Why do dogs bow their heads when we talk to them?


Although the dog is man's best friend, the real reason for this gesture is still unknown, but there are several hypotheses for this.

There is a very tender and adorable gesture made by dogs, especially when their owners talk to them or hear some strange noise. This consists of tilting the head to the side, seeming to understand us when we talk to them or pay attention to us. When our pet makes this type of gesture, it produces an excess of tenderness and we continue the conversation with him as if it were an equal, but, Are you really listening to what we say?

Scientifically it is not clear that this is so, but in real>

To hear us better

This gesture occurs because we talk to the dog or say a word and, instinctively, the animal tilts its head to the side while looking at us. It is very tender and some owners get very excited when they do it because you feel that their pet is really listening to them and they understand their conversation. Of course it fascinates the experts who study these furry friends, but it is not known exactly why this position. In this aspect, professionals and specialists in canine behavior they don't know exactly what the explanation may be, although they have some hypotheses that could square and understand this endearing gesture.

The first of the hypotheses is not that our dog is exactly understanding what we say, but if shuffles the possibility that maybe by tilting the head, it opens more your auditory space and try to listen better to what the owner has to say. Given that dogs are able to recognize about 165 human words, it would not be a mistake to think that when they make this movement they better distinguish some of the expressions that humans try to tell them.

Although, one could also think about the fact that it is not precisely that they understand us, but that Dogs associate words or movements with different types of facts. If they see the leash, they know they are going to the street, if you move their arm they associate it with the throwing of the ball, if they hear a specific word they may associate it with eating, going out or sitting, that is why they can also do it by receiving some kind of prize or because somehow, its owner has positively reinforced it, since doing so is nice and enjoyable.

To see us better

Another hypothesis is that our pet does it to increase his field of vision and see each other better, especially since it facilitates the vision of our mouth. The reason is that the snout reduces its frontal visibility, that is, in a neutral position the dog does not see the lower area of ​​our face, a blind spot is produced by its long snout in this sense.

According to researcher Stanley Coren, a member of the American Psychological Association, he invites us for anyone to carry out an experiment that will allow him to confirm it. If you place your nose inside your hand rolled in a fist, this will allow us to see the world as if we had a snout, if we put ourselves in front of a person who speaks, the visibility of his face will be reduced. But if you shake your head just like a dog would, then the field of vision would grow and it would be much easier to see his mouth. However, this experiment has its flaws, and not all dogs have the same snout and those who have them flat or are brachiocephalic, such as the bulldogs or boxer, they don't perform this gesture so much because they see us much better and don't need to bow down.

Ear problems

It is true that it is a generalized behavior in dogs, but you have to be very cautious and be attentive, since It may also be accompanied by some sign of illness. It is important to consider the following symptoms:

1. If the animal is irritable and moves the head too much. If he inclines it from time to time nothing happens, but if he does it too often, regardless of whether we speak to him or not, it may come from something more serious.

2. It is good to check your ears from time to time, and if at any time you see irritation in the pink part in the inner part of the ear, is that you may be suffering from some type of infection.

3. It can also happen, no matter how much you clean the ear wax, still having a very excessive accumulation, you may need a deeper cleaning to avoid otitis later.

4.If your ears bleed, you see bumps or some other kind of anomaly, take it to the vet for a much more thorough review, something is wrong.

5.When you walk in circles or seem disorientedThis may refer to some type of loss of balance, which usually comes from the ears.

6.If you have clear signs of pain in the ears or head, maybe because he scratches a lot with his legs while he complains or whines at the same time.

7. Something that would be more serious is that does not listen to us or ignored them by calling them, it could be a loss of partial or total hearing capacity.

In any of these cases discussed above, it is essential to take the dog to the trusted veterinarian quickly, since it may have some type of hearing disease, and it will be necessary to analyze it thoroughly and put it into treatment as soon as possible, since it may be suffering from otitis, or perhaps it is a simple inflammation or something congenital that would not have been anticipated before.

Why do dogs bow their heads when we talk to them?

We talked to the dog and, suddenly, the furry friend tilts his head. The scene will not surprise those who have lived with a dog. This gesture is adorable and endearing in equal parts. Intrigue animal lovers and fascinate experts. But, Why does the dog bow its head when we talk to it?

Six out of ten dogs bow their heads when we speak to them as a normal gesture, and the percentage grows in large snout dogs

The specialists in canine behavior do not agree, but they do throw some plausible hypotheses to understand this pleasant gesture, which gets thousands of visits on YouTube. Who has not yet seen the endearing video with four Carlin dogs that bow their heads when their owner speaks to them? The recording has achieved, for the moment, nothing less than about four million reproductions.

Can the head bow to understand us better?

Some experts suggest that the dogs bow their heads in order to listen better to what we say. This theory is what sustains, among others, the expert psychologist in dogs Alexandra Horowitz, author of 'In the mind of the dog' (RBA, 2011). In other words, the furry friend would move his head to adapt his outer ear pavilions to the direction of our voice and, thus, listen to us better.

