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Why do dogs cock their head?

Why do dogs cock their head?

Posted by: Tim Berrisford  Date: 16/08/2013   Category: Pet Health

A dog cocking its head is a move made by dogs on a regular basis, one that many dog owners don’t ever question. When your dog hears a new noise, a person speaking or the doorbell their initial reaction is to tilt their head to one side. With an inquisitive look in their face at the same time, many people would think they are trying to work out what is going on or maybe that they are trying to hear.

Dr. Meredith Stepita, a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists explains that some experts believe that dogs tilt their heads when they think there is a possibility that what is being said could lead to something important to the dog. It may also be to do with how dogs hear as they have moveable ear flaps which help them to locate sound so even the slightest movement of a dogs head will alter the sound they hear. This information means that perhaps the dog is trying to get a more accurate hearing of the sound.

Many dog owners find dogs cocking their heads cute and give dogs praise for being so cute so dogs will continue to do this as they will think they are behaving well. However if you feel your dog cocks their head too often or does it without any noise or change around them it is recommended to see your vet as they can rule out any infection or health issues.

While it’s easy to assume something as cute as your dog tilting her head at you is always benign, it is important to speak with your veterinarian about any behavior that could have a medical cause, including a head tilt. “A dog that consistently or even intermittently holds their head to the side, especially without an obvious external trigger present (i.e., a noise), may have a medical problem,” says Dr. Stepita,

These types of dog health issues range from brain disease such as infection, inflammation, cancer, etc, to an ear problem such as infection, lodged foreign object or other mass. Only a veterinarian can rule these out.