How do dogs use their ears to focus in on specific sounds?

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Dogs have a remarkable sense of hearing, in part because of the shape of their ears. Unlike humans, who have small ears pinned closely to the sides of the head, dogs have different shapes and sizes of ears that can move easily. A dog’s ears may be floppy, erect, or any combination of the two. A dog can move its ears without any problem, and can even move its ears independently of each other to capture more directional sound.

The shape and size of a dog’s ears are meant to catch and collect sounds that are then passed along into the middle ear and inner ear. The actual anatomy of a dog’s middle and inner ear is very similar to a human’s ear. A dog hears a noise, which is then sent down into the middle ear and heard as vibrations before being turned into sound in the inner ear.

While humans can only hear frequencies up to 20 kilohertz, a dog can easily hear frequencies up to 40 kilohertz. A dog is able to focus in on specific sounds by tuning in with one ear or both ears, picking up on multiple pitches and frequencies at a time. A dog will also learn to tune out certain sounds, such as car horns or footsteps, so that they are not constantly on alert.

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