Can Dogs Hear More than Humans?

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Introduction

Dogs and humans have such a unique bond. The friendship between a dog and his owner is something that cannot be replaced by any other joy in the world. Even though we help our dogs, it can often seem like they help us even more. Dogs have a natural feeling of protection for their humans. 

They use some of their powerful senses to be of the most service to the humans they love so much. Sometimes they may start barking at something you don't even know is there. How can your dog tell that something is approaching? Can he hear something you don't? Can dogs hear better than humans? 

Signs that a Dog is Hearing Better than His Human

Dogs have a great hearing ability. They have much stronger hearing abilities than humans. A dog's strongest sense is their sense of smell. However, their sense of hearing is a very close second. Dogs are amazing at pinpointing noises and then telling exactly where they are coming from. There are a few select signs you will notice when your dog is hearing something that you may not be picking up on. 

When your dog hears something, the first thing he does is predict whether that noise is a threat or not. Some dogs get confused and have a hard time telling what is a threat. They can be trained to recognize which sounds are safe and which are not. 

If your dog hears a threat, you will notice him trying to get your attention by jumping up, barking, or nudging. This is your dog preparing to defend you and stand his ground. If your dog hears something fun, he will relax and get into a more playful or excited mood. 

You can always tell when a dog is hearing something if you look at his ears. Dogs have noticeably expressive ears. When you see a dog's ears, you can learn a lot about his mood and state of mind. When your dog hears something that catches his attention, you will notice a lot of activity in his ears. 

Your dog will begin moving his ears to better position himself towards the sound. This will help your dog deduce whether the sound is a threat. 

Body Language

Here are some signs you might notice if your dog is hearing something that you do not:
  • Barking
  • Listening
  • Raise ears
  • Ears up

Other Signs

These are some other signs that your dog is hearing something that you cannot:
  • Trying to Escape
  • Going Towards the Sound
  • Standing in Front of You, Ready to Protect
  • Walking in a Circle Around You

History of a Dogs Sense of Hearing

It was thousands upon thousands of years ago. The world was wild and unpredictable. The nights were cold and uncertain. It was every species for himself. The first animals that were ever domesticated were wolves that evolved into the dogs we know and love today. 

This unique and unexpected partnership was born out of a mutual need. Wolves needed food and shelter while humans needed help hunting and protection for their tribe. The pair realized they were a match made in heaven. That's where the story begins. 

Over time, the wolves that got closer to humans began looking different than the wolves that did not get close to humans. The closer to humans the dogs were, the more likely they were to breed and receive food and shelter. So, dogs learned to pick up on a number of human signals. They also kept some qualities from their wolf ancestors.

One of these qualities they retained over years of evolution is their sense of hearing. Dogs are able to hear expertly well. They can hear much better than humans can. Dogs can hear at a wider range of frequencies than humans, which helps them detect oncoming threats or opportunities. 

The Science Behind a Dog's Sense of Hearing

There are a number of mechanisms at work when a dog is taking in all of the sounds he hears on a second-to-second basis. The most noticeable thing about a dog's hearing is his ability to adjust the focus of his ears. Dogs have 18 muscles in their ears. These muscles work together to pinpoint specific sounds and choose them out of less important sounds. 

Dogs can hear at incredible frequencies. Dogs can hear from 67 hertz to 45,000 hertz. This is staggering in comparison to a human's frequency range. Humans can hear from 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz. This means that dogs can hear much higher pitched sounds than humans can. 

Humans can hear from some far distances, depending on their surroundings. However, dogs can hear four times as far away as humans can. That's why you might notice that your dog knows the delivery truck is coming way before you do. 

Training a Dog to Respond to Sound Cues

There are numerous benefits to training your dog. A well-trained dog is a happy dog. Believe it or not, dogs like structure. They feel safer when they know the rules and they know how to behave. So, it's actually really good to train your dog even though they may seem resistant at first. 

Training your dog increases his intellectual abilities. A training session is like a little bit of brain exercise for your pup. It can also improve your relationship with your pooch. When you are in a training routine, there is designated time where you and your dog are just spending quality time together. And there's nothing your dog will love more than some extra time with you.

You can train your dog to respond to a variety of different stimuli. For example, you can train your dog to respond and get quiet when you turn off the lights. With the snap of your fingers, your dog sits. When you give your dog a certain, annoyed-looking face, he gets off the couch. All of these cues help your dog know you and respond to you effectively. 

You can also train your dog to respond to sound signals. You can use a dog whistle to communicate with your dog by putting out a sound at a higher frequency. Dog whistles produce a sound that dogs can hear but humans cannot. You can begin by blowing the whistle and showing your dog what you want the behavior to be. 

As you practice, give your dog a treat or praise when he successfully completes a task. If your dog is not treat-motivated, doing an activity he enjoys is a good reward for good behavior. Some dogs who don't seem to like treats may just need to try a new brand. 

How to React when Your Dog Responds to Sound

  • See what has caught their attention.
  • Give belly rubs or praise if they're responding to a sound cue from you.
  • Don't disregard your dog's alertness.