Although scientists disagree on why dogs tilt their heads when they listen to us, the reasons range from hearing us better to improving their vision of our face
Why do many dogs tilt their heads when we speak to them? The scene will not surprise anyone who has lived with a dog: when we speak to him, he tilts his head to one side. This adorable gesture, however, intrigues animal lovers. Why does he do this? Canine experts do not agree either: the reasons range from the fact that the dog hears us better this way (directs his ears towards the voice source), to the fact that dogs tilt their heads because their muzzle prevents them from seeing our lips when we speak to them .
Why do dogs bow their heads when we speak to them?
We talk to the dog and, suddenly, the furry friend tilts his head. The scene will not surprise those who have lived with a dog. This gesture is adorable and endearing in equal measure. It intrigues animal lovers and fascinates experts. But why does the dog bow his head when we speak to him?
Six out of ten dogs bow their heads when we speak to them as a normal gesture, and the percentage increases in dogs with large snouts.
Canine behaviour specialists do not agree, but they do throw some plausible hypotheses to understand this pleasant gesture.
Does the candle tilt his head to understand us better?
Some experts suggest that dogs tilt their heads in order to better hear what we say to them. In other words, the furry friend would move his head to adapt his external ears to the direction of our voice and, in this way, listen to us better.
The dogs recognize about 165 human words (some more) and are able to count to five, recent research concludes. So, it would not be strange for them to tilt their heads to better distinguish some of these key words and expressions of the human language, such as “It’s lunchtime!” or “Do you want to go outside?”
Dogs tilt their heads when we speak to them to distinguish words, but also because the muzzle prevents them from seeing our mouth in its normal position
When a dog tilts its head, it tries to identify familiar words and intonations, which the animal associates with certain activities, such as going out to the park or obtaining an edible treat.
The adorable gesture, moreover, usually does not take long to have a positive effect on your interlocutor. Who can not resist the captivating image of a dog that looks at us with such an expression of attention? This would explain, consequently, why the animal does not hesitate to repeat it: the rewards and expressions of affection obtained by its two-legged friend are an attractive incentive and, in addition, an incentive that strengthens communication between dogs and people.
The dogs bow their heads to see us better
However, not all experts share these explanations of the canine gesture trickster. Dogs bow their heads when we speak to them because this gesture makes it easier for them to see our mouths. Which is the reason? The muzzle reduces the frontal visibility of the animal and, specifically, in its usual position the dog does not see the lower area of our face: that is, the mouth of its interlocutor.
Any of us can experience it: try placing your nose inside your hand curled into a fist ; that will allow you to see the world in the same way as a dog with a snout. Once this attempt is made in front of a person speaking, it is not difficult to understand how the visibility of the speaker’s face is reduced. But what happens if you tilt your head, just as a dog would while we are talking to it? Then, the field of vision grows and it is more difficult to lose sight of the speaker’s mouth!
This scientist supports his version with an experiment, carried out with 582 dogs. Their owners were asked about the head tilt of their furry companions. What was the results? The 60% of dogs shakes his head regularly when people talk to them .
But this data has its nuances, depending on the size of the muzzle . Seven out of ten dogs with large snouts (worse for vision, due to their greater length) bow their heads regularly when their owners talk to them. This is a higher figure than that of their flat or brachiocephalic companions , such as the bulldog or boxer (50%). The reason? For these furry friends, without a long snout, it is easier to read our lips without tilting their heads so much.