Why do dogs tilt their heads? Is it really a sign of confusion?
Dogs rarely look cuter than when they tilt their heads to the side and give you a curious look.
But while they may seem confused, a recent study suggests that the expression could actually be a sign of intelligence.
Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary discovered that head-swapping is the canine’s way of processing word meaning and making connections.
The study analyzed the behavior of 40 dogs when their owners asked them to find a specific toy by saying its name.
About 33 of the pets couldn’t learn the names of the toys, but seven could, and they tilted their heads when they heard their owners say it.
Six of those ‘gifted dogs’ were border collies, considered one of the most intelligent breeds in the world.
A recent study reveals that your dog may be gifted if he tilts his head. The researchers studied various dogs and found that border collies expressed the most. In the photo appears Whiskey, who was part of the study and was among the most gifted.
“Owners often observe dogs head tilting and we do not yet have a full understanding of the function and circumstances under which this behavior occurs,” the researchers said in a statement. statement.
“However, this study is the first step in this direction showing how this behavior might be related to the presence of significant and salient auditory stimuli to the dog.”
Head tilting is known as asymmetric behavior, which is also found among humans, usually during a time when thinking about or hearing a noise.
However, dogs’ tail wagging, nostril sniffing, and paw preference are also asymmetric behaviors.
Lead author Dr Andrea Sommese said: “Tilting the head is another asymmetric movement in dogs, but it has never been studied.”
“We investigated the frequency and direction of this behavior in response to a specific human verbal vocalization: when the owner asks the dog to bring a toy by saying its name.
Researchers found that head-swapping is a canine way of processing word meaning and making connections.
What breeds of dogs are the most intelligent?
WebMD reports that the following are the most naturally intelligent dog breeds:
- border collie
- German shepherd
- golden retriever
- doberman pinscher
- Shetland Sheepdog
- labrador retriever
- australian cattle dog
“We did this after realizing that it often happened when dogs listened to their owners.”
The study involved three months of training the dogs to familiarize them with specific toy names.
The ‘gifted dogs’ bowed their heads 43 percent of the time when their owners called out the names of the toys, while the average pet only moved 2 percent of the time.
“We’re not claiming that only gifted dogs bow their heads while typical dogs never do,” Sommese said. living science.
“Typical dogs do that too, some more often than others, but in this specific situation, when the owner asks for a toy by name, only gifted dogs show good inclination.”
These findings prompted a second investigation that only looked at head tilts.
Subsequent experiments, which lasted 24 months, confirmed that the dogs seem to have a preferred side to move their heads.
Shany Dror, co-author of the study, said: “There appears to be a relationship between success in retrieving a named toy and frequent head tilting when hearing its name.”
“This is why we suggest an association between head tilting and processing relevant and meaningful stimuli.”