Have you ever experienced your dog’s frantic excitement for a visitor preceding the ringing of the doorbell? Their ability to sense food is on its way, even when they’re on the other side of the house? Dog’s have amazingly sensitive hearing and smell that allows them to pick up on parts of the world that seem superhuman.
While a keen sense of smell has many apparent uses, their sense of hearing is a little less understood. Our pet pals certainly have far better hearing than humans, although it’s not quite that simple - certain types of sounds seem to impact our dog’s ears much more than others. Why is that, and how can we use this knowledge to improve our pet’s lives?
How and Why Do Dogs Have Such Impressive Hearing?
Your proud pooch has an exceptional ability to understand ultrasonic frequencies. Ultrasonic frequencies are by definition, soundwaves that are too high pitched to be picked up by the human ear. While humans can hear up to around 20,000 Hz (higher the Hz, higher the pitch), your dog has approximately three times the range - sensing sounds up to 60,000 Hz. Your hound can perceive a wide range of audio that you never even knew existed - pretty cool!
“Dogs developed their incredibly sensitive audio-receivers over many thousands of years as a predatory adaptation.”
Furthermore, dogs can hear quieter sounds than humans can. This ability means that familiar sounds within both our frequency ranges are also heard better by your canines sensitive ears. Everyday noises such as vacuum cleaners or power tools can cause high levels of distress in many dogs as they are extremely loud to them. So be careful not to trap your dog in a high-noise environment, if it’s annoying for you, it’s very uncomfortable for them.
Dogs developed their incredibly sensitive audio-receivers over many thousands of years as a predatory adaptation. Fascinatingly, modern canines are evolutionary descendants of the grey wolf. Grey wolves are known to hunt small rodents, such as mice in the wild. As such, they developed the acute ability to pick up on the delicate movements and squeaks of tiny animals as a means of survival.
Can Dogs Hear Lower Pitched Sounds?
Lower pitched sounds, also known as ‘infrasonic’ noise, are those below the human range of hearing, typically less than 20Hz. Dogs have trouble hearing sounds less frequent than 40Hz, so it’s plausible our ears can pick up more in this range than theirs. While your dog can’t hear infrasonic noises, such as earthquakes, deep bass or machinery, they can most likely feel them.
Signs your dog is feeling infrasonic sounds include staring blankly, tilting their head or raising their ears - they might even run away or hide. Your dog knows something’s going on, even if their usually sensitive ears can’t hear it!
Coupled with their heightened sensitivity to sounds within their range, physical sensations to low pitched sounds explains why our dogs are so jumpy in response to certain noises. For example, fireworks are a common issue for many pets and their owners. Fireworks are an unknown concept to your dog, so pairing uncertainty with loud pops and low-frequency vibrations is sure to set them off.
E-collars Use Sound to Humanely Train Your Dog
Why are your dog’s hearing capabilities so useful? Apart from understanding your dog’s behaviours, sound can be used to train your dog, encouraging and reinforcing the good while discouraging the bad.
Modern, anti-bark dog training e-collars effectively use sound to warn your dog from their behaviour. For example, if your dog starts barking excessively, the e-collar will automatically emit a high pitched tone to distract your dog. By doing so, your dog will turn their attention to the noise, which becomes progressively higher-pitched the longer they continue their barking.
Using sound to train your dog is one of the most humane methods to impact your dog’s behaviour. Your dog can safely hear high-pitched noises and, not only that, they’re designed (evolutionarily) to take a keen interest in them. Ultrasonic sounds are not painful, and they won’t hurt your dog.
Better yet, we as mere human beings won’t even hear these sounds at all. While other animals may interpret these sounds, collars are designed to emit sounds in the range that works best for dogs, so you can be sure the whole family will remain undisturbed.
Your Hound on Sound: The Lowdown
Your dog is impacted by sounds in many ways, as their range and sensitivity are significantly higher than ours. Understanding this may improve your ability as an owner to diagnose and improve your pet’s lifestyle. Noises might explain your dogs erratic or out-of-the-norm behaviour.
When you’re looking to train your dog or limit their excessive barking, a quality, well-calibrated dog training e-collar can become an incredibly useful tool. Dog Gear offers quality e-collars, utilising warning tones to distract your barking pup safely. With free Australian shipping and same-day dispatch, our products will be with you fast. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips!