Pretty Pets Kennel



Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads: Confused or Acting Cute?

Do dogs tilt their heads because they are confused or are they just acting cute? It’s a few of the questions that run through a pet owner’s head when they see these quirks done by their pet. There are different explanations for this adorable behaviour that, frankly, our dogs have no idea, make them look irresistibly cute. 

A dog tilting its head is an action that has many reasons behind it – from intently listening, improving vision, to helping understand us better. Read on further to help understand why exactly do dogs do this action. 

Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads: Confused or Acting Cute?

Dogs Tilt Their Heads To Look Cute

Dogs do look cute while they tilt their heads! However, dogs have no idea they look cute while doing it, but seeing their owners gush, coo, and react positively every time they tilt their heads encourages them to continue doing it. Your dog will most likely start doing it to get your attention and please you. 

Dogs Tilt Their Heads To Help Them See Better

According to Jill Goldman, Ph.D, an LA-based certified animal behaviorist, the head tilting behaviour is connected to their vision. Dogs tilting their head is actually a spontaneous, normal behaviour in response to us and their surroundings. In terms of letting them see better as they do the head tilt, it is a way for them to view things clearly. Studies have shown that dog breeds with longer snouts or pronounced muzzles may do this tilting action more often compared to those with shorter or flatter snouts. It is believed that longer snouts can get in the way of their vision, so they tilt their head to see better.

In another theory, they say that dogs tilting their head to see our eyes better, to have proper eye contact. It also shows that they are interested and can see what emotions their owners display.

Dogs Tilt Their Heads To Show Empathy

When dogs form a bond with their pet owners, they become attuned to their emotions and how they’re feeling. In one of the studies conducted, dogs are able to read our faces and understand how we’re feeling. So, if you’re feeling down, and you find yourself talking to your dog to vent, just know that your dog is listening while they’re tilting their head in response. Add this to one of the reasons why dogs are the best life companions!

Dogs Tilt Their Heads To Help Them Hear Better

Aside from letting dogs see better, dogs tilt their heads to also hear better as they listen. It’s an instinctive response for dogs to tilt their head as they listen to us speak or when they hear sounds coming from somewhere. In doing so, it helps them determine where the sound is coming from and adjust the ear position accordingly to identify the sound frequencies. The next time you talk to your dog, whether it’s in a normal voice or in baby talk, and they tilt their head in response, it means they’re listening intently!

Dogs Tilting Their Heads May Indicate A Medical Problem

The tilting of a dog’s head may sometimes indicate underlying medical issues. It is usually coupled with other dog behaviours, such as scratching the side of the head or ears, leaning on their side, loss of balance, or inability to walk. This may be an indication of an ear infection or a disease, so it’s best to bring them to your vet to have it checked and treated. 

Is It Okay To Encourage Head Tilting?

Dogs tilting their head is a natural response to sounds, especially when it comes from their owners. When owners respond positively to head tilting through praises, head pats, and smiles, dogs see this as a good thing and will do it more since it’s something they think is a good thing. Positive reinforcement is good for our dogs and encourages them to act in their best behaviour while pleasing their owners. 


Dogs tilt their heads, not as a way to show their confusion, but rather it is their instinctive and natural response when they listen to us or hear sounds. It is also an action that is proven to help them hear and see better, which shows that they are listening, so they can understand and respond accordingly. Aside from that, it is also an unconscious response to positive reinforcement from owners, especially since we can’t help but gush over how cute they look when they tilt their head. 

In some cases, it can also be an indication of a medical problem that owners should check on. If they exhibit abnormal behaviours alongside head tilting, you may bring your pet to your veterinarian to diagnose and get treatment. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Hi, Thank you for your inquiry to Pretty Pets Kennel ! How can we assist you?