The dogs recognize about 165 human words (some more) and are able to count to five, recent research concludes. Then, it would not be strange if they tip their heads to better distinguish some of these key words and expressions of human language, such as "It's time for food!" or "Do you want to go outside?"

Dogs bow their heads when we speak to them to distinguish words, but also because the snout prevents them from seeing our mouth in their normal position

"When a dog bows its head, it tries to identify familiar words and intonations, which the animal associates with certain activities, such as going out to the park or obtaining an edible prize," defends, for its part, the canine ethologist Steven Lindsay, author of 'Manual of Applied Canine Behavior and Training '(Wiley-Blackwel, 2000).

The adorable gesture, moreover, does not take long to cause a positive effect on your interlocutor. Who can not resist the captivating picture of a dog that looks at us with such an expression of attention? This would explain, consequently, that the animal does not hesitate to repeat it: the rewards and samples of affection obtained by its two-legged friend are an attractive attraction and, in addition, an incentive that strengthens communication between dogs and people.

Dogs bow their heads to see us better

However, not all experts share these explanations of the canine trickster. The researcher Stanley Coren, from the University of British Columbia (Canada), believes that, above all, "dogs bow their heads when we talk to them because this gesture facilitates their vision of our mouth." Which is the reason? He snout reduces the frontal visibility of the animal and, specifically, in its usual position the dog does not see the lower part of our face: that is, the mouth of its interlocutor.

"Any of us can experience it: try placing your nose inside your fist-shaped rolled hand, that will allow you to see the world in the same way as a dog with a snout, "invites Coren, a member of the American Psychological Association. Once this attempt is made in front of a person who speaks, it is not difficult to understand how the visibility of the face the speaker is reduced. But, What happens if one tilts his head, just like a dog would while talking to him? Then, the field of vision grows and it is more difficult to lose sight of the mouth of the speaker!

This scientist supports his version with an experiment, performed with 582 dogs. Their owners were asked about the head-tufts of their furry companions. What was the results? He 60% of dogs regularly shake their heads when people talk to them.

But this data has its nuances, depending on the size of the snout. Seven out of ten dogs with large snouts (worse for vision, because of their greater length) bow their heads regularly when their owners talk to them. This is a higher figure than his flat or brachiocephalic companions, such as the bulldog or boxer (50%). The reason? For these furry friends, without a long snout, it is easier to read our lips without tilting the head so much.

Your dog tilts its head to hear you better

It is no secret that dogs' ears are much more developed than human beings, so they are capable of perceive more ofsound frequencies, many of which we don't even notice.

Relying on this, some researchers argue that the dog tilts its head when you speak to place its ears so that it can better perceive the sounds you emit. Now, why would I want to do this? Although he can't understand what you say, it has been proven that dogs recognize about 200 words of human vocabulary, including the commands and instructions you have taught and those that relate to positive reinforcements. So, when you talk to him, maybe he is waiting to hear that he will go out for a walk, that he will receive a rich reward or even that you call his attention for something he is doing at that moment, because in addition to the word he also analyzes the intonation you use to address you to the.

Need see you

From a young age the dog gets used to looking up when he is with you, always looking for your face and your facial expressions, which help him identify what you expect from him and your mood. Thus, one of the theories about why dogs tilt their heads when we talk to them focuses on this fact to try to explain this phenomenon, postulating that for some breeds, due to their physiognomy, it would be difficult for them to face humans , so when you bow your head you would have a complete vision of our face.

In what cases would this assumption be valid? Well, in those races characterized by a long snout, which prevents the dog from having a complete vision of your face when it looks at you from the front, tilting its head so as not to miss any gesture and have more opportunity to interpret what you say.

Do you suffer any discomfort?

Occasionally, the gesture of tilting the head may be due to the dog suffering some ear disease, so that I would turn it as a way to seek relief from the discomfort it feels, which is usually itching or pain. Of course, when this is the reason the dog does not turn its head once, but many and in a row, so it is not difficult to detect. In addition, it is accompanied by different signs, such as redness of the ear pin, scabs or accumulation of abnormal wax, among others. So, if you suspect that this could be the cause, do not hesitate and go to the veterinarian.

On the other hand, a dog that isdeafof an ear He will tip his head to try to listen to you better, so it is a possibility that you should also consider when deciding why your dog turns his head when you talk to him.

It is a conditioned behavior

Dogs they learnmany things about us, and above all they learn what are the things that please us and that provide some reward for them. If when your dog tilts its head it produces so much tenderness that you come to hug it and make thousands of pampering, it is normal to repeat the gesture to get the same attention, which is pleasant for him.

Although there are several reasons that can lead your dog to turn his head when you talk to him, the dog can have this behavior for a count of some, or for only one, so that it is possible that he tries to listen to you better and, at the same time , earn those caresses that you like so much.

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