Sounds That Scare Dogs: Do Rings and Beeps on Your Radio Bother Your Dog?

Now I know my dog, Callie, listens to the radio, and I’ve discovered some of the sounds that scare dogs.

We usually have a couple of radios jabbering in our house with local news or talk radio. I’ve never been sure if my dog Callie golden retriever hears what’s on the radio or not. But now I know she does.

There is one ad on the radio that drives Callie nuts. At the beginning of the ad there is a distinct sound of a doorbell ringing. Every time Callie hears that doorbell ring, she bolts for the front door to see who’s there. “Is it the postman, a delivery man, or a repair man?” She gets excited because when the doorbell rings it always means there’s somebody at the front door.

The doorbell ringing is usually a happy event, because Callie gets to greet a person — one of her favorite things to do. But one of Callie’s most unhappy sounds is the beeping of a smoke alarm or a carbon monoxide monitor. It really freaks her out. I assume it actually hurts her ears. This is definitely a sound that scares dogs.

A few months ago the battery in our carbon monoxide monitor at Lake Arrowhead got low and the monitor started to “beep” very loudly as a warning. Poor Callie raced up two flights of stairs to get as far away as possible from that horrid, irritating noise.

Last night we were watching TV and there was an advertisement for a lithium battery. To illustrate how lithium batteries could extend the life of your smoke alarm, the advertisement has a smoke alarm with nearly-drained batteries going “beep, beep, beep” in a very loud high-pitched squeal. Callie’s first move was to dart out of the room to escape the noise. Another sound that scares dogs.

When I called her back, she immediately jumped up on the sofa between Barbara and me with her tail between her legs. This is not a behavior we encourage, but under the circumstances, we gave her a lot of love and assurance that the beeping sound would not continue.

How do you tell a dog, “It’s just on TV?”

Finally, to top off our week of nasty noises, this morning, the new washing machine completed one of its cycles and sounded an alarm that sounds just like a smoke alarm. Callie really didn’t need that. She started to run and said, “Here we go again!” So poor Callie went running away from the laundry room to avoid the horrid “beeping” sound.

Wouldn’t it be nice if advertisers and manufacturers could be a little sensitive to our “best friends’” ears? Can’t they anticipate the disturbance their ads are going to cause when they contain doorbell and smoke alarm sounds?

I suppose it would be asking way too much to expect a washing machine manufacturer to tone down the end-of-cycle alarm in order to protect my dog’s ears. But what would be wrong with a nice little “barking dog” sound?

Please, no more noises that scare dogs!


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