Dogs & High-Pitched Sounds

This morning I was taking a shower when my smoke alarm started that intermittent chirping that tells you the battery needs to be replaced. I’m NOT talking about the screeching alarm sound, but the high-pitched “chirp” that happens every couple of minutes.

My big dog, Sweetie, came in the bathroom and poked her nose under the shower curtain, which she NEVER does, and I made appropriate soothing noises and comments. Then I’m soaping my hair and I have my eyes shut and feel something against my leg. I open my eyes and look down and she’s there in the shower with me, lying up against me, shaking all over, water cascading over both of us.

I did not associate this behavior with the chirping sound at this point. I didn’t know what to think. I put some clothes on and took her for a walk to distract her, as a walk often helps me when I have a panic attack. Then we went to Walgreen’s and got a new battery for the smoke detector.

At lunch I ran into a woman who used to work at the animal clinic where I take the doggies and she said it was probably that sound–the chirping of the smoke alarm. It never occurred to me.

I was telling a friend this story and she said one of her dogs would react like this to a beep that was emitted by her clothes dryer. When the dryer beeped this dog would run outside, seemingly terrified, even if it was raining–she just had to get away from the noise.

Anyone else have experiences with doggies and high-pitched, short, intermittent sounds?

My lil chihuahua always winces and takes a few steps back when I pop open a beer. The high pitched sssssst! freaks her out.

It’s not high pitched, but if the phone rings and no human makes a move to answer it, my dog will bark, as if to remind us.

But one of my smoke detectors has been emitting a chirp–actually it sounds like an electronic water drip–for six months and the dog either does not care or has gotten used to it (as we all have).

Dogs can hear higher frequencies than humans (especially older ones!), and devices like this often put out additional noise in higher frequencies.

High-frequency noise can be physically painful to dogs, and they will try to run away from it; that’s the working principle behind ‘dog-repellent’ devices that are sole to mail carriers, etc.

When I was a kid some high-pitched noises were actually painful to me. Meanwhile, adults around me acted like it was no big deal, some didn’t even seem to hear it.

Now that I’m an old fart, yeah, I don’t even hear some high-pitched noises and by and large they don’t bother me as much.

What may be a soft, innocuous chirp to us might sound very different to a dog that can hear higher frequencies than we can.

My three kiddos just go nuts when that smoke alarm beep goes off. On occasion, my fireplace will set it off and they will rush to the patio door, scratching and clawing at it and shaking until they can get outside and get away from it.

I used to play the piccolo and whenever I’d practice, my dog would kite out of the room and go downstairs to escape that high, sharp sound.

My bold.

You’re talking about the low battery beep, right? (Not the screaming alarm.)

Interesting about the piccolo. I guess that’s why dogs never request “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Poor phrasing on my part, but actually I meant both the beep AND the scream. Even though dogs memories aren’t the greatest, they absolutely remember that any sound coming out of that monstrous device is bad and will run for the hills whenever it makes any type of noise at all.

When I was growing up, I’m certain our dogs thought we enjoyed torturing them. in addition to me and my piccolo, my mom was a bagpiper. When she would fire up her pipes, they would howl!

Any of you dog owners have a harmonica? If so, fire it up with your doggie within hearing. I guarantee you will have a very loud canine singer accompanying you. See below.


I guess that explains why dogs never request “The Campbells Are Coming.”

On the other hand, my family dog used to love bagpipes. She’d come running and sit at the foot of the piper, looking upward with fascination and a wagging tail.

Doggies! Gotta love 'em!