4 Reasons Why Dogs Tilt Their Heads When We Talk To Them
The reaction that amuses us most when talking to a dog: they stare at us with a unique mimics and they tilt their head to the left or to the right. Here is how specialists explain this canine behavior.
The hypotheses that explain this thing:
Dogs try to hear us better
Dogs have a much better hearing than ours because of the pavilions of their ears that are mobile and help them locate the source of the noise. Also they are able, with the help of a mechanism in their brain to sense the difference between the moments when the sound reaches one ear and when it reaches the other ear. The head movements make the dog realize the direction from which the sound comes and the distance to its source.
They try to understand what we say
Here is the explanation suggested by Steve R. Lindsay in his book “Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training”. When a dog hears the voice of a man, he tries to associate the words and tones that he knows with different activities, such as those associated with reward, out for walks or offering incentives.
The part of the brain responsible for facial expressions and head movements controls the muscles of the middle ear of the dogs, and therefore when they tilt their heads it means that they try to understand what we’re saying and to tell us immediately that they are listening.
They can see us better
When they make efforts to understand what we say to them, dogs pay attention to both words and tone, facial expression of the people, postural language and movements. Therefore, it’s important for our dog to see our face when we talk to him.
According to some researchers, the dogs tilt their heads in order to see better the face of the one who talks to them. Dr. Stanley Corren says that this type of behavior is more pronounced in dogs with long snout because they find it more difficult to see our face, due to the snout that is in their way; dogs with short snout and flat faces tilt their heads less because they can see our faces much easier, given that their vision is not obstructed by their snout.
What dr. Corren says, is supported by an online poll conducted by him, attended by 582 dog owners: 71% of those who owned dogs with long snout said that their dog tilted his head when they spoke to them, and only 52% of the dog owners with flat faces said this.
We teach our dogs to react like that
Dogs are very nice when tilting their heads to the left and right, and people tend to reward them for this cute behavior with caresses and goodies. As a result, the dogs feel encouraged to repeat this gesture.