4 min read


Can Dogs Hear While They are Sniffing?



4 min read


Can Dogs Hear While They are Sniffing?


This may seem exceptionally silly to think about, but that is perfectly okay, because this is also something fun to think about. Dogs are by no means wired the same as humans, so why should we expect them to be able to do everything we can. 

As you imagine dogs and how they sniff, hear or see, there are numerous differences between us and them. So when we think about it, can we really 100% know that dogs are able to do the same things that we are? One thing to think about is when a dog is sniffing, are they able to hear? The obvious answer is yes, of course, but it is still intriguing to look into.


Signs that Dogs Can Hear

Okay, so, as previously mentioned, it seems pretty obvious that dogs would be able to hear while sniffing. That is, indeed, a true fact. Dogs, just like humans in this sense, are able to hear things going on around them even as they sniff about. 

There are not too many signs that will show you if your dog is listening to things as they sniff around, so instead, we will look at the signs that show us how to tell when your pup is actually hearing something. Dogs have such an amazing range when it comes to hearing. That being said, there are some dogs that are born deaf though or gradually become deaf throughout their life. 

When looking for the signs that your dog is able to hear things, just look for these signs. If your dog's ears perk up when a door opens or a car alarm goes off, that is the first good indicator that their hearing works just fine. Their ears may also go down flat if they hear a noise they do not like. When a dog has perfect hearing, they can hear noises from over four times the distance that a human with normal hearing can. They can also hear much higher frequencies than we are capable of.

Body Language

Signs to watch for that indicate your dog is hearing something include:

  • Alert
  • Ears Drop
  • Ears Up

Other Signs

More signs that show your dog is hearing while they sniff are:

  • Excited Behavior
  • Looking Where The Sound Came From
  • Twitching Their Ears

The History Behind a Dog's Senses


So, we have already concluded that dogs are easily able to hear everything around them while they are sniffing around. They may find difficulty paying attention to both things at the same time, but dogs are able to multitask, just like humans. 

When it comes to dogs and their senses, we can look into the past to see how their senses have changed over time. It has been learned that dogs have a sense of smell that is absolutely incredible compared to that of us humans. 

Dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, versus only six million in humans. Olfactory receptors are in our noses and help us to be able to pick up on all of the different smells out there. Since scientists have figured out how well a dogs nose works, humans have trained different types of dogs to use their noses to locate missing items and even missing persons. 

Dogs have been next to humans for so many years now that it is hard to remember that dogs actually came from a lineage of wolves. Wolves used their amazing sense of smell and hearing to hunt and follow scents.

The Science of Dog Senses


As previously mentioned, dogs have been used for their amazing ability to smell and hear things that humans are unable to. Some dog breeds are used primarily for hunting and tracking because of different factors. 

For example, Labrador Retrievers are used to retrieve things, just like their name obviously says. Because they have longer coats and have a happy-go-lucky demeanor they will go fetch just about anything their owner asks of them. 

Other breeds used for these types of tasks are Bloodhounds, Beagles, and Pointers. These dog breeds each have their own unique things to offer when it comes to their sense of smell and hearing.

A dog's brain is able to do more than one thing at once, and because of their keen senses, it seems safe to assume that they can sniff and hear all at the same time - even if they ignore your calls to "come" while they are sniffing some stinky garbage!

Training Your Dog to Fully Use Their Senses


Like we have already learned, dogs are very much capable of hearing while they use their noses to sniff things out. Dogs are incredibly smart creatures and although some breeds may take longer to train than others, it is always worth training your pup to use their senses in the best way possible. 

Since they already have the ability to smell and hear, there is nothing you can do to train your dog to become better at these tasks. What you can do is train your dog to react to certain noises in different ways, or you can train them to react to certain smells. 

Training your dog to react to different noises is actually a good way to train them on different behaviors. One such thing you can do is use a clicker. A clicker is a common item used for training your dog that emits a clicking noise (shocker) that your dog will hear and react to. What you can do with this item is train your dog to do different tricks or just use it to make them follow basic commands, like "sit", "stay", or "rollover". 

Dogs have good instincts when it comes to different smells. Since dogs do not have the best vision, they have to use their sense of smell to distinguish one thing from another. They already have a great start when it comes to using their sniffer, but you actually can use that to your advantage. Some people have been known to train their dogs to alert them when they smell something bad. 

For example, someone with allergies can train their dog to react visibly when they smell that item nearby. This is used in a lot of service dogs to help keep their owners safe. So, while there is no one way to train a dog on either of these things, it is doable and dogs love to learn. 

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Safely Reacting to Your Dog's Senses:

  1. You need to keep an eye on your dog, especially if they are near something new to them. They could react badly to a sound or a scent.
  2. Dogs are much more sensitive to certain smells and noises than we are, so we need to be considerate when we are training them with these things. They may not like a certain noise that you use, so you will need to rethink your methods if this is the case.

Written by a Keeshond lover Molly Martin

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/18/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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