You might wonder what puppies are like when they are born. How do they get ready to be pooches that explore and play all day? When a new puppy is born, they are so small and so cute, and they have so much growing to do! Can your dog hear your voice as soon as they are born? Even though you talk to them all the time, how can you tell if your dog can hear you?
Puppies make little squeaks and noises. Can they hear each other? They develop into dogs in a process that takes place throughout their lives. So, can dogs hear when they are born?
Signs That a Dog is Able to Hear
The gestation period of a dog is 58-68 days. That's a pretty short amount of time! This is because the mother has evolved to get back to the wild to hunt. So, puppies have some more developing to do once they are born.
For the first 2-3 weeks of their lives, dogs cannot hear. You'll notice that your dog has started hearing you when they begin responding to noises you make. If your dog begins noticing the noises around them, they will begin looking in the direction of the noise. If one of their brothers or sisters makes a noise, the new puppy might engage with that puppy and start playing.
You'll notice whether your dog can hear you if you can to get their attention with your voice from across the room. Your dog will begin using their many ear muscles to position their ears in the direction of the sound they hear.
Within the first months of a puppy's life, their hearing is fully developed and they are able to hear up to four times the distance that humans can hear.
In order to show you that they are hearing something, your dog will respond differently depending on breed and personality. If they hear a particularly interesting noise, your dog will jump up, run in circles, and do different things to get your attention.
The History of Dog Hearing
The ancestors of dogs are wolves. These sweet, furry, four-legged friends are descendants of the wolves that were domesticated by humans over 15,000 years ago. In order to help each other progress, wolves and humans partnered up. They helped each other hunt and gave each other the protection needed to weather the storms of the wild.
Wolves can actually hear better than dogs. Dogs make up for this sense with their sense of smell and incredible ability to read body language. However, dogs do use their hearing to help them in great ways. Dogs can determine a person's mood based on their tone of voice. Dogs also use their hearing to detect noises that humans cannot detect.
Though their ability to hear is not as strong as that of a wolf, dogs can still hear a wider range of frequencies than humans can. Dogs have 18 muscles in their ears that they use to assist them in detecting threats. They also take advantage of their ability to hear by alerting you of the mail carrier's arrival.
In order to better serve the humans they love so much, dogs use their senses to predict and accommodate each situation that they are in.
The Science of Dogs' Hearing
The 18 amazing muscles in a dog's ears are noticeable when your dog adjusts all of the positions of their ears. This helps your dog tell which direction each noise is coming from. That way, they can react according to the situation and the noise they hear.
While most dogs have a similar level of hearing, some can hear better than others based on the shape of their ears. For example, dogs with floppy ears don't always hear as well as dogs with upright ears. Regardless, dogs can still hear to a much wider extent than humans.
Dogs can hear a wider range of frequencies than humans. Humans can hear from 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz. Dogs, on the other hand, can hear between 67 hertz to 45,000 hertz. They can also hear from further distances from humans.
Training a Dog to Have a Stronger Hearing Ability
The best way to train your dog to understand more sounds is by exposing them to many different things. While your dog goes to new places and experiences new adventures, he is taking in everything along the way. Dogs are very observant and intuitive animals.
For example, when your dog hears the treat container jingling, they come running. That's because your dog has made an association between that noise and getting a treat. You can use this information to train your dog to respond to sound cues.
You can use clapping patterns, clicks, or snaps to signal different commands to your dog. Some people also take advantage of the high frequency that dogs can hear by using a dog whistle. This produces a sound that humans can't hear but dogs can hear.
Dogs can also respond very well to your tone of voice. They use their ability to determine your mood by observing how you speak. When you are sad, your dog will hear your tone of voice and react accordingly, usually moving to comfort you. You may notice that when you speak in a high-pitched and happy voice, your dog gets just as excited as you sound.
You can use your positive tone of voice and nice words to positively reinforce your dog's behavior. When your dog obeys a command, you can reward that behavior with positive praise. Treats are great for dogs who are treat-motivated. However, be sure to replace some of those treats with positive praise.
If you only give your dog treats, they may stop following your commands when they are not hungry. So, using your dog's hearing ability to show them you are happy is a great way to encourage good behavior.
By a Corgi lover Simone DeAngelis
Published: 03/04/2018, edited: 04/06/2020