If your dog has been tilting its head, when you talk to it, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog tilt its head when I talk to it? Possible reasons why your dog tilts its head, when you talk to it, are to improve its hearing, confusion, too see better or encouraging the behavior.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out what to do about it.
Reasons why your dog tilts its head when you talk to it
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog does it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
To improve its hearing
Dogs generally have very good hearing so it is not necessary for them to tilt their heads in order to hear things. However, tilting their head may help them to single out phrases that are important to them such as when you are telling it to come for food (source). This could be the reason that it tilts its head when you’re talking to it.
To see better
Sometimes, the muzzle on dogs can get in the way of their vision, it could be the case that your dog tilts its head sometimes so that it can see better. This would be more likely if it does it when looking at things lower than it or something in the distance but less likely when looking at something higher.
Dizziness or injury
The cause could also be that it is dizzy or injured. This would be more likely if it tilts its head repeatedly, it has started doing it suddenly, it has been showing other signs of being dizzy or injured or it does it at unusual times (source).
If you think that dizziness or injury is the cause then it would help to take your dog to a vet to get expert help.
Encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things such as attention, toys or treats when it does it.
Being too emotional
The reason why it does it might be that it is confused or unsure of what is happening. If your dog usually tilts its head when you are being emotional with it then it would be more likely that it is tilting its head because it does not know what is happening.
Dogs will normally be very responsive to their owner’s emotions. When interacting with your dog it would help to be calm with it and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way that you want.
Dogs will also tilt their heads when they are curious about something. This would be more likely to be the reason if your dog does it in situations such as when someone is at the door or if someone is interacting with it but in a way that it does not understand.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
If your dog always tilts its head when you talk to it
If your dog does not always tilt its head, when you talk to it, it would help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it only does it when you talk to it with a strange voice, it would be more likely that it does it due to being confused.
What else happened when your dog first started tilting its head
If it did not always tilt its head, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to an injury or mental issue but it could also be due to things such as learning that the behavior gets rewarded.
What to do about your dog tilting its head when you talk to it
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Allow it to continue
It’s not unusual for dogs to tilt their heads when people talk to them. If your dog has not been doing it excessively and it does not seem to be due to any mental issues, it would be an option to just let it continue doing it.
If your dog has been doing it excessively or it has been showing other signs of mental issues such as by being dizzy, it would help to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to rule out more serious causes.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not tilt its head and to avoid rewarding it when it behaves in a way that you do not like.
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