4 min read


Can Dogs Hear a Mile Away?



4 min read


Can Dogs Hear a Mile Away?


Dogs are truly amazing animals with keen intuitions. Some say they have a sixth sense because of their amazing ability to detect things that humans cannot. They use their strong senses to pick up on new information. Dogs can sense countless amazing things and they often use their senses for good. But how do they use their hearing? 

Does your dog ever seem to bark for no reason, but moments later a delivery van drives up? Just how far can dogs hear? Can dogs hear from a mile away?

Signs That a Dog is Hearing Something From a Mile Away

There are many signs that indicate that a dog is hearing something that is far away. Because you are not able to hear in the same way as your dog, you are not able to hear sounds that are obvious to dogs. So, how can you tell when your dog is hearing something from far away? 

You can be certain whether your dog is hearing something or not depending on the position of his ears. Though dogs may have many different reactions to different sounds, their ears always have some sort of reaction. Dogs use their ears to help pick up on new stimulus. They can adjust the position of their ears or perk them up. You'll know your dog is hearing something when their ears are perked. 

You can also tell if your dog is hearing something from far away by observing their body language. Depending on the sound, your dog will have different reactions. Some breeds may jump up or bark to try to get your attention in order to alert you of a suspected intruder. Many puppies react to sounds from far away in fear by running to their owners for protection. 

Some dogs are not so reactive to sounds. They may notice a sound and decide that it is not significant. In these cases, you may notice their ears perk up momentarily before returning to their relaxed state. 

Body Language

Here are some signs you might notice when your dog is hearing something from a mile away:

  • Alert
  • Guarding
  • Listening
  • Panting
  • Jumping Up
  • Raise Ears

Other Signs

These are some other signs you may notice if your dog is hearing something from a mile away:

  • Trying To Get Your Attention
  • Running To The Window
  • Trying To Escape
  • Looking In The Direction Of The Sound

The History of Dogs' Sense of Hearing


The dogs we know, love, and cuddle with today once looked and acted quite different. In fact, the original ancestors of dogs are wolves. Originally, man and wolf roamed the wild separately. Over time, both parties realized they could both benefit from a friendship. Wolves helped humans hunt and they helped protect the community. Humans fed the wolves their leftover food and gave them shelter. 

Over time, wolves began looking more like dogs. The relationship between wolf and man grew stronger. Over thousands of years of evolution, countless breeds of dogs have made up an entirely new species. 

Though wolves and dogs are entirely different creatures, they share many traits. The qualities that helped wolves progress remained as they grew into loving and helpful dogs. 

Wolves have a very keen sense of hearing, this is something that dogs have retained over time. Though wolves today have a better sense of hearing than dogs, dogs can hear up to four times the distance of humans. Their ability to hear helps them in their socialization. They are able to pick up on new sounds and develop their hearing based on the stimulus around them. 

Dogs that have perked ears naturally, usually have better hearing than dogs with floppy ears. Dogs use the 18 muscles in their ears to move them around in the direction of sounds. 

The Science of Dogs' Hearing


The 18 muscles in a dog's ear play a critical role in many of a dog's abilities. Their ears help them balance, but they also help them express emotions. The position of a dog's ears can tell you a lot about what he is thinking. And of course, dogs have an extensive range of hearing. 

For the first 21 days of their life, dogs cannot hear. They are developing their hearing based on the sounds they hear around them. Once a dog's hearing is fully developed, he can hear much better than humans can. 

High pitched noises that humans cannot pick up on are clear to dogs. Some dog owners and trainers take advantage of this by using a dog whistle that only dogs can hear. 

Dogs can also discriminate between sounds very well. When your dog hears the sound of his treats rattling, he will immediately perk up and come to you. When he hears a sound outside that he doesn't care about, he will have a small (if any) reaction. 

Training a Dog to Hear Better


Training a dog helps him develop in many ways. Pooches are intellectually stimulated while learning new tricks. They are also able to get to know you in new ways while you are training them, because they are learning what you need and when you might need it. 

You can train your dog to hear specific things and react accordingly. Your dog gets so excited when they hear you get the food out because they immediately associates that sound with something delicious. 

The best way to train your dog to learn new things is by praising them. Punishment is not as effective as you might think. It can actually have the opposite results because your dog will be nervous instead of excited to follow your commands. 

So, when you are training your dog to respond to different sounds, be sure to give them positive praise in a happy tone. This lets your dog know that there is a good outcome when they have the correct reaction, which will make them want to continue listening to you. Inadvertently, you are training your dog by taking advantage of his ability to hear. Your positive tone is a nice sound, which tells him that you like the behavior. 

You also can use sound to train your dog. For example, you can shake a bottle of marbles when your dog barks. This sounds will be unpleasant, which will cause him to stop barking. This will show him that barking leads to a terrible sound. This is one way to reinforce behavior without having to directly punish your dog. 

You can train your dog to react to many different sounds that can help you be aware of what might be coming. For example, some dogs can be specially trained to hear specific types of cars. That way, when a specific type of car approaches (such as a delivery truck), your dog will alert you and you'll know you're about to get some mail. 

Have questions or concerns about your pet?

Chat with a veterinary professional in the Wag! app 24/7.

Get Vet Chat

Written by a Corgi lover Simone DeAngelis

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 02/23/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

Wag! Specialist
Need to upgrade your pet's leash?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews


© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.