- The Daily Wag!
- Can Dogs Hear a Human Heartbeat?
Can Dogs Hear a Human Heartbeat?
Dogs' hearing is significantly better than ours, and they show it in various ways. Perhaps they seem to teleport across the house when you open a bag of chips or pick up their food bowl; maybe they materialize by the front door when you pick up their leash to go for a walk.
Regardless, it may seem as though your dog is psychic in some ways, and knows what you're doing and whether or not it involves something that they like, like scratchies, walks, or food. But that's actually your dog proving to you how good their sense of hearing really is!
And while it's true that many of us owners know that our dog's hearing is pretty good, what you may not know is just how good it is. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that dogs can actually hear our heartbeats, sometimes even from across a room! In truth, dogs' hearing is so much better than ours that they can pick up on tons of things that our ears can't, and that can include human heartbeats.
Signs Your Dog Can Hear Your Heartbeat
While there are some rather specific signs that can intimate that your dog is listening to your heartbeat, there are general behavior traits your dog will exhibit that they may be listening to something that you can't hear. No matter how hard we try, unless we've been bitten by a radioactive spider or dropped in a vat of toxic chemicals, we probably won't develop the superhuman ability to hear a heartbeat across a room. But dogs don't need superhero abilities to do that, or to listen to other things that we can't hear!
Many of the traits that dogs exhibit when they're listening to something may seem strange, especially considering the fact that we don't hear what they do. For example, dogs that are listening intently to something will probably remain relatively still, to reduce any extraneous noise that their own bodies may be making that interrupt their hearing abilities. Similarly, they'll close their mouths to quiet their breathing.
Their eyes will also be open and alert, and may even be staring at something that doesn't make much sense to you, like a wall or the corner of a room. Don't worry - your dog isn't going crazy, they're probably just listening to something you can't hear!
You can also tell if a woofer is listening to something by looking at their ears. Many times, they'll be facing forward (or towards what they're listening to), and may even twitch or swivel around, depending on how flexible and how many muscles your pooch's ears have. They may even tilt their head to one side, or turn it in a direction. This is to better gauge not only what the sound is, but also where it's coming from.
In regards to heartbeats, there are certain things that your pooch may do that show that they're specifically listening to just that. All dogs are different though, so even if your doggo doesn't do any of these things, they may be listening all the same!
For one thing, expectant mothers have told stories about their dogs coming to rest their head against their pregnant bellies. This goes to show that dogs can not only hear our heartbeat but also, a baby's! While there haven't been studies to prove that this is the true reasoning behind it, many mothers swear that their doggos have come up to them and snuggled on their belly, and it's because they know a new baby brother or sister is on the way.
Other owners have told stories of times when their dog has been afraid or sad, and they turned to their human and rested their heads on their chests. Heartbeats can be a very calming noise during times of stress, so it may just be that dogs turn to us for comfort, and listen to our heartbeats to help calm and soothe them.
The History Behind Dogs and Heartbeats
As you may know, the pups we know and love today weren't always domesticated - they actually evolved from wolves thousands of years ago! While dogs are a different species from their distant relatives, they still share many of the same behavior characteristics and abilities that wolves had back in the day, if a little muted or turned down.
One of these abilities is your pooch's sense of hearing. Wolves, even today, have to hunt for their food every day, which include deer, rabbits, and other small rodents. These animals can be extremely quiet, especially if they know a predator is on their trail, trying to make them into their next meal.
As a result, wolves hearing had to evolve to be able to pick those sounds out of the forest, even when its prey didn't want the wolves to hear them. And one of those sounds includes a heartbeat - something that no one can truly control, no matter how quiet you're trying to be!
While our woofers no longer have to hunt for their food, as they can expect a yummy bowl of food from us every morning and evening, they still retain a good sense of hearing from their ancestors. While it may not be as good as wolves since they don't have to use it to rely on survival, it's still good enough to hear our heartbeat from across the room!
The Science Behind a Dog's Hearing
While there aren't studies that specifically show that a dog can hear and listens to our heartbeats, there's a ton of evidence out there to show that it is, at least possible - and there are stories that show that dogs do just that! Our doggo's hearing is so much better than ours - two times better in fact - that they wouldn't have trouble hearing a heartbeat from across the room.
Their frequency range is also higher than ours as well - while we can hear from a range of 20 to 20,000 Hz, dogs can hear from 40 to 60,000. While you may not know what Hz's mean, these studies have basically shown that dogs can not only hear better than we can, but can actually hear noises that our ears aren't even capable of hearing!
Doggo's are also built to hear better than we can as well. While our ears are small and pressed against our heads, a dog's ears are usually much bigger, at least in proportion to their own heads, and usually are more prominent features. Many breeds can also move them independently, meaning that they can more easily pinpoint a sound and figure out where it's coming from before we even hear it.
Training Your Dog to Hear Your Heartbeat
There's not really anything you can do to train your dog to hear your heartbeat - their hearing is so good, that they don't need the training to do it! There are, however, ways to get your dog to at least like hearing your heartbeat, if you want or need that comfort cuddle from your pooch every once and a while.
The best way to train a dog to do anything is through positive reinforcement. So any time your dog lays their head on your chest, make sure to give them a scratch or a treat! They'll begin to associate that behavior with things that they love and do it more often.
Additionally, many believe that a dog will lay their head on an owner's chest for comfort during a stressful time, or just to spend time with their owner. In this case, you just need to make sure that you are a source of comfort for your dog. Spend time with them, so they know that they can depend on you for love whenever they need it. Show them love, and your pooch will be happy to show his or her love in return the best way they know how!
By Katherine McCormick
Published: 04/27/2018, edited: 04/06/2020
More articles by Katherine McCormick