If you were around in the early 2000s, you might remember a high pitched ringtone that you could supposedly only hear if you were under 20. It was because it was such a high pitch that only younger ears could pick it up. As the years have gone by, you probably can’t hear that ringtone anymore, but someone might still be able to - your dog!
That’s right, dogs have extremely good hearing that has assisted them with everything from hunting to sensing danger for thousands of years.
Signs Your Dog Might Be Hearing Something You Don't
So, is there a way that you can tell when your dog is hearing something you aren’t? Yes! A few signs you might notice include your dog being extremely alert, raising their ears, stiffening their tail, and appearing to be listening to something, they hear something in the distance, and it might be important to take note.
Dogs can hear much higher frequencies of sound. That is often the reason that your pooch hates the sound of the vacuum, or why dogs respond to dog whistles. That also can explain the reason why your pupper may sometimes freeze while you are outside. Even though you haven't heard anything, your pooch's far superior ears may have picked up some high-frequency noises and they may be enticed to check it out.
If you happen to be walking your dogs when they hear something in the distance, and you have them on a leash, hold on and be prepared. Dogs love to chase after new sounds that might be an animal. If your dog isn’t on a leash and hears a noise, you might want to grab on to their harness or collar, or you might lose track of them.
History of Dogs Hearing High Frequencies
It’s not really your dog’s fault if they run off after a noise you may not hear. Historically speaking, it’s no secret that dogs have good hearing - much better than humans, in fact. They’ve been using this along with their keen sense of smell for hunting for thousands of years. So, if they hear a noise (no matter the frequency of the noise), they may just be following their instincts and trying to catch an animal.
On the other side of that, a dog’s hearing is so good that noises from things like fireworks may upset them and even cause them to run away. In fact, according to a Huffington Post article from 2015, many dogs run away on the Fourth of July because they are so afraid of the noises from the fireworks. So, while dogs' hearing can be a great thing, it can also be extremely hard on them as well.
Science Behind Dogs Hearing High Frequencies
According to dogcare.com, dogs can hear between 67-45,000 Hz, and as humans, we can only hear between 64-23,000 Hz. So, dogs have a much stronger sense of hearing, and they can also hear much higher frequencies. With great hearing, comes great responsibility, though it’s important to remember, while dogs can hear higher frequencies, these higher frequencies can also hurt their hearing. So, be mindful, and if your dog feels uncomfortable, you might need to move them to another location.
It is also important to note that dogs do not have the widest range when it comes to hearing frequencies. The dog-loving website also notes that bats and whales actually have much higher ranges.
Training Your Dog To Listen to You Even When They Hear a New Noise
While you can’t train your dog to improve their hearing, there are some things you can teach them to do so they don’t chase after sounds. First and foremost, it’s important to make sure your dog respects and listens to your commands. So, if they hear a noise, you can tell him or her to stay, and they will not run off.
Another thing you can do is keep your dog on a leash when you’re out walking with them. Since you can’t predict when your dog might hear a sound, keeping them on a leash is a great alternative to having them run off and get lost or hurt. If all else fails, though, keep a few of your dog’s favorite treats in your pocket. There are few things that can’t be solved by saying the magic word “treat” to your dog.
Of course, if you want to train your dog to chase after sounds for hunting or other purposes, it might be a good idea to speak with an experienced hunter or dog trainer.
It’s important to note a few safety tips to keep during holidays where dogs might experience loud noises, such as the Fourth of July. If you know there will be loud noises around your home, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before the festivities begin. Establish a comfortable spot away from the noise where your dog can relax.
It’s also important for you to be calm because if your dog sees that you’re calm, it may help to keep them calm as well. Some dog owners even go as far as buying special dog treats that are supposed to keep dogs calm in stressful situations. The jury is still out how well the treats work, but be sure to check with your vet before trying this option. However, the most important thing to do is to make sure your dog is secured in your home. If a dog becomes frightened, they might run away and get lost or hurt.
By Katie Anderson
Published: 04/01/2018, edited: 04/06/2020