Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads When Confused?

Dognapping is a crime that plagues the United States and many other countries around the world.

If you have a dog, you know how important it is to keep them safe from potential predators.

However, no matter how much we love our furry friends, they can get into trouble.

One of the most common questions asked by pet owners is, “why does my dog tilt its head when confused or scared?”

Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads When Confused

The science behind why dogs tilt their heads

You may not realize, but there is a scientific reason why dogs tilt their heads when confused.

It has been found that dogs tilt their heads in order to gain more peripheral vision.

When a dog tilts their head, it allows them to see more of what’s going on around them and gives them an advantage over any potential threats.

This is especially helpful for dogs who live in urban areas where there are lots of people and places to explore.

Another benefit of this behavior is that it helps dogs to communicate with each other.

For example, if one dog starts to tilt its head, another dog will likely follow suit, which lets them know that something is happening.

By tilting their heads, dogs also increase the area in which they can smell.

They can then use this increased ability to sniff out food, garbage, and even other animals.

In short, dogs tilt their heads for several reasons, including protecting themselves, communicating with others, and increasing their ability to smell.

How you can use this information to better understand your dog

Although there isn’t one universal answer for all dogs, there are some general things that may play a role in why dogs tilt their heads when they are confused or afraid.

  • Some breeds are more likely to tilt their heads than others.
  • Some dogs tend to tilt their heads more often than others.
  • There is usually an underlying cause for this behavior.

If your dog tilts his or her head in confusion, here are some things to consider as to what might be causing it:


It’s not uncommon for older dogs to tilt their heads more frequently than younger ones.

While it could mean nothing at all, it could also indicate something else is going on with the dog.

It’s possible that he has developed a neurological disorder or is experiencing pain.


Like age, the breed of a dog can also influence whether they tilt their heads.

For instance, Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly nature and are often used as therapy dogs.

They’re also known to be very intelligent and sensitive, so if your dog tilts his head while looking at you, it could be because he’s trying to figure out what you want him to do next.

Poodles are another breed that tilt their heads a lot.

They’re considered to be high-energy dogs who like to run and jump a lot.

While this type of activity is great for them, it can make them prone to developing stress injuries, which can lead to some pretty bizarre behaviors.

Corgis are another breed that tilt their heads a lot.

This is especially true if they’ve been bred for their ability to pull sleds, which is a fairly intense physical activity.

Labradors are another breed that tilt their heads a lot.

This is often due to the fact that they’re such active dogs who need to constantly be moving.

In addition, Labradors are highly intelligent, which means they’re capable of learning new things quickly.

Chow Chows are another breed that tilt their heads a lot.

This is probably due to the fact that they’re playful and curious.


Smaller dogs will tilt their heads more often than larger dogs, since they don’t have as much room to move around.

For example, a small terrier will tilt his head a lot compared to a Great Dane, even though both dogs are about the same size.


When dogs are being trained, they often tilt their heads to show that they understand what you’re saying.

This is especially true if they’re hearing commands that they haven’t heard before.

However, if your dog tilts his head every time he hears a command, it could be a sign that he isn’t listening as well as he should be.

He may be having difficulty understanding what you’re telling him.

Head tilting in puppies

Puppies aren’t born knowing how to communicate with humans.

Instead, they learn through trial and error.

As a result, they often tilt their heads to show that they understand what you’re saying.

However, this doesn’t always work out for the good.

Sometimes it’ll make them look confused and frustrated, which can lead to bad behavior.

Other times, it’ll just make them seem like they’re bored or uninterested.

Other interesting headtilting behaviors in dogs

In addition to tilting their heads, there are several other interesting headtilting behaviors that dogs exhibit which may confuse us as humans.

If you look at a dog’s face, you will notice that they generally have two eyes on either side of their nose.

This is called binocular vision, which means that each eye sees something slightly different.

The brain then combines these two images to form one complete picture.

When a dog tilts their head, they are using what is called monocular vision.

They are only able to see with one eye at a time.

Since they cannot combine both images, they perceive a distorted image of what is happening.

In the case of confusion, this leads to the tilted head position.

Another interesting behavior is called the “fear blink.”

This is when a dog blinks rapidly while looking away from an approaching object.

It is believed that this is a way for the animal to avoid detection from predators.

While you might not think of your dog as being a predator, it is very possible that they could encounter a threat such as a bear or cougar.

This isn’t just limited to animals.

Humans also blink when frightened.

Blinking is actually a natural reflex, so it is easy to understand why people tend to blink when they are startled.

A similar situation occurs with dogs when they are startled.

Why some dogs tilt their heads more than others

There are several different reasons why dogs tilt their heads when confused.

Some dogs tilt their heads for different reasons than others.

Here is a breakdown of the five most common reasons why dogs tilt their heads when confused.

  • Head tilt is a defensive mechanism
  • The dog may not understand what is happening
  • They are trying to show dominance over another dog
  • It could also be an indication of pain or discomfort
  • It could also be an attempt to communicate with you

You will find out more about these reasons on the next page.

What to do if your dog starts tilting their head excessively

The first thing to consider is whether your dog has any medical conditions that could cause this behavior.

A dog with a seizure disorder for example may tilt his head in an attempt to avoid the sound of clapping hands as he goes into a seizure.

This would explain why a dog who has had a seizure in the past will tilt his head if he hears the sound of clapping hands again.

There are also several physical reasons why a dog might tilt his head when frightened.

An old injury to the neck or spine can lead to muscle spasms that make the dog feel like he is going to throw up.

In these cases, the dog is trying to protect himself by tilting his head backward to prevent vomit from coming out of his mouth.

Other dogs may simply tilt their heads to look at something behind them.

It may seem silly, but it is not uncommon for a dog to tilt his head forward to see where he is walking next.

If your dog has never shown signs of being fearful before, there is another possibility.

Some breeds, such as German Shepherd Dogs, can become very aggressive when they are startled.

Unfortunately, fear can trigger aggression in these dogs, causing them to tilt their heads to look behind them to see what is making them so uncomfortable.

In some cases, the dog’s owner may find it difficult to tell whether the dog is actually afraid of something or just wants to look back over his shoulder.

There is a way to help solve this problem.

The best solution is to teach your dog to recognize human voices as well as other sounds.

Once your dog knows exactly what the sound of your voice means, you won’t have to worry about him tilting his head to check behind him every time someone calls his name.

Do dogs tilt their heads when confused?

Many people think that dogs tilt their heads in order to look at something more carefully.
This isn’t true though.
The truth is that dogs tilt their heads because it helps them sniff out danger.
It’s a natural reflex which allows them to detect odors – whether they be good or bad smells – through their sense of smell.
When a dog tilts his head, he uses his nose to breathe deeper into the air around him.
When they feel an odor coming from somewhere nearby, they will often sniff the air with their head tilted slightly upward.
Dogs also use this method to communicate with each other.
If one dog tilts his head, another dog may follow suit.
This way, they can tell who is speaking and what they are saying.
If you want to understand more about how dogs communicate, read on as we discuss the science behind why dogs tilt their heads when confused.

Megan Turner

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *