Dogs are known for their adorable and sometimes quirky behaviors, and one of those behaviors is when they tilt their heads to the side. If you’re a dog owner, you may have noticed your furry friend tilting their head when you speak to them or when they hear a strange sound. But have you ever wondered why they do this? Keep on reading as well discuss why dogs tilt their heads.
Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads when they hear a strange sound?
Dogs have a more acute hearing capacity than people do and are able to pick up on frequencies and sounds that are undetectable to us. Humans do, however, have one advantage over dogs when it comes to hearing: whereas a dog’s directional hearing is less developed, a person with normal hearing can detect a sound from any direction.
Because the human ear is designed to pick up sound with such high efficiency, a person does not need to turn their head in the direction of the sound in order to take it in. Because a person’s sensitivity to sound does not change depending on whether it is coming from the front, the back, the left, or the right, you do not need to turn your head to hear someone calling you if they are standing behind you.
Due to the fact that dogs’ ears have flaps that can either partially or completely cover the ear canal and act as a barrier to the transmission of sound, dogs need to shift their body position in order to achieve the best possible sound detection. Because the canine ear flap, also known as the pinna, is movable, the dog is capable of making the required adjustment so that it can concentrate on the precise location of the sound.
Problems can vary greatly from one breed to the next. The ear flap of a German Shepherd only covers the back side of the canal, which restricts the dog’s ability to hear sounds coming from behind them. Heavy ear flaps on a Cocker Spaniel completely cover the ear canals, making it difficult for sound waves to enter the ear from any direction.
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How does head-tilting help with hearing?
The pinnae of a dog are pricked up and the head is tilted in order to collect the most sound possible. This is done to compensate for the interference caused by the ear flaps. A dog will cock its head in the direction of an interesting sound that is coming from the front of the room when it hears it.
When the dog hears a sound coming from behind him, he may first turn around before he tilts his head. Because canine ears are situated on the sides of the head, they are already in an excellent position to pick up sound waves, so the dog may not tilt at all in response to a sound that is coming from the side.
Dogs with movable ear flaps are better able to judge the distance to a sound because they can compare the amount of time it takes for the sound to reach their right ear versus their left ear. In essence, tilting its head and manipulating its ear flaps allows a dog to better pinpoint the origin of a sound and determine its distance from it.
Why does my dog turn his head away from me ?
There are times when owners’ dogs look at them intently while tilting their heads, as if trying to take in everything that is being said. The external auditory canal is responsible for picking up sound, which is then transmitted to the middle ear and inner ear before finally reaching the brain.
The region of a dog’s brain that is responsible for controlling facial expressions and head movement is also responsible for controlling the muscles that make up the dog’s middle ear. If a dog tilts his head to the side while you are talking to him, it is because he is trying to listen to what you are saying, process the information, and communicate with you that he is focused on what you are saying.
When a dog is interested in something, he will tilt his head in the same way that a person will nod their head during a conversation to show that they are paying attention to what is being said. Social dogs tilt their heads more often to encourage conversation and human contact.
Does head tilting help with communication?
Dogs are able to comprehend us in part by analyzing not only the words we use but also the way we use them. To translate human communication, they analyze our body language, inflection, tone of voice, and facial expressions. Dogs have to be able to see our faces clearly in order for them to understand us, so dogs sometimes tilt their heads to see our face better.
There is a possibility that a dog’s vision is impaired due to its head or face shape. Put your fist up to your nose and look around; this will help you understand how a long snout obstructs one’s field of vision. If you want to see something that is directly in front of you, you have to turn your head. The same holds true for dogs.
Dogs improve their visual perspective when they tilt their heads and get around the obstruction caused by their muzzles. This endearing tilt of the head actually enlarges the field of vision, which enables a dog to have a better overall view of a person’s face. It is easier to communicate when we can see each other’s expressions.
Dogs with longer muzzles are more likely to tilt their heads when looking down, so it makes sense that dogs with flatter faces, like Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, would tilt their heads less frequently. It’s possible, then, that that adorable head tilt is the result of physical conformation (structural arrangement of the facial and ear bones).
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How do we humans react when dogs tilt their heads ?
It’s human nature to respond favorably to the “cuteness” of the canine head tilt, which results from a combination of several factors. When dogs cock their heads at us, we smile, give them a pat on the head, and speak to them in a gentle tone. Dogs cock their heads for a number of reasons, one of which is that we teach them to do it by providing them with positive reinforcement. The more we react positively to the head tilt, the more likely it is that the dog will continue doing it, so we can enjoy it over and over again.
When does a tilt of the head suggest a potential medical issue?
Continual head tilt without communication may indicate a medical issue. Infections of the external auditory canal that are caused by bacteria or yeast can result in discomfort, itching, and even a temporary tilting of the head. Infections of the middle ear are more serious, and they are frequently accompanied by a more persistent tilting of the head.
A neurological issue, such as vestibular disease , could also be the cause of the head being held to the side. Take your dog to the vet if you notice that he is cocking his head even when there is no auditory stimulation present.