If your Labrador tilts its head sometimes, this post will show you a number of possible reasons why it might do it.

So, why does my Labrador tilt its head? Possible reasons are that it is trying to hear better, to see better, it is dizzy or injured, it’s curious or that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.

There are actually a number of different reasons why your Labrador might be doing it. Fortunately, there are also a number of things that you can consider that will help you in figuring out the exact cause.

Why your Labrador tilts its head

Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might do it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.

To improve its hearing

Labradors 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

The reason why it does it could be that the muzzle on Labradors can sometimes get in the way of their vision. 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 reason why it does it could be that it is dizzy or it is 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 Labrador to a vet to get expert help.

You have positively reinforced it

The cause might be that you have inadvertently encouraged it to do it by giving it things that 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.

You’re being emotional

Sometimes, Labradors and other dogs will tilt their heads when they are unsure of what is going on or they are confused. If your Labrador 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.

Labradors will normally be very responsive to their owner’s emotions. When interacting with your Labrador it would help to be calm with it and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way that you want.

It is curious

Sometimes, Labradors will also tilt their heads when they are curious about something. This would be more likely to be the reason if your Labrador 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.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.