Does Your Dog Nod His Head When You Talk To Him?

Does your dog nod his head when you talk to him?

We get home and give our pet an order. Then the dog nods and we automatically think he’s paying attention to what we’re talking about… How many times has this happened to you?

Most pet owners associate this canine act with the gesture we do ourselves when we do n’t understand something. Something like “What do you mean?” When our pet does the same, it seems like a very human attitude, doesn’t it?

But what is the true meaning of this gesture in the case of dogs? There are actually  two theories that try to explain why the dog nods when we talk to him.

Scientists do not reach consensus

The phenomenon has been studied by scientists in the fields of biology, veterinary medicine and neuroscience. However, so far there is no conclusive answer and researchers have not reached a consensus.

dog with head tilted

Although it sounds incredible, the act of nodding your head is a topic that generates debate and controversy in the scientific community. Basically, there are two strands that try to explain canine behavior and both are opposed.

Each of the scientific currents has interesting arguments to explain this canine gesture. Let’s meet them all.

Does the dog tilt his head to hear us better?

According to some experts in canine psychology,  dogs turn their heads to position the outer ear pinna in such a way that they can more clearly and accurately capture the modulations of our voice.

It is important to remember that dogs are capable of recognizing more than 160 words in the human vocabulary. Some even exceed that number significantly.

For that reason,  it’s not strange that dogs move their ears to enhance listening when we’re talking to them.

The other hypothesis: the dog tilts its head to see us better

According to another group of researchers,  dogs perform these specific gestures because they allow them to see our mouths as we speak. But what keeps them from seeing our mouth when they’re in the front? The answer is simple: the muzzle.

This hypothesis would explain why dogs with broad, larger snouts are more likely to nod their heads.

It all depends on the training

We cannot forget that  the dog’s reaction to our orders depends a lot on the effectiveness of the training  we gave him. When animals try to identify what we are talking about through sight or hearing, it is because there is a certain degree of attention and interaction between the two.

According to this current,  tilting the face is an action with which dogs seek to give meaning to what we say to them. It doesn’t matter whether he does this with sight or hearing, his obvious intention seems to be to understand us better.

Added to that, maybe we ourselves have stimulated this type of behavior in our pets.

Scheduled response?

Most  owners tend to think that dogs nod their heads as a sign of attention and obedience.

dog with head tilted

Without being aware, when the dog turns its head, we respond with a caress. As a result, we end up accustoming the animal to repeating this action to get positive stimuli.

Anything in excess is harmful

If the dog tilts its head frequently and with little control, you need to pay close attention. At worst, an ear infection may be affecting one of your faithful friend’s ears.

We must remember that any disease in the auditory organ will affect the dog’s balance, causing him to lean repeatedly. If our four-legged friend turns his head just when we’re talking to him, that’s a good sign. The normal thing is to recognize its owner’s voice and that means that everything is in order.

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