8 Sounds Dogs Love | Great Pet Care (2024)

While dogs are typically known for their prominent sniffers, their hearing ability is a close contender. They can hear things we’re unable to and are attuned to sounds expressing emotion. That’s why it’s not surprising that some sounds we may readily dismiss – like thunderstorms or vacuum cleaners – can rile up our pups.

You probably already know which sounds drive your dog nuts, but what about sounds dogs love? Knowing which sounds positively affect our best pals can aid in creating comfortable environments for them – which ultimately benefits their wellbeing.

While it’s important to keep in mind that every dog is different and individual preferences will vary, we’ve outlined some sounds for dogs we think your pup might enjoy.

Sounds for Dogs 101

Dogs have an acute sense of hearing that in some ways surpasses ours. One is the phenomenon of sounds only dogs can hear, like high-pitched dog whistles. “At very high pitches, a dog’s hearing is exponentially better (over a hundred times better) than a person’s hearing,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer for the American Kennel Club, based in New York City.”The average adult person can’t hear sounds above 20,000 hertz. Dogs can hear high pitched sounds as high as 47,000-65,000 hertz.”

They can also register softer sounds more acutely, Dr. Klein adds. “Dogs can hear sounds between -5 and -15 decibels, sounds not loud enough for human’s hearing.”

According to Dr. Klein, this supersonic hearing is partly a product of their heritage. “As we’ve learned from wolves, a distant relative, their predatory background required them to hear minute sounds of small animals like mice and other small animals to catch for survival as well as for protection,” he explains.

Canine evolution is just one aspect of how dogs internalize sound, though. Individual dogs likely react to noise largely based on associations made with past experiences, says Dr. Carley Faughn, senior strategist for lifesaving research at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, and a board-certified applied animal behaviorist.

For example, when someone knocks at the door or rings the doorbell, “they might bark in excitement, jump playfully, and show loose body language if that sound typically follows someone entering the house that they enjoy spending time with,” she explains. On the other hand, “they might bark, charge the door, and growl if they experienced a prior negative association with this sound.”

In other words, a given sound can mean different things to different dogs.

Why Do Dogs Like Certain Sounds?

When it comes to dogs, sounds associated with pleasant experiences will typically cause them to react favorably. “Some common noises dogs like are things related to food, like the crinkle of a treat bag, rustling of a food bin, opening of a can, [or] noises their toys make and their owners’ voices,” says Dr. Ashley Barnes, medical director at Louisville Family Animal Hospital in Louisville, Colorado.

Our dogs are individuals with personal preferences and varied histories, however, so their reactions to certain sounds will differ. “If a dog enjoys a certain sound, then they might tilt their head predictably in interest, they might show signs of excitement like barking and jumping playfully, or they might simply relax and fall asleep,” says Faughn. “Similar to humans, music, for example, can have different effects on different people and dogs.”

Differences in their bodies versus ours also play a role in how our best friends react to noise. We can hear sounds from all directions without having to move our head, neck, or ears, according to Dr. Klein, “whereas a dog will often lift an ear or co*ck their head to hear more clearly, especially some dogs with higher or unusually pitched sounds.”

How Do Puppies Respond to Sounds?

Dr. Faughn explains that puppies react a bit differently to sound than adult dogs. “Most likely some sounds that puppies like might differ from adult dogs because they have not yet lived long enough to build associations – positive or negative – with certain sounds,” she says.

8 Sounds Dogs Love

8 Sounds Dogs Love | Great Pet Care (1)

Learning to differentiate between sounds dogs love and sounds that make dogs go crazy can give insight into what triggers those negative reactions, says Dr. Barnes. “People can also use sounds to aid in training as dogs tend to respond well to sounds that are associated with positive experiences.”

Again, keep in mind that dogs are individuals, so it’s possible yours may not fall in love with all the sounds on our list.

Certain Genres of Music

Though dogs can have personal music preferences like we do, they seem to gravitate to certain genres. Some research shows that dogs generally appear calmer while listening to classical tunes. Another study found that dogs have a preference for reggae and soft rock music genres. “Using evidence-based sensory stimulation, like playing reggae, can be a very useful tool especially in shelters where it can be stressful regardless of the design and enrichment provided,” says Dr. Faughn.

Dr. Faughn mentions the puppy programs at shelters and sanctuaries she’s overseen have used these music genres to create calmer environments. “And if the puppies are still nursing with their mom, then these sounds might relax her, which could in turn help the puppies to relax and begin building some positive associations with sounds around them.”

Squeaking Noises

Squeaking may not be a sound we’re especially fond of (it can be downright irritating!), but to a dog it could signal something pleasant is about to happen. While some dogs may not like the sound of a squeaker toy because it will startle them, “others will come running as soon as you open that new toy and squeak it,” says Dr. Faughn. It may be that dogs enjoy the reward of chewing down on a toy that elicits a sound, or that it satisfies their prey drive.

The Sound of Food Containers Opening

What dog doesn’t love sounds letting them know dinner is about to be served? “Plates and silverware clicking, as well as food cans or bags opening, will get your dog thinking there is about to be a tasty treat coming their way,” says Dr. Amber Karwacki, a partner doctor at Heart + Paw at their Callowhill, Philadelphia location. The behavior is similar to that of Pavlov’s dogs, who learned to equate an assistant’s approaching footsteps with food.

Other Dogs’ Sounds

Dogs are social beings who thrive when they’re able to interact with people and other dogs. One of the ways they communicate is with vocalizations, like barking and howling. While barking can indicate fear, loneliness, or anxiety, it can also be a way for them to engage in positive experiences, like initiating play or creating strong bonds.

Your Soft Voice

The sound of your voice or that of a baby cooing can be calming to dogs, says Karwacki, “and a great way to get them to settle down.” Interestingly, dogs can differentiate between familiar voices and those of people they don’t know. They can also discern emotion, so keeping your voice soft and relaxed is essential.

Audiobooks

While your dog may prefer the familiarity of your voice, the sound of other humans talking can also be calming. “Anecdotally, I have observed dogs relax when calm audiobooks with a soothing human voice are played,” says Dr. Faughn.

One study backs up this observation, finding that shelter dogs exposed to audiobooks benefited from their calming effects. In fact, the dogs studied spent more time in a relaxed state when exposed to audiobooks than to other controlled sounds, including classical and pop music, and specifically designed sounds for dogs.

Leash Sounds

“You might notice your dog getting very excited when they hear the sound of their leash, harness, treat bag, or other items that are associated with positive interactions such as going on a fun walk or enjoying a tasty treat,” says Dr. Faughn.

Keep in mind that leash sounds may not elicit a positive response in dogs who’ve had prior negative experiences with them. For example, some dogs may equate a leash solely with getting in the car and driving to the veterinarian.

White Noise

Veterinarians say dogs who react negatively to loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms can find refuge with white noise. And according to Klein, “White noise is said to be a good sound to have on near nursing puppies.”

White noise is effective because it serves as a distraction. It drowns out the sounds that annoy dogs so they can focus on the soothing hum.

How Good Dog Sounds Can Help

8 Sounds Dogs Love | Great Pet Care (2)

Knowing which sounds dogs love and which ones they dislike can help you create a more comfortable environment for them. For example, “You can play the comforting sounds when your puppy is by themselves,” says Dr. Karwacki. “With sounds that trigger a response, you can train your dog to relax and not react to the sounds so they learn to be calm no matter what they hear.”

Here are a few guidelines to help you create a positive environment using sounds dogs love.

Try Out Different Sounds

Test a couple of different reggae, soft rock, and soothing classical tunes to see if your dog has a preference, says Dr. Faughn. “This tool can be used when you see your dog expressing signs of stress, such as when you’re away from home. Audiobooks and music can go a long way to help our pets to relax in a variety of situations.” She also recommends trying out different dog toys with varying sounds to see which your dog prefers.

Switch Up Your Music

By continuously playing the same music, you run the risk of your dog adapting to it, which can cancel any potential benefits, says Dr. Faughn. “Changing the music out regularly might help your dog to continue enjoying a rotation of music over time.”

Experiment with Puppy Sounds

Slowly and positively expose puppies to various sounds they’re likely to encounter throughout their lives, says Dr. Faughn. For example, “Pairing a noise like the garage door opening with a tasty treat and rewarding them, with verbal praise or other things they like, when they appear to notice a noise or sound that might be new to them.”

Avoid Sounds That Make Dogs Go Crazy

Because dogs have such sensitive hearing, certain sounds like vacuums, thunder, and fireworks will affect some more intensely, says Dr. Klein. Even mundane household sounds that we may take for granted (such as a beeping smoke detector or faulty microwave oven) can upset dogs.

While many reactions to sound are tied to a dog’s past experiences, they can also be a product of canine evolution. “A very loud noise can signal danger in the wild, so dogs (and people) are programmed to pay attention when this happens,” says Dr. Barnes.

Don’t Forget About Body Language

A final tip from Klein: try to understand why your dog is reacting to a certain sound by reading body language. This includes “carriage of head and neck, carriage and motion of tail to differentiate from welcoming, alarming, playful, territorial, or frightened.”

8 Sounds Dogs Love | Great Pet Care (2024)

FAQs

What sound attracts dogs the most? ›

Nature noises: Dogs love to hear the sounds of nature. This includes birds chirping, the sound of running water, and the sound of wind blowing through the trees. Squeaky toys: Dogs love the sound of squeaky toys. The higher pitched the toy, the more likely your dog is to be enthralled by it.

What sounds do dogs respond to? ›

Dogs Prefer “Short” Sounds

Christopher Pachel, a veterinary behaviorist, says that “short” and “choppy” gets them to respond quickly, while “long, slow, soothing tones” do not. “Huck” might be preferable to “Huckleberry Finn,” at least for your dog.

What sound do dogs make when happy? ›

Dogs sometimes purr, too. This throaty, “brrr” sound is often called a “rumble” by trainers and usually signals happiness. These dog sounds are usually a cross between a low rumble, a loud purr, and a grumbly growl.

What are the sounds of pleasure for dogs? ›

The most common sounds of pleasure are moans and sighs, although dogs also use whines and growls to communicate happiness.

What sound frequency calms dogs? ›

Benefits of 432 Hz Music-

To create a peaceful home, great for bringing new pups home! Whenever you leave them home alone, this may help calm nerves. During thunderstorms, fireworks, or any loud events. Helping a restless pup fall asleep.

Do dogs prefer silence or noise? ›

“Extreme levels of noise can be stressful for dogs, with studies recording detrimental effects on canine welfare. “It is possible that relative silence has similar welfare advantages to classical music for dogs, which may potentially explain the conflicting results between this paper and prior research.”

How do I make my dog laugh? ›

Some dog owners want to try and mimic dog laughter to build a bond with their dogs. To do this, make slightly rounded lips for the “hhuh” sound, then open your mouth and make a slight smile for the “hhah” sounds, and alternate between the two.

What does it mean when a dog tilts their head at you? ›

A dog tilts his head to show that he is engaged much the way a human would nod during a conversation to indicate that he is listening. Social dogs that enjoy human interaction usually tilt their heads more often to encourage the continuation of the conversation and prolong the human contact.

How do dogs sound when they laugh? ›

Dogs do laugh; however, it is not the same way humans do. In humans, laughter is composed of rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory, and involuntary actions. The sound can be any variation of “ha-ha” or “ho-ho.” Dogs produce a similar sound through forceful panting—a “hhuh-hhah” variation.

What makes a dog truly happy? ›

Give quality time and attention: Dogs thrive on companionship. Spend quality time with your dog every day, providing attention and affection. These activities can help strengthen your bond and contribute to their happiness.

Why does my dog moan when I hug him? ›

Sometimes a dog will sigh or moan when they are feeling content. They may be relaxed and getting ready for a nap, or they may have just finished a satisfying play session with their favorite human. In contrast, your pup may not feel well and is asking for your help.

Why do dogs talk to you? ›

If your dog starts talking to you, that is a sign that you and your dog have a very good relationship. When your dog talks to you, it generally wants one of the following: 1. water - it'S thirsty, 2. food, it'S hungry, 3.

What letter sounds do dogs hear best? ›

You will want the name to start with a letter that has a sharp, distinct sound. A name that starts with a D, T or K sound will be easy for your dog to pick up. A name that starts with an S or F, which has a softer beginning, could be a little more confusing for them.

How do you make a dog come? ›

Run away a couple of paces then call your dog's name and say "come" in a friendly, exciting tone - getting down low can also encourage them to come back. As your dog comes to you, gently hold their collar and either feed them the treat or let them play with the toy.

How do you tell your dog you love them in their own language? ›

Give human touch.

Your dog craves your attention and even just a few minutes of back massage, belly rubs and ear scratches go a long way. Speak to him in quiet, soothing tones. Tell him he's a good boy. Give him a safe and healthy treat that's made just for dogs.

How can I attract my dog's attention? ›

Hold a treat in front of your dog's nose. Slowly bring the treat up between your eyes. Your dog should watch the treat and be staring at your forehead. Mark your dog's behavior with a clicker, a marker word like “yes,” or praise, then give your dog the treat.

How do you attract your dog to you? ›

Keep your dog near you.

Dogs enjoy spending time near their owners, so let your dog be your companion. Give your dog attention throughout the day and let it follow you around. Being around you will make your dog feel secure and content.

What attracts dogs to certain humans? ›

But most dogs tend to bond to the person who gives them the most attention. For example, in a family with two parents and two kids, the dog may favor the parent who fills their bowl every morning and takes them for a walk every evening. In addition, physical affection solidifies the bond between dog and person.

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