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With all your senses: This is how the dog's hearing works


It is often said that dogs hear better than people. The hearing of dogs works differently than the human sense of hearing, but the volume of a sound is perceived by the animals in a similar way to humans. So what's the supposedly better four-legged friend's ears? "I'm all ears," thinks this dog - Shutterstock / InBetweentheBlinks

Hearing is one of the most important sensory organs for dogs. With a probability of up to 98 percent, the clever animals can hear where a certain sound comes from. However, this is not because they can hear particularly quiet noises better than people. The four-legged friends are slightly ahead of us in another area.

Dogs master selective perception

Dog ears are very flexible so that the four-legged friend can steer his hearing like a radar antenna in the direction of the sound he hears. Humans do not have this ability, which is why there is only an 85 percent chance of being able to determine where a sound actually comes from. This is extremely practical for dog owners, because this way your dog can hear basic commands, clicker training sounds and the like, even if he is not seeing the owner or owner. Dogs with their ears raised can move them even better and more precisely than dogs with floppy ears.

In addition, dogs have the ability to use their hearing selectively. This means that they can block out unimportant background noises and only become aware when a sound, tone or call affects them or is unfamiliar and requires their vigilance. For example, a dog may not be disturbed by the television while it is napping, but as soon as it hears the can opener, it is wide awake. However, this only works if the dog knows that this sound affects him and means "food".

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Canine hearing better than human hearing?

Selective perception is probably the reason why the myth of the dogs' particularly fine hearing has spread. It seems as if dogs can perceive particularly fine sounds if they ignore "unimportant" noises, but react to sounds that are apparently quiet for humans, such as opening a food can. Dogs really have no better hearing in terms of volume, but they can hear very low and very high tones that are no longer perceptible to humans.

The height and depth of a tone depends on its frequency. This is measured in Hertz. A very low value indicates a low tone and a very high value in turn a high tone. Humans consciously hear noises from around 60 Hertz and up to around 2,000 Hertz. With very good hearing and appropriate attention, people can perceive sounds between 0 and 20,000 Hertz. Dogs, however, also hear low tones in the minus range and high tones up to 65,000 Hertz (depending on the dog breed). So if your dog doesn't listen to you while walking the dog, you can try a higher pitch instead of getting louder.