Sounds Dogs Don't Like

Dogs can hear sounds that the human's ears can't detect. Despite their superior hearing capabilities, our four-legged friends are not immune to the discomfort and stress caused by certain sounds. From the startling impact of loud sounds to the subtle agitation triggered by certain noises, we will uncover the auditory experiences that can be unsettling or even frightening for dogs.

7 common sounds dogs hate

Sounds Dogs Don’t Like

Dogs, with their acute sense of hearing, are sensitive to a range of sounds that many humans can easily tolerate or ignore. Here's a look at seven common noises that can cause distress, fear, or anxiety in dogs.

1. Fireworks

The loud and unpredictable nature of fireworks can be terrifying for dogs. The sudden bangs and bright flashes often trigger their fight-or-flight response, leading to panic and anxiety. Many dogs exhibit behaviors like hiding, shaking, or trying to escape when they hear fireworks.

2. Thunderstorms

Loud noises dogs hateThunderstorms are similar to fireworks in their impact on dogs. The loud claps of thunder, coupled with the flashing lightning and changes in atmospheric pressure, can make dogs extremely anxious. During storms, dogs might become clingy, hide, or show signs of nervousness.

3. Sirens

Sirens from emergency vehicles such as police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks can have a profound effect on dogs. The high-pitched, piercing sound of a siren often triggers a dog's acute auditory senses, causing anxiety or distress.

Unlike the natural sounds of thunderstorms, the artificial and abrupt nature of sirens can be particularly startling for dogs. This is because they are unable to comprehend the origin or purpose of these sounds, leading to confusion and fear.

During such events, dogs may exhibit behaviors like howling, which is thought to be a response to the high frequency of the siren, or they may seek shelter to escape the overwhelming noise.

4. Vacuum cleaners

The loud, constant noise and vibrations of vacuum cleaners can be frightening for dogs. This aversion is often due to the unpredictability and perceived threat of the moving object, combined with the loud sound it emits.

5. Popping balloons

The sudden, loud noise of a balloon popping can be a terrifying experience for dogs. Like fireworks, the unpredictability of when a balloon will pop adds to their anxiety, leading to a fearful response.

6. Horns

The blaring sound of car horns can be startling for dogs, especially if they are not used to city noises. Horns can cause immediate stress, as dogs are unable to understand the source and purpose of this intrusive noise.

7. Human arguing

Dogs are very sensitive to the tone and volume of human voices. Raised voices and the sound of arguing can make dogs anxious or scared. They may perceive the loud, aggressive tones as a sign of conflict or danger, affecting their emotional well-being.

Noise phobia

Sounds dogs don't like

Noise phobia in dogs is a significant issue that affects a vast number of canines across various breeds and ages. It's crucial to differentiate between this condition and sensitive hearing. Noise phobia, characterized by an extreme fear or anxiety triggered by certain noises, can significantly impact a dog's quality of life and their interaction with their environment.

While fireworks, thunderstorms, and other loud, sudden noises are typical triggers, a dog can also be set off by more mundane sounds like household appliances or street noise. Each dog's triggers are unique and can vary in intensity.

The exact cause of noise phobia in dogs is not always clear. It may stem from a lack of early socialization to various sounds, a traumatic experience related to a specific noise, or even genetic predisposition. Certain breeds may be more susceptible to developing noise phobias.

As a dog owner, it's best to expose your dog to different sounds when they're still a puppy, during their socialization window. This is when your dog is the most susceptive to new things since they have not developed any fear at this stage.

How to help noise phobic dogs

Addressing noise phobia in dogs requires a multifaceted approach. Here are three effective strategies that can help alleviate this condition:

Avoid loud noises that dogs hate

High pitched noises

The first step in helping a noise-phobic dog is to identify and, where possible, eliminate or minimize exposure to the sounds that trigger their anxiety. For instance, if your dog is scared of fireworks, try to keep them indoors in a quiet room during celebrations. Similarly, if vacuum cleaners or other household appliances cause distress, consider removing your dog from the area when using these devices.

Play calming sounds

Introducing calming sounds can help to mask the triggering noises and reduce a dog’s anxiety. Gentle, soothing music, white noise, or specialized dog relaxation tracks can provide a distraction and create a more tranquil environment. This approach can be particularly effective during known stressful times, like thunderstorms or fireworks.


Desensitization involves gradually and systematically exposing your dog to the sounds that scare them at a low volume, and then slowly increasing the volume over time. This should be combined with positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, to help your dog form positive associations with the sounds. It’s important to proceed slowly and watch for signs of stress in your dog. If they show signs of anxiety, reduce the volume and try again later.

Can I use these sounds to educate my dog when they misbehave?

It's not advisable to use sounds that dogs dislike as a means of correcting their behavior when they misbehave. Doing so can lead to stress, fear, and anxiety in your dog, potentially resulting in behavioral issues and a weakened relationship between you and your pet. Instead, consider implementing the three strategies mentioned earlier to promote good behavior and discourage negative habits in a more positive and effective manner.

How good is a dog's hearing?


Dogs possess an extraordinary sense of hearing, far surpassing that of humans, which plays a crucial role in their interaction with the world. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of your dog's hearing is essential for responsible pet ownership and ensuring their well-being.

Range and Sensitivity

Dogs can hear a wider range of frequencies compared to humans. While the average human can hear noises from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, dogs can detect frequencies ranging from 40 Hz up to 60,000 Hz. It's why dogs can pick up tones like the ultrasonic noise of a dog whistle, which is completely inaudible to us. This also means loud noises, high pitched noises and high frequency sounds can have a greater affect on them.

Localization of Sound

Another remarkable aspect of canine hearing is their ability to localize sound. Dogs have 18 muscles in each ear, allowing them to tilt, rotate, and raise their ears to pinpoint the direction of a sound accurately. This skill was crucial in their evolutionary past for hunting and remains important for their interaction with the environment.

Selective hearing

Dogs also exhibit a form of selective hearing. They can choose to focus on a particular sound among a mixture of noises. This ability helps them remain alert to specific sounds - like their owner's voice - even in a noisy environment.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, being mindful of these tones and observing your dog's reactions can help mitigate their stress. Providing a safe space, using sound therapy, or consulting a veterinarian or animal behaviorist are ways to support a dog who is sensitive to these noises.