Can Dogs Hear Through Walls?

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Introduction

If you've had a dog for any amount of time, it should come as no surprise to you that they have impeccable hearing. How else would they know when you open a bag of treats from across the house? Dogs' ears are equipped to hear about four times better than our ears, and with 16 muscles in each floppy or perky ear, along with a lengthened, specialized ear canal, it's no wonder they have a super-hero-style sense of hearing.

So, it definitely shouldn't be a surprise to you that dogs can hear through - and inside of - the walls in your home. How can you tell if your dog is hearing something in the walls? How can you tell if your dog is hearing something in the next room? We've got all the answers you want in our guide below!

Signs Your Dog is Hearing Something Through the Walls

If you suspect your dog is hearing something on the other side of the wall, or even inside the wall - like bugs, mice, or other pests - they'll certainly be able to give you signs. All you need to do is understand what they mean so you can decode them correctly. 

First, you might notice your dog's ears perk up, wiggle around, and rotate in order to get a better grasp on what they're hearing. They might even employ their nose and begin sniffing so they can get a better sense of what's happening. 

Then, you might notice your dog running around to various spots on the wall to get a better ear on what's going on. You can expect your dog to scratch, whine, and even paw the wall. Your pup might run to the door in interest of being let out to explore what's going on on the other side. 

Your pup might run back and forth repeatedly, circle an area, howl, bark, whine, or even sniff and lick at the walls to get a better idea of what's going on inside or on the other side.

Body Language

Here are some signs to watch for if your dog is hearing things through the wall:
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Scratching
  • Whimpering
  • Head bobbing
  • Wiggling
  • Ears up

Other Signs

There are other signs to watch for, too, like:
  • Pacing
  • Circling
  • Staring at walls
  • Sniffing walls
  • Whimpering
  • Scratching
  • Panting
  • Running

The History Behind Dogs Hearing

If you've ever wondered how dogs' ears have adapted the way they have to make them such quality listeners, you're not alone. People have wondered for ages about how dogs are able to hear things that we never could dream of hearing. The answer: evolution. 

Dogs are ancestors of wolves from thousands and thousands of years prior, and though we've domesticated them and attempted to make them rely on us, some of their features will always stick. When wolves would hunt for food, they'd need their senses to be in tip-top shape; that means that their noses, eyes, and ears, especially, would have to be functioning far better than the average animal. Being able to hear their prey from  a distance helped wolves become better hunters, which is why your pup can hear so well.

Science Behind Your Dog's Ears

Your dog's ears are designed far differently from your own, which, is one of the first explanations of how your dog is able to hear much better than you. For example, human ears, which lay flat against our heads, are not able to pick up on sounds as well as dog ears, which are on top of their heads. Additionally, dog ears are much larger and often, they stick straight up, giving them an entirely different position for sound to come through. 

That being said, dogs have over 16 muscles in each ear, giving them the ability to move their ears, rotate, wiggle, or perk them up a certain way to get a better idea of a sound. Because of this, dogs are able to adjust their ears just as antennae would radar in for honing in on sounds. Dogs also have a much longer, more efficient ear canal, which helps them pick up on sounds from farther away. 

They also have an impressive frequency of range. Whereas humans can only hear from about 20-20,000Hz, dogs can pick up anywhere from 40-60,000Hz, making them much better candidates for high-frequency sounds than humans are. 

Training Your Dog to Signal When They Hear Something

While it's not possible to train your dog to hear better - as you cannot naturally improve the amount of hearing they have (just like people) - you can train your dog to signal to you when he or she hears something specific. Dogs, with their insane ears, can pick up on things that are much farther away than from a distance where your ears could, which is one of the reasons dogs make excellent guards. 

Training your dog to give you a specific signal when they hear something - especially if it's through the wall where you're unable to see it - can solve tons of issues. Not only will it save your walls and doors from being scratched, but it can put you at ease so you know what your dog is getting up to when he or she is trying to alert you to something.

First, we suggest training your dog to follow simple verbal and gesture commands. If your dog understands these commands and understands the process of being rewarded for doing as they're told, the rest of their training is going to be much easier. Then, we suggest practicing with your dog. 

Teach your pup that when they hear something, they're to do a specific command. If you want your dog to bark when a guest arrives at the door, teach them this with consistency, practice, and reward. If you'd prefer your dog alert you in a different way, for example, if you'd like your dog to approach you and nudge your arm when someone is arriving at your door, use rewards, treats, and positive reinforcement to do this, as well as consistent practice. 

How to React if Your Dog is Hearing Something Through the Walls:

  • Don't punish your dog for alerting you to something you might not be able to hear.
  • Listen intently, and if you still can't hear, investigate on your own.
  • Reward your dog if they alert you to something.
  • Try to train your dog to give you appropriate, harmless signals when they hear something you might not.