Weve all experienced the classic doggy head tilt which usually occurs when we either make a funny sound or say something verbally to our pooch.

It seems as if the dog doesnt understand the command or is bewildered by the sound, so we get the often times hilarious and always adorable head tilt!

But is this really the reason for the tilt? It actually may have something to do with vision according to a survey put out by Psychology Today.

Dogs are very smart creatures. They tend to not only pick up on the commands we give them, but also the tone of voice that the commands are delivered. On top of that they read our body language. Especially our facial body language.

Apparently, according to the guy who led the survey, Stanley Coren, dogs will actually tilt their head so they can get a better view of our faces in an attempt to read our body language better. You see, normally, their big muzzled faces get in the way of their vision (imagine having your nose extend outwards two or three times its current length and you will see the visual interference that will cause).

So the survey reads like this: Out of 582 people, 62% report experiencing dog head tilting regularly when they speak to their canine. But here’s how it breaks down: 52% of the flat faced dog owners like pugs and bulldogs, said that they experience the tilt. Now 72% of the larger muzzled dogs like greyhounds say that they experience the tilt.

Thus Coren concluded that the tilt was at least in part due to the disrupted vision of the dogs muzzle.

Still, thats a big percentage of flat faced dogs who still perform the tilt, even though their vision is not blocked as much. Coren believes that since the dogs get a positive reaction from the owner when they do the tilt, this explains the high percentage from pug and bulldog owners.

Coren puts it this way: “Perhaps something to do with hearing plays a role, or perhaps the dogs are really just trying to look cute. Nonetheless this study is a first step toward finding the answer, and at least we now have a bit of data to work with,”

Either way, it still seems like the dogs are experiencing some form of confusion and perhaps that is the main part to the equation of why they perform the doggy head tilt so often.

Another dog head tilting, just because. Image credit: Matthew Field/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Read more: http://damn.com/dog-tilt-head/