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Science Surprisingly Finds Why Dogs Often Tilt Their Heads

Science Surprisingly Finds Why Dogs Often Tilt Their Heads

If you’ve ever found yourself having a conversation with a canine companion (and you’re not alone), you’ve probably noticed your little pal tilting his head whenever you spoke to him. I’m willing to bet you did the same thing in return, and might have even replied with a “baroo?” of your own, mocking your pet in a friendly way.

But, it turns out, little Rover tilts his head in a questioning way for a reason that’ll make you think twice before making fun of him – even in a teasingly friendly manner.

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Emotional intelligence

Anyone who’s ever owned a dog knows how smart they are. You can teach them to sit, stay, speak, roll over…really, the amount of tricks a dog can learn is phenomenal. But canines are also incredibly sensitive to the emotional well-being of those around them, regardless of species.

Your dog knows when you’re happy, when you’re sad, when you need company, and when you want to be left alone. You don’t need me to tell you that they share in your joy or misery; the way they react to your physical actions and vocal inflections is evidence enough. Obviously, a huge part of their ability to pick up on these cues is their ability to see the face you’re making, and the actions you’re taking. Therein lies, at least in part, the reason why your little buddy tilts his head whenever you talk to him.

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Nosey Little Boy

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to see the world through the eyes of a dog, you probably just imagined being a bit shorter and crawling on all fours. One thing you likely haven’t taken into consideration is the fact that your face would protrude a bit farther out than it does when you’re in human form. Imagine taping a paper cup to your nose (or actually do it if you’re home alone!), and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how your puppy sees the world.

This was the focus of a study done by Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology who has dedicated his career to enhancing our understanding of what goes on in our canine friends’ heads on a daily basis.

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For his research, Coren surveyed 582 dog owners, asking them to report on the instances of their dog tilting their head in response to verbal cues from humans. The dogs were categorized as having either long or short snouts, with the hypothesis being that the longer-snouted dogs would tilt their head significantly more often than their shorter-snouted buddies.

Some Breed Tilt More

The results were pretty spot on. 71% of people who owned long-snouted dogs, such as collies, reported their pets tilt their head more often than not when they’re being spoken to. Comparatively, 52% of those who own short-snouted dogs, such as pugs, reported the same. Altogether, 62% of all owners answered that they’re canine buddies often tilted their heads in response to verbal cues from themselves or other humans.

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Again, imagine you had a cup taped to the front of your face. You’d probably sacrifice binocular vision if you wanted to get a clear view of whatever object or being is directly in front of you, and would tilt one full eye toward your target, right? It appears that this is exactly the reason dogs tilt their heads when you speak to them.

Enhance Vision and Your Reaction

Coren did note that your dogs’ head-tilting might be a combination of an attempt to enhance vision and the positive reaction they get from you when they do it. Like I said in the intro, I don’t think I’m the only one who imitates my little buddy’s head tilt whenever he does it, and gives him a little more attention for being so cute. Says Coren, “Perhaps the dogs are really just trying to look cute. Nonetheless this study is a first step toward finding the answer (as to why they tilt their heads), and at least we now have a bit of data to work with.”

Featured photo credit: Sonny the Miniature Goldendoodle / Andrea Arden via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

Less is more.

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Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

1. Create Room for What’s Important

When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

2. More Freedom

The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

5. More Peace of Mind

When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

6. More Happiness

When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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7. Less Fear of Failure

When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

8. More Confidence

The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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