Video messaging is the way of the future. With the invention of webcams, humans have been given some great tools to talk face to face without being in the same room, city, or even country. FaceTime, MarcoPolo, and Skype are all great examples of this.
They are all wonderful ways to keep in touch with family and friends while you're away from home. Sometimes a quick video chat can give you the boost you need to get through the day. What if you wanted to Skype your dog, though? Will they understand or even be able to hear you over Skype?
The answer is yes, but sometimes it may not seem like your pooch knows you at all if you Skype them while you're away. Why? Let's dive in.
Signs Your Dog Can or Can't Hear You Over Skype
For starters, let's look at the signs you might notice if your pooch does recognize you on Skype. They'll probably hear your voice and they'll stop what they're doing to listen to you. Their ears might go up, and their tail might start wagging and they might even jump up or bark if they are excited enough.
The bonds dogs share with their pet parents can be very strong, so recognizing your voice might be enough for them. However, if they don't seem to recognize you, don't take it personally. They might hear you, but since your smell isn't there, they might not think it's actually you.
So, what will your dog do if they don't recognize you over Skype? They'll start off probably by sniffing the air, maybe looking at you and listening for a few minutes, and then walking away like you're a boring rerun of a TV show they don't like. Again, don't take it personally. If a dog can't smell you, it's likely they don't think you're actually there. Since you can't smell through Skype, there's nothing you can do about this.
- Jumping up
- Wag tail
- Ears up
- Sniffing the air
- Showing little excitement
- Walking away
History of Dogs and Skype
Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. They are from Sweden and Denmark. They created Skype as a free call service that is also a video chat and instant messaging service, too. They sold Skype several years ago for $8.5 billion dollars to Microsoft. Since Skype only came around in the last 15-ish years, there isn't a ton of history on Skype and dogs. However, most likely, dogs can hear it, it just may not seem like it.
One dog owner talked about video chatting her pooch from school. She was over 700 miles away and missed him. Her parents put the phone down to her pooch so he could listen and interact with his human, but to everyone's surprise, he looked at her, sniffed the phone, and promptly walked off. The dog owner felt a bit dejected and like her dog didn't remember her, but that isn't always the case in these situations and the answer lies with the science behind how dogs perceive things.
Science Behind Dogs and Skype
There is some research that suggests that a dog uses their sense of smell much like humans use their sense of sight. So, if a dog can hear something familiar, but there is no smell associated with it, they'll carry on like it's business as usual.
A dog can hear sounds that are between 67-45,000 Hz. So, they can definitely hear you over Skype. However if they can't smell you, they might figure it's not actually you. Dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors, which give them an amazing sense of smell, but it's not so good that they can smell you through the phone or computer, unfortunately.
Training Your Dog to Hear You Over Skype
So, can you train your dog to hear you through Skype? Nope! They can hear you already. It's hard to communicate to them that it is you over the phone without your smell there. It would be interesting to experiment and send an item of clothing with your scent on it to have there when you Skype your pup to see if it helps. That's just speculation, though.
There are several things you can buy online that might help, however. Several companies make video cameras that have a screen that you can mount in your wall, close to the ground so your pooch can walk over and see and hear you talking. You can also dispense treats to them through some of these machines. That's positive reinforcement and might help train your pup to at least interact with you over a camera. Again, that’s all speculation, though.
So, can dogs hear you over Skype? Yes! They just may not recognize you without your scent.
How to React to Your Dog not Knowing it's You on Skype:
Do not take it personally. Dogs "see" with their noses!
Try having family members bring over something that smells like you for the call.
Try a treat-delivering video caller.