Why Dogs Tilt Their Heads When We Talk to Them
No, dogs don't tilt their heads when we're talking to them because they're trying to be adorable (although, that is definitely a side effect). A new study found that they may actually be doing it for visual reasons.
As you probably know, dogs are very emotionally intelligent animals. The are able to pick up on vocal cues and inflections and read body language, and that includes our faces.
Do me a favor - stick your fist in front of your nose right now. That's kind of what it's like for a dog with a larger muzzle to see. Stanley Coren, the man who conducted the survey by Psychology Today, says that dogs tilt their heads so they can better see our facial features, especially the lower half. Our mouths express a lot of emotion, and some dogs can pick up on exposed teeth.
As part of the study, almost 600 people filled out a survey online about their dogs. Only 52% of owners with flat-face dogs said their dog regularly tilted their head when being spoken to, while 71% of owners with dogs with larger muzzles said the same. The difference in the stats led Coren to believe that vision is definitely a factor in the head tilting.
So what's the reason for all the flat-face dogs tilting their heads? It could be because of the positive response, it could be because of hearing, it could be confusion, or heck, it could even be that the dog is just trying to look cute! Unfortunately, we don't have all the answers, but this could be a small step in understand of furry friends better.
Does your dog tilt their head when you're talking to them? Both of my dogs do! Let us know in the comments.
[Via IFL Science]