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Why Do German Shepherds Turn Their Heads?

A GSD often turns or tilts its head. People find it cute but there are some reasons behind it, like to focus on sound location or to get owner’s attention.

A German Shepherd is a cute looking fellow that can be your best companion and fun partner. It is a loyal, obedient, and friendly dog and people like to keep a German Shepherd as a pet. Apart from being loyal and obedient, A German Shepherd has some actions and gestures that make it even cuter. One of those actions is turning heads.

German Shepherd Turning Heads

German Shepherd Turning Head

People often wonder why does a German Shepherd turn its head? There is no need to get worried about it. Usually, a German Shepherd turns its head when you talk to him, or if he thinks he has heard a strange noise, or just before barking, they turn or tilt their heads. This turning or tilting of head is one of the cutest characteristics of a German Shepherd that makes them look adorable and you may want to hug your dog instantly.

Other Reasons For GSD Head Turning:

The erect ears with a turned or tilted head make a German Shepherd look cute and innocent.

Apart from looking cute, there can be some other reasons that reinforce the German Shepherds to turn their heads.

To recognize the sound

If a German Shepherd hears a sound or noise and can’t recognize it, it turns its head in a try to tune the sound. It is the same as we tune the radio to catch the signals. Once the German Shepherd recognizes the sound, it decides immediately if the sound is a threat to him or the owner. If the sound is normal, the German Shepherd remains calm and if the sound is a threat, their protective nature activates, and it starts barking.

To make the owner happy

German Shepherds are very sharp and intelligent dogs. That is why they are trained as police dogs. They know exactly what makes their owner happy. If they get to know that the turning or tilting of head pleases their owner, they will start turning and tilting now and then to make you feel good about them.

To focus the sound location

Humans have the ability that they can hear sound regardless of the direction. They can hear the sound coming from the front, back, right, or left. They don’t need to turn to listen to the sound. This is not the case with German Shepherds. They have ear flaps that cover the ear canal partially from the back and work as a barrier for sound. So, to capture and hear the sound coming from the back, a German Shepherd has to turn and adjust his head to focus on the location of the sound.

To grab the attention

German Shepherds love to seek the attention of their owners. They love it when their owner taps them on the back or laugh at any of their gesture. So, whenever they want to grab the attention of their owner, they turn their head to look cute and admirable and want their owner to tap them with love.

To tell that they are listening

As human beings, we make use of words to communicate, but the dogs take the help of barking or using body language to communicate with their owner or with other animals.

For example, a tail wig tells that the dog is happy, baring teeth says the dog is angry, barking says that the dog needs attention or is pointing to something and the head-turning says that the dog is listening to what you are saying and will act upon it as sooner as he recognizes the command. A German Shepherd is all ears and listens to the owner very attentively. Head tilting is a cute gesture of a German Shepherd telling that he is listening very carefully.

To have a clear image

Some studies say that when a German Shepherd turns its head, it means that it wants to have a clear image of something. The face of the German Shepherd is at such an angle that its long muzzle can block the visual for the dog. So the German Shepherd has to turn or tilt its head to get a clear view.

It can also turn its head to see the owners face clearly and want to understand the facial expressions, eye and lips movements, and body language of its owner.

Due to Ear problems

Turning heads can also be caused due to some hearing problems. The external ears of a German Shepherd can be easily infected by the bacteria causing pain and itching. A German Shepherd may respond to this pain and itching by turning its head.

The middle ear that is controlled by the brain is also very sensitive and it can get infected due to some neurological abnormality.

If your dog is turning head abnormally and frequently, it might need to have a checkup from the veteran. There might be an ear infection or parasite that can be detected only by the professional veteran. You may use our recommended dog ear cleaner product – Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner.

A Developed habit

Sometimes, head-turning is nothing but a developed habit. They just get used to tilting and turning their head without any reason. They unconsciously turn and tilt their heads and amuse their owners.

Strong Senses of a German Shepherd

A dog has been blessed with so many things that one can only think of. A German Shepherd has quite sharp senses of smell and hearing. It can smell or hear things from very far places and can track and detect those things easily.

For smelling things, it sniffs and sniffs and reaches the spot from where the smell was coming. For hearing, its ears work as a radar. With the help of these gigantic radar receptors, it can hear even a pin dropped at a distance of miles away.

German Shepherds have very strong auditory senses and can hear the sounds that cannot be heard by a human ear. The sound range of a dog is much higher as compared to a human being.[/box]

Should we encourage this Gesture?

We have learned that there are so many reasons behind the head-turning and tilting of a German Shepherd but the most common reason is that a German Shepherd looks cute and we humans encourage it. When we find that a German Shepherd looks cute when it turns or tilts its head, we unconsciously feel good, smile, tap the dog with love and become affectionate towards it. This reaction of humans encourages the dogs to show this gesture often, without any reason.

In other words, our positive response reinforces the head tilt gesture and encourages the German Shepherds to repeat this act often.

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Nathan Carlton

Nathan Carlton is an executive editor at PetsBeast.com. He is an avid dog lover and holds a degree in "Holistic Health & Puppy Care" from The British College of Canine Studies. He has been parenting dogs since age 10, when he developed a strong bond with his father's Bull Dog. Today, he has a German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever, who he calls Joani and Saga, respectively.
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