Today, for Why Does My Dog Do That? Wednesday, we are addressing the question: "Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads When You Talk to Them?"
There are few things more endearing than watching your dog tilt her head to the side as you talk to her. She looks so serious and intent upon understanding your every word. Are they really listening to us or is there another reason our dogs do this?
Dogs heads are tilted simply because they are curious and inquisitive creatures. They want to understand what you are trying to say and they can do this if they can hear clearly. Because of the way the ears are positioned, there is a need for the dog to cock its head so that the ears are upright. Sound waves can enter the ear directly to reach the ear drums. Have you noticed that dogs do not tilt their heads to the side if you are talking beside them? Tilting the head is only done if the person talking is in front of the dog.
They mainly do it when people are in front of them, since the sound waves aren't traveling directly toward the ears. You'll see this more in puppies than older dogs. It's not that puppies have more trouble hearing. They just haven't been around us long enough to figure out what's important and what isn't. So they respond to almost any sound with a little head-cock, especially when we're looking at them at the same time. They know something interesting is happening, and they don't want to miss a thing. They often cock their heads to make sense out of the babble of noise. The movement allows them to capture every bit of sound.
So, I guess the answer is, yes, they ARE trying to understand what you are telling them, or figure out why you are making that funny noise you use to make them tilt their head because you think it's cute.
Which makes you wonder why they do it.
So, it's a vicious circle that goes on and on.
I dare you to now resist the urge to run and make your dog tilt their head to the side. Send me a picture!