Does playing the trumpet hurt my dogs ears?
You play a few notes on your trumpet and immediately your beloved dog starts howling. Perhaps your dog is really into music and like singing along? …