Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads

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Researchers from Budapest's Eötvös Loránd University delved into the mystery of why dogs tilt their heads when they hear sounds. The study, published in Animal Cognition, analyzed videos of 40 dogs learning the names of toys. Some dogs, termed Gifted Word Learners (GWL), excelled at this task, remembering at least 10 new toys, while others struggled to recall even two.

The researchers observed that GWL dogs tilted their heads 43% of the time when asked to retrieve a specific toy, a behavior significantly less frequent among typical dogs (2% of the time). This observation led the team to conclude that GWL dogs not only recognize the words but also attribute meaning to them. The head tilt, they suggest, signifies the dogs contemplating the meaning, possibly forming an image associated with the word.

Co-author Andrea Temesi clarified that the findings do not imply that typical dogs never tilt their heads; rather, they are less inclined to do so when their owner requests a toy by name. Notably, each dog exhibited a consistent preference for tilting its head in a particular direction.


1- What distinguishes Gifted Word Learner (GWL) dogs from typical dogs in the study?

2- What did the researchers conclude about the head tilt behavior of Gifted Word Learner (GWL) dogs?

3- How did typical dogs behave when their owner asked for a toy by name, according to the study?


You have completed the comprehension questions. 

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