What does it Mean When a Dog Tilts its Head? Dog Body Language and a Doggy Head Tilt

What does it Mean When a Dog Tilts its Head?
Dog Body Language and a Doggy Head Tilt

As a body language expert and the former spokesperson for PupPeroni Dog Treats I have studied human and dog body language for many years.

A head tilt in a dog can be a sign of submission. A dog’s head can be held even and high to show power and confidence. Even and balanced to show neutrality. When the dog’s head tilt is extreme, that is when the neck is exposed and the head is down really far, it is a signal to dogs or people they perceive as Alpha that, “You are more powerful and I bare my neck to show you that you could bite me and take me down in a fight.”

It can also be a signal of submission, “I don’t understand what you want, Pet Parent.” This signal is tied to their desire to understand what you, their pet parent, desire. When compared with other animals, a dog’s ability to "read” humans is highly accurate. Dogs try very hard to figure out what we want and please us. Dogs pick up information from the subtlest hand gestures and even understand the meaning of a human glance and other facial expressions and vocal variations.  Researchers believe that over centuries there’s been direct selection for dogs with the ability to read social cues in humans, highlighting its importance. They are actually more accurate at reading human body language than chimpanzees.

A dog shows his confidence and openness to interact by standing with his:

1. Head high, Ears up
2. Mouth open
3. Posture relaxed, loose legs stance, weight flat on his paws

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.