Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pump Down the Volume

Some of the best news of the week: there's a new law limiting the volume of TV commercials. According to an Associated Press article, the Senate unanimously passed a bill requiring television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.

That is good news for all the family dogs trying to catch some zzz's while their couch potato families stare at the TV. Not to say I don't love watching "Bones." But keep in mind that dogs hear far better than you primates.

"The frequency range of dog hearing is approximately 40 Hz to 60,000 Hz, which means that dogs can detect sounds far beyond the upper limit of the human auditory spectrum. Additionally, dogs have ear mobility which allows them to rapidly pinpoint the exact location of a sound. Eighteen or more muscles can tilt, rotate, raise, or lower a dog's ear. A dog can identify a sound's location much faster than a human can, as well as hear sounds at four times the distance." Wikipedia

Dogs and humans hear low frequencies about the same. But dogs are more sensitive to loud sounds - so loud noises that humans can tolerate just fine may be painful to dogs. All those TV gunshots, explosions and screaming are downright irritating to the pooch on the ottoman. 

Mind you, pain is not why dogs howl at sirens. My neighbor Johann loves to howl when he hears a siren. He sounds like a wolf. It is very impressive.

I surprised Boy#1 and myself the other day by howling for the first time. We were out walking when I heard a siren off in the distance. It sounded to me like another dog howling - something about its frequency just resonated with me - and I just couldn't help but answer. OK, I was a little embarrassed when Boy#1 told me it was a siren. But instincts are powerful things.

This isn't me - just another handsome hound.
I don't howl often enough for anyone to grab a camera.

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