts his head when you talk to him. While it’s super cute, we’ve always wondered why he really does it. I just figured he was just trying to be cute (after all it was working).

This is our dog Stanley.
This is our dog Stanley.
This is our dog Stanley.

It turns out there are a actually a few reasons why dogs tilt their heads

According to Mental Floss, dogs tilt their heads to express empathy. They are very good at reading body language and vocal cues. When you are talking to a dog, they are likely listening for specific cues or words that they can understand.

In Steven R. Lindsay’s Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, he states that the head tilt is a result of the dog simultaneously trying to listen for specific words and also providing an indication to you that he or she is listening to what you have to say.

To further this understanding, experts believe the head tilt is a result of the way a dog’s ears and hearing are designed. While they can understand frequencies and tones inaudible by humans, the design of their ears makes it more difficult to pinpoint the source of the sound.  By tilting their heads and adjusting their pinnae (outer ear), they can better pinpoint the source of the noise.

In addition, Stanley Coren of Psychology Today believes that vision also plays a part in this. By tilting their head, they are likely trying to get get a better view of your mouth and reducing the visual blocking their snout may be causing.

So if you have a dog that tilts its head a lot, its likely they just like you a lot and are being good listeners.

Photo by Wiggle Butts Pet Photography


About the Author
Will Schuerman
Will loves discovering and sharing tips to help make life easier. In addition to his passion for hacks and tips, Will is a former granola business proprietor and a life long techie.

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