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#1
Old 05-26-2006, 11:42 AM
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Why do dogs shake their heads?

When my dog gets up to move around after lying down for a while, he shakes his head. Other dogs exhibit the same behavior. Other mammals, including humans, do not exibit this behavior. There must be some biological reason for this. Perhaps it expells insects or ear wax. Does anyone know what advantage the head shake bestows on the dog?

Thanks,
Blind_Stevie
#2
Old 05-26-2006, 05:34 PM
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Good question, I await the definitive answer. I always thought it was because they liked the sound of their ears flapping.
#3
Old 05-26-2006, 07:19 PM
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Are you watching a full body shake, which starts at the head?
#4
Old 05-26-2006, 07:40 PM
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If they shake their heads a lot, it's an ear infection. You probably will also notice their ears looking dirty. I know because I've seen it in 3 dogs.

A shake now and then is OK if their ears are clean.
#5
Old 05-26-2006, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltfire
Are you watching a full body shake, which starts at the head?
Oh man, I'd love to be able to do that. It's now on my wish list.

I agree that It is often a sign of ear infection. One of our dogs just had one. If it's not that often, I think it may just be to fix an ear that is a little scritchy or is getting tickled by some hair.
#6
Old 05-27-2006, 02:43 PM
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Another problem might be ear mites. Hard to see but fairly easy to cure.
#7
Old 05-27-2006, 02:47 PM
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Another reason dogs shake thier heads is to fix thier fur. After sleeping for a while, the fur on their heads is misaligned. Shaking their heads is a way of straightening thier fur out.
#8
Old 05-28-2006, 04:40 AM
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Because dogs can't look up.
#9
Old 05-28-2006, 11:06 AM
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Because dogs mostly live with humans, whom, try as dogs might, they will never quite figure out.
#10
Old 05-28-2006, 04:36 PM
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Does he have big floppy ears? Maybe he has dead-ear. When I wake up after sleeping on my arm I shake it around to get the blood-flow and nerves woken up.
#11
Old 05-28-2006, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfman
Does he have big floppy ears? Maybe he has dead-ear. When I wake up after sleeping on my arm I shake it around to get the blood-flow and nerves woken up.
..And you have big floppy ears?
#12
Old 05-28-2006, 08:37 PM
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I have a dog and have had dogs all my life - the only time I have noticed them shaking their ears is if they have an infection, when they also try to scratch at them with their back feet or have water in them or have ear mites as others have already pointed out or are shaking their whole bodies starting with their heads.
Interesting point about the dead-ear syndrome - have never had a dog with very big floppy ears, but I wouldn't think that they would get numb like a human arm.
#13
Old 05-28-2006, 10:18 PM
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Why's everybody acting like it must be some terrible disease? I'm in consistent contact with three dogs (one my own), and they've all done the head-shaking thing their whole life. I doubt they've all got permanent ear infections.

So, anyone know the real "normal" purpose of this? I figure it's just to wake them up - anyone remember the scene in "Turner & Hooch" when Tom Hanks tries it?
#14
Old 05-28-2006, 10:26 PM
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Dogs shake their heads because they don't have a pinkie finger to stick in their ear and jiggle around when their ear itches. (Be it an infection-based itch, or a more benign one.)
#15
Old 05-28-2006, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happywaffle
Why's everybody acting like it must be some terrible disease? I'm in consistent contact with three dogs (one my own), and they've all done the head-shaking thing their whole life. I doubt they've all got permanent ear infections.

So, anyone know the real "normal" purpose of this? I figure it's just to wake them up - anyone remember the scene in "Turner & Hooch" when Tom Hanks tries it?
Mites and many minor infections aren't "terrible diseases" in my book - they may lead to worse conditions if not treated, but not always.
I really don't think dogs shakes their heads for any other purposes than the ones already mentioned.
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