4 min read


Can Dogs Hear Cell Phones?



4 min read


Can Dogs Hear Cell Phones?


No one goes anywhere without their phone these days, and if you happen to forget your phone somewhere, you go back and get it. It's that important to a lot of people. One of the main things that makes a cell phone so great is its ability to make noise. It can do everything from helping you talk to your mom who lives on the other side of the country, to playing music, to playing different tones depending on who's calling.

All of these noises can get a little distracting from time to time, but sometimes, we don't hear our phone and miss something. Wouldn't it be great if you never missed a call or notification again? To have that kind of hearing would be something, wouldn't it? Well, guess what? Someone already does - your dog!


Signs Your Dog Might Hear Something

So what sorts of things will your dog do if they hear a cell phone or other noise? You might notice them putting their ears up and being very, very alert. Dogs are known for being able to hear things that humans can't hear, and they'll often concentrate on the sound. You also might notice your pup barking or whining if they hear something. Dogs are also known for being very protective. So, if they do hear something, they might try to warn or protect you from the noise.

A cell phone, hopefully, won’t be a super-foreign noise to your dog if they have been around you and the phone for a long time. However, if it or another sound startles them, you might notice a few things. They might become distracted from what they were doing, jump up, howl, growl, or even run away. 

If they're scared by your phone or another noise, it’s important to let your dog know there’s nothing to be afraid of, or maybe just change your ringtone. You want them to feel comfortable too.

Body Language

Here are some signs you might notice if your dog hears your cell phone or another noise:

  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Whining
  • Ears Up

Other Signs

Signs you might notice if your dog is scared of a noise include:

  • Becoming Distracted
  • Jumping To Their Feet
  • Running Away

History of Dogs and Cell Phones


Historically, mobile versions of phones were originally used for military purposes. Eventually, phones ended up in cars, but the system for making calls wasn’t great. 

In 1989, Motorola came out with a mobile phone, changing the cell phone game forever. Different models of the phone began to come out over the years until they became more popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. 

In 2007, Apple released the iPhone, making the smartphone the must-have gadget of the future. Since then, smartphones have been king, and everyone is very attached to them. Dogs haven’t been taught to use cell phones, so there’s not much history on dogs and cell phones. However, there is no doubt your pooch can hear your phone.

Something interesting to note is that hearing your phone isn’t everything to a dog. Since the smartphone has evolved, video chatting has become a big deal. A former dog owner talked about her mom video chatting her while she was away at college, and her mother would sometimes put the family dog on camera. 

The dog would hear his owner’s voice over the phone and sniff at the phone to see if it was her. However, he didn’t show much interest in the phone even though he could see and hear her. It seemed that he’d look excited and then walk away from the phone when he didn’t smell her.

Science Behind Dogs' Senses of Hearing and Smell


This brings up an interesting point. It seems like dogs use their senses of hearing and smell to deduce things about the world around them at the same time. Though, there isn’t a lot of research about dogs using these senses together. However, we do know that dogs can hear way better than humans. 

According to puppies actually, don’t hear until they are 21 days old. However, once they can hear, they can hear “four times the distance”  of humans. They can also hear much higher frequencies than humans. 

Your pup’s sense of smell is also much better than a human’s too. In fact, claims that most dogs actually interpret the world by smell a lot like humans use their sight. So, we can probably guess that even though a dog can hear a cell phone, they might not understand the purpose of it since a cell phone doesn’t offer smells to go along with the sounds it makes.

Training Your Dog to Use a Cell Phone


As far as training your dog to use a cell phone, that would be pretty spectacular. However, since dogs can’t speak with us verbally, it probably wouldn’t be much help anyway. As smartphone evolve, it would be interesting to see if someday we can experience smell and or touch through our phones. Maybe then a dog might love video chatting their owner.

So, the easy answer is yes. Dogs can probably hear cell phones, but the cell phone may not make much sense to them without being able to smell what’s going on.

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By Katie Anderson

Published: 04/20/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

Wag! Specialist
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