Home > Dog Behavior, Pet Ponderings > What Sounds Is Your Dog Sensitive To?

What Sounds Is Your Dog Sensitive To?

Both Daisy and Jasper are sensitive to sounds, and depending on what the sound is they will either run and hide, or in Jasper and Lady’s case, run and hide or bark.

Daisy, more than Jasper, seems to have the highest number of sounds she is sensitive to, including: thunder, fireworks, smoke alarms, a car backfiring, loud vehicles driving by, people arguing angrily, the vacuum cleaner, etc.

Jasper, on the other hand, seems to be most sensitive to smoke alarms, especially the loud beep of a smoke alarm when it needs a new battery. (Right now, I am spending a lot of time muting the latest Hyundai car commercial because it has a smoke alarm beep in it and it freaks Jasper out. I’m hoping it stops airing soon.)

Lady is my one anomaly dog, she is not “afraid” of any noises as far as I have been able to tell, but she will bark if she hears a car door slamming or a dog barking in the neighbor’s yard.

Many of my doggie boarding clients were sensitive to many of the same sounds as Daisy and Jasper, but occasionally I would run across a new one I had not seen before. I had one client who would run to the TV and growl and bark if she heard a dog barking or a door bell ringing.

I’m guessing that my dogs are not all that unusual in their sensitivity to the the sounds I listed above, but I wonder… Are there sounds your dog is sensitive to that you would consider unusual? Or, does your dog have a sensitivity to a certain sound in one circumstance, but is fine when she hears it in another? What are your dog’s sound sensitivities?

By the way, here’s that Hyundai commercial I mentioned.

  1. January 30, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Well, we’re all musicians here….Murphy’s not fond of any of us practicing, but he seems to prefer woodwinds over brass. Which surprises me, since my middle school daughter’s clarinet playing still has a few squawks on the high notes!

  2. JuliedP
    January 30, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    I don’t know about sounds but Frasier, our first Sheltie, would bark when we used the aluminum foil, hugged and sneezed. Shelties have quirks!

  3. January 30, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Dogs barking or doorbells ringing on telly can set Georgia off. She doesnt like fireworks if they’re very loud but seems okay with thunder. Rufus would howl when he heard sirens or ice cream trucks!

  4. January 30, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Cali is sensitive to thunder, fire works, the beeping of the smoke detector, and my husband watching hockey games 😉 She also thinks it is very cute to bark at any dog on the television (even cartoon dogs!) and she knows which commercials have dogs . . sometimes she will start barking before the dog makes its appearance 🙂

  5. Jen
    January 30, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Elka is typically unfazed by recordings of dogs barking or growling. She gets excited when she hears the “beep” of a car being remotely locked, though, because of the number of friends who come over and do such a thing right before they get up on the porch. Same with car door slamming; depends on where the car is. She will also look up to find the plane or helicopter, if she can hear one passing overhead.

  6. January 30, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    It’s always kind of weirded me out that Shiva has almost no sound sensitivity. I think a bomb could go off in our house and she’d keep running around happily. She will startle if a car backfires near us but she gets over that almost immediately. Just as barking and doors slamming will make her react but that’s because she is a recovering reactive dog. She thinks it means someone is coming into the house. Fireworks, thunder, smoke detectors, vacuum cleaners, hair-dryers, none of the usual noises phase her. I wonder if she will develop more sound sensitivity over time or if we are just incredibly lucky!

  7. Jan
    January 30, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Misty the alpha Poodle isn’t startled by any noise at all. She seems to understand the theories behind the noises from thunder and all about the 4th of July. The other dogs seem to take her word for everything.

  8. January 30, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Baily hates farts. True story

    Stop on by for a visit

    • January 30, 2012 at 9:33 PM

      Kari, there are so many ways to reply to that, but I’m just LEAVING’ it

  9. January 30, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    Our Best Friend hates the vacuum cleaner, but the noise that makes him yelp is twisting a light bulb. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to him.

  10. January 30, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    It seems all our dogs bark at the same thing, people, car doors, other dogs, but the one that gets me is the things that we can’t hear that they will all start barking about. Silver and Fiona seem inapt to these very finely tune sounds. Of course they will all run outside after who-knows-what when they hear “it.” Very rarely do I see what they could be barking about and I guess I will never know. 🙂

  11. January 30, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    Of all the things that Dexter is afraid of, it HAS to be the vacuum cleaner! Gunshots? No Problem! Big, noisy construction equipment? No Sweat! Start the vacuum cleaner & it’s run for the hills time!

  12. January 31, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Our Girl Penny (a Vizsla) is afraid of Thunder and fireworks, they make her so scared that she shakes like a leaf, we tried using a thunder jacket, but it really doesnt work. She is also afraid of the same high pitch soundson some TV commercials….drives us crazy. All we can do is Love her and tell her everything is alright and that there is nothing to be afraid of.

  13. January 31, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Dewi is terrified of the humming sound that my son’s battery-operated back massager makes. ???? Jon Farleigh goes postal at the sound of salt/spice shakers and when I dust furniture. ???? And as for that squealing pig who zip-lines in the Geico commercial? Let’s just say I hope he never zips past my house!

    • Mel
      January 31, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      Thanks for your comment Elizabeth. I laughed my ass off when I read your last sentence! Oh to be there!

  14. January 31, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    With the exception of one Dominoes commercial, Moree and Smokey were good at ignoring sounds from the television. Moree did hate anything in the house that made loud noises- the smoke detector, the blender, the vacuum cleaner. He didn’t much like the lawn mower either.
    The worst though was the beep C’s old phone made when it was low on battery power. The beep wasn’t enough to wake me, but it would wake Moree, and he’d start whining, which would wake me up.
    With June and Larry, if it’s a sound that isn’t people talking, they react. Dogs or doorbells on the television, people closing car doors. I swear they can hear people walking in front of our house.
    Larry also really dislikes the sound of the oven timer going off. I guess that’s extra incentive not to let things burn.

    • Mel
      January 31, 2012 at 9:35 PM

      How funny that each dog has different sensitivities to sound. I can relate to the hearing people walking by thing. I believe Jasper and Lady both have that ability. 🙂

    • mistie
      December 12, 2012 at 1:58 AM

      My westie hates the sound of my phones low battery noise too. I was googling to see if anyone else had this problem and stumbled across this post! I wonder if it was the same sound lol

  15. January 31, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    The clicking on of a flashlight. He’s super intense on shadows/lights sometimes…he can hear a flashlight getting “clicked” on from across the house. Crazy.

  16. February 3, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Bella hates the smoke detector (so I also have to mute that commercial you mentioned), and anything that makes a loud beeping noise. This can include the microwave timer going off (once is fine, but the reminder beep drives her bonkers), car alarms, the sound my phone makes when the battery is low… it’s an endless list.

    Also thunder and any loud noise over her head can be a problem – I think the latter is left from our horrible upstairs neighbors a few years ago. At one point she was scared of the noise my mother-in-law’s stove made when the door was opened and closed, but she got over that one. She also barks at TV doorbells.

    • February 3, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      Funny doorbell addendum – we didn’t even have a doorbell until 2 years ago, but Bella has always barked at the ones on TV. I guess her previous home had a doorbell.

  17. February 7, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    I completely freak out when someone knocks on the door or rings the doorbell. I always start barking away. I’m also terrified by gunshots, firecrackers, and fireworks, no matter how distant they are.

  18. Emily Mims
    February 9, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    That particular Hyundai commercial leaves my big ole dog (part golden, part yellow lab) shaking for 10 or 15 minutes afterwards and I can’t find my cat for a goodly time afterwards either. Although we try to mute it immediately, if we don’t catch it at the start, the first “beep” has done the work. All animal owners who experience this should email Hyundai and ask them to pull it. I already have but I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to listen to one person but one thousand may have a better chance.

    • Mel
      February 12, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      I am so very sorry you are going through the same thing. Jasper doesn’t shake, but he does get freaked out and go to hide somewhere. I hope that Hyundai drops this commercial soon.

  19. February 28, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Has anybody ever had their dog bark crazily at a flute? She first started barking at me while playing the guitar-however, she doesn’t anymore. Don’t know if she is scared or wanting to play or what. If it helps any, she is a portuguese water dog.

  20. May 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    My dogs are sensitive to any high pitch sound. They always run out of the room if they hear the high pitch sound

    • Mel
      May 15, 2012 at 8:51 PM

      My dogs are too, especially my Lab. I think BCs seem to be more sensitive to sound. I always feel sorry for them when fireworks go off around the Fourth of July.

  21. Andrew
    January 28, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Hello, I have a 6 year old black lab who has issues with songs and melodys from tv shows and movies for example the intro to the tv serios “The Office” he wimpers and crys while pacing around the house until the noise stops. I have tryed ignoring him during this i have also tried to hold him and comfort him and tell him its ok and they dont work. I have also had him checked out by the vet and his ears are perfectly healthy, does anybody have any ideas on how to treat this. Thanks for your time and input

    • Mel
      January 28, 2013 at 9:56 PM

      I wish I knew the answer Andrew. I think some animals are just more sensitive to sound than others. I also think there is something in the tone or frequency that triggers them. Have you seen the montage that features dogs all howling to the theme for the TV show Law and Order? I couldn’t believe how many dogs whined and howled to that. Maybe your dogs is like those dogs?

  22. kelly bragg
    February 13, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    My Labrador retriever is scared to death of cell phones. The sound of an incoming text or email sends her out the door. She has literally moved next door to my in laws. When we are all home and there’s four phones around the house she really becomes anxious. I try to remember to silence or put on vintage but the damage is pretty much done. I think she’s scarred for life.

    • Leah
      March 28, 2016 at 6:30 PM

      My Yorkie-Poo heads out the door at the sound of any text tone. We try to hold him in our arms and comfort him but you would think the house was on fire! He hides behind the house until we go get him, and stranger still, he didn’t start this behavior until he was 6 years old. We have to silence the phone if we want to keep him in when the weather’s bad.

  23. David Parris
    March 30, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    My 4 year old Parson Russell seems to be allergic to the sound of my Ipad. Just starting the machine up before it even bleeps at you is enough to send him out of the room. I tseems that the machine emits some sound frequency that upsets him. Any Thoughts?

  24. David Parris
    March 30, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Its not the sound or any of the alarms. Just switching on the Ipad is enough. I know that some dogs are sensitive to electronic watches I think this is something similar.

  25. September 3, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    My dog hates the sound of my digital camera, my phone beeps (not ringing) and now the latest is my computer mouse clicking. If anyone knows a remedy for this, I would be very grateful. He’s nearly driving me crazy by jumping up on me as I am using my computer – continually.

    He hates the sound of particular birds (growls at them) and foxes at night. Loud noises have not worried him unduly although I notice he now gets worried about thunder and gunfire, whereas when he was younger, he was fine with these.

  26. Pam
    November 5, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Spraying hairspray and the sound of rain on a metal roof of the car port. He goes berserk! Help!!!!!!

    • Mel
      November 5, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      I can totally understand rain on the metal roof (it must be so loud!), but hairspray? That is a new one. Have you tried Desensitization and Counter Conditioning?

  27. Cheryl Webb
    May 24, 2015 at 8:34 PM

    My dog is driving me crazy. She has suddenly developed some kind of freakish adversity to the sound of the voices on TV. She is especially sensitive to the sound of the camera clicking on the TV show Scandel!!! She shoots out of the room like a rocket and will shudder and shake! She won’t stay in any room in the house where the TV sound is on.I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to turn off all my TVs—but if they’re on, she will run outside and stay I’ve had to get the leash and go get her because she hides under the bushes. Has anybody every heard of such?

    • Leah
      March 28, 2016 at 6:34 PM

      Yes! Mine is doing the same thing when he hears a text tone on my phone. We have to turn our phones to silent, even on “vibrate” will send him running!

  28. Suegraphics1@yahoo.com
    December 28, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    Our dog coco is jumpy to the crinkling of newspaper or opening of packages Wondering what the problem is , it has just started and coco is now 11 years old

    • sherry
      December 30, 2015 at 12:42 PM

      So glad you mentioned about your dogs being sensitive to sounds. I simply cannot watch Scandel (the TV show) because when Olivia, my 6 yr old Shih-tuz hears the camera shuttering throughout the show, she goes nuts. She zooms out of the room like she’s been shot. That sound, the alarm on my phone (i’ve changed it many times) and any buzzing or rattling sound unnerves her and she acts crazy! She tries to escape to outside if she can! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Alan Diamond
    February 6, 2016 at 5:39 PM

    My long haired Sable German Shepherd, Oskar, loves the vacuum cleaner and my petrol lawnmower but goes into meltdown at the first bleep of an alarm and starts to howl at the merest hint of a Madonna song, especially when she samples Abba.

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