Have you ever been on a long vacation and wondered if your canine companion misses you as much as you miss them? Have you called their ‘sitter’ to check on them and asked to talk via Skype or FaceTime? If you have, you may have been either really excited when your pooch came running at the sound of your voice on the other end of the line, or very disappointed when they showed disinterest.
That leads to the question of whether or not your dog can actually recognize your voice over the phone. It is known that dogs have very sharp senses, but how does that translate over the phone?
Signs of Dogs Recognizing Voice over The Phone
Even though puppies are born deaf and don’t develop hearing until about the fourth week of life, they have a hearing range about twice that of humans. We have a hearing frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz. This is the range of a younger person who has yet to lose any of their hearing range. As we age (along with other factors like listening to loud music, going shooting without ear protection, etc.), that range decreases. Humans can’t hear anything lower than 20 Hz or higher than 20,000 Hz. The actual frequency a single person can hear is unique.
Dogs, on the other hand, have a hearing frequency range of about 40 to 40,000 Hz. Forty thousand Hz consists of higher pitches. Dogs also have 18 ear muscles that allow their ears to maneuver in a way that helps locate the source of a sound. Our canine pals can also hear up to about 4 times the distance that we can as people. What we can hear at 20 feet away, they can hear at 80 feet away.
If a dog’s hearing hasn’t started fading with old age, it is very possible that your doggo will recognize your voice on the other end of a phone. Signs that your best furry buddy recognizes your voice over the phone can vary depending on the pitches that you use and the things you say. Upon hearing your voice, they will most likely become alert. They hear you, but know that you are missing; therefore, they aren’t sure where it is coming from. They may start whining, sniffing, and pacing as well because they cannot seem to locate you through smelling or seeing, yet they can hear your voice, so they are anxious and confused.
History of Dogs Recognizing Voice Over the Phone
Canines’ hearing abilities date back to their evolution from grey wolves, 20,000 years ago. As wild ‘dogs’, wolves depended on their senses for survival. Hearing is one of the sharpest senses a dog has following closely behind their number one sense, smell. Dogs’ ears have evolved to contain extra muscles, allowing them to move in all directions and in turn, pinpoint the exact location a sound is resonating from. This ensured that they stayed away from predators.
As mentioned above, puppies develop this sense early on in life. The frequency of a cell phone falls within a dog’s hearing range at 6,000 to 20,000 Hz. Because a dog links all of its senses together to draw conclusions, hearing your voice over the phone can be very confusing. The dog cannot see or smell you; therefore, he recognizes the voice, yet may not know that it is you because he can’t tie in his other senses. This is why a dog will be completely excited, cock its head, or even disregard the call altogether.
For example, one owner tells her story of how her sister bought a dog and moved out of the house about a year later. Every time her sister calls home, they put the phone on speaker and the dog jumps around and wags its tail with excitement. Another owner, on the other hand, never had any luck getting his dog to alert to his voice when on the phone.
Science of Dogs Recognizing Voice Over the Phone
Pooches have a hearing frequency range of about 40 to 40,000 Hz. This, along with their 18 ear muscles, permits a strong sense of hearing. When someone that they love’s voice comes on the other end of the phone, they are able to hear it up to four times the distance away as we can. That is why they come running with excitement if they alert to your voice. The sound frequency of a cell phone falls between the 6,000-20,000 Hz range. This is smack dab in the center of a dog’s ability to hear.
With that, yes, your dog can hear you. Your dog can also recognize you. The dilemma and debate lies with whether your dog can connect the dots between knowing that you aren’t present, not being able to see you or smell you, yet hearing you without getting too confused. This conclusion is what will lead to his decision to alert.
Can You Train Dogs to Recognizing Voice Over the Phone?
Whether or not a dog recognizes a voice over the phone has to do with their physical makeup. How old are they? Is their hearing fully developed (after 4 weeks of age), are they still in their younger years, how good of a quality is the sound coming from the phone, etc. Even though you can’t train a dog’s genetic makeup and age, you can help reward a dog for alerting when your voice is projected.
Written by Lina Betts
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 06/21/2018, edited: 04/06/2020