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Why do dogs tilt their heads?

Updated on January 23, 2009

The dog ear language

Dog experts as well as discerning pet owners can understand what their pet wants to impart simply by looking at the way the ear is positioned. Erect and slightly forward ears means that the dog is alert. If the erect ears are accompanied by the tilting of the head, it means that the dog is trying to gain better understanding of the sound he hears. Erect ears, slightly tilted head, slightly opened mouth and a relaxed expression would tell that the dog is finding the situation really interesting.

Dogs tiltting their heads

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The clownish act of the dog

A dog standing and dancing on its hind feet provides amusement to the owners. In the same manner, a dog may tilt its head to provide a show. Nobody can discount the fact that our furry friends are really adorable when they look at you with a lively expression and a tilted head. Dogs do this act because more often than not they are rewarded with hugs and tasty treats.

The simple truth why dogs tilt their heads

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.

More serious reasons why dogs head are tilted

A pet owner may not worry about the occasional head tilting of the dog if it is due to a mite infestation or to an allergic reaction to food. These situations can be easily remedied. Dogs that are constantly tilting their head however may have a problem with their inner balance resulting from a serious ear infection, from brain injuries and from a brain tumor. This concern would certainly need medical attention.

Helping the furry friend

Head tilting may also be caused by a foreign object that was lodged inside the ear of the dog. Examine the ear of your pet and remove anything that doesn't belong there. These can be a piece of grass, a seed, dirt or a small pebble. Water on the dog's ear can also cause discomfort. Small objects can be removed by your hand but if it is not possible you may need to enlist the help of a vet.

Regularly cleaning the ears and ensuring that the ear canal is dry would prevent the development of infection. You may need to pluck excess hair from the ear canal of the dog.


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      Joshua Perez 7 years ago

      Thanks! I really needed this for my science project.