We’ve Finally Got An Answer For Why Dogs Always Tilt Their Heads

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • And it just makes that old habit even cuter

    You know when you’re innocently eating your cereal, or texting a friend, or watching TV, and your dog tilts its head at you in a nonsensical but totally adorable way? Well, there’s finally an explanation for why they do it – they’re trying to show empathy.

    Source: giphy

    Yup, according to Mental Floss, your pup makes those cute little movements to show you how much they care about you and understand your feelings.

    How can cat people even claim cats are better, especially now we know they are really trying to kill you deep down?

    Source: giphy

    The article says that when your dog tilts its head, it’s trying to listen out for familiar sounds or words. ‘Dogs are impressively good at reading and responding to our body language and vocal cues,’ it says. ‘When you’re lecturing your pooch for taking food off the counter, they’re taking it all in even if the literal message gets lost in translation. Same goes for when you’re giving your pup praise.

    ‘Dogs are capable of recognising certain parts of human language, so when they cock their heads as you speak to them it’s possible they’re listening for specific words and inflections they associate with fun activities like meals and playtime.’

    We knew they could understand us after all.

    Best of all, if you have a dog who frequently head tilts, it means they’re especially empathetic. And if your dog never does this cute little trick, apparently you can train them into doing it by positively reinforcing and praising any head tilts.

    Whether they’ll become more empathetic as a result is unclear.

    Have a look through our gallery of adorable head-tilting dogs (and one sleeping Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, just because) above…

    Does your dog tilt its head a lot? Do you think it’s especially empathetic? Let us know @marieclaireuk

    Reading now