All dog owners will recognize the famous 'head tilt.' The adorable concoctionof raised ears, a tilted head and puppy dog eyes is too adorable to resist and until recently had been remained relatively mysterious.
A variety of theories had previously been suggested as to the meaning of the gesture, mainly focused on dogs trying to 'look cute' and convince their humans togive them treats with the heart-melting gesture.However, there had been no research into this behavior until Stanley Coren, a professor in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, decided to investigate this adorable behavior.
However, Coren discovered a much more endearing and loveable motivation for the tilt, rooted in empathy and understanding. His hypothesis was based on the fact that dogs' long noses get in the way of their vision.Therefore, the canines tilt their heads to the sides to be able to see and understand their human more clearly.
The study involved a sample of 582 dogs from a variety of breeds. Their owners reported how often their dogs tilted their heads and the results were analyzed.Dog breeds with shorter noses were found to tilt their heads less often, although still a significant amount, than their longer-nosedcounterparts, proving, to some extent, Coren's hypothesis. He explained in Psychology Today:
This is a statistically significant difference that clearly suggests that head shape, and size of the muzzle does influence head tilting in dogs.
The overall result of this study implies that dog's tilt their heads in an effort to understand their humans and their facial expressions more clearly.So, your dog just wants to see, hear and understand you better!
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