When we talk to dogs, sometimes they tilt their heads while looking at and listening to us. Why? What does this attentive behavior represent?
There are at least 2 possibilities. Dr. Meredith Stepita, animal behaviorist and veterinarian, thinks that a dog is adjusting its inner ear in order to hear more precisely:
Since dogs can understand some human language, including words and tone of voice, a head-cocking dog could be concentrating on picking out a key word or inflection that relates to that favorite activity. So your dog may cock her head when you start talking about taking her for a walk or giving her a bath or playing a game of fetch — whatever it is that she loves to do.
Stanley Coren, a specialist in dog behavior, says that dogs carefully read the body language and facial expressions of their humans. Since their muzzles create blind spots, a head-tilting dog may be trying to get around the blind spot in front of its nose in order to read your expressions more carefully:
We know that dogs continually scan our faces for information and to read our emotional state. Hence it is likely that one reason why dogs may tilt their heads when we talk to them is because they want to see our faces better, and to compensate for the way in which their muzzles obscure part of their vision.