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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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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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