Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads

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Researchers at Budapest's Eötvös Loránd University sought to unravel the mystery behind dogs tilting their heads in response to sounds, particularly when names of objects are mentioned. Their study, published in Animal Cognition, involved a thorough analysis of videos featuring 40 dogs engaged in learning the names of toys over a three-month period.

Distinguishing between Gifted Word Learner (GWL) dogs, adept at memorizing at least 10 new toys, and "typical" dogs struggling with a maximum of two, the researchers focused on head-tilting behavior. GWL dogs exhibited a significant head tilt frequency of 43% when prompted to retrieve a specific toy, in stark contrast to the 2% observed in typical dogs.

This discrepancy led the researchers to propose that GWL dogs not only comprehend the words but ascribe meaning to them. The head tilt, they suggest, serves as an indicator of the dogs actively contemplating the meaning, possibly conjuring mental images associated with the word.

Co-author Andrea Temesi clarified that the study does not imply that typical dogs never tilt their heads; rather, their inclination to do so is notably reduced when responding to their owner's request for a toy by name. Intriguingly, the researchers noted a consistent directional preference in each dog's head tilt, suggesting an individualized pattern in this behavior.


1- What specific aspect of dog behavior did the researchers at Budapest's Eötvös Loránd University aim to understand?

2- According to the study, what is the key difference in head-tilting behavior between Gifted Word Learner (GWL) dogs and "typical" dogs?

3- What did co-author Andrea Temesi clarify regarding typical dogs' head-tilting behavior?


You have completed the comprehension questions. 

Parts of this lesson are based on: An article by Engoo Daily News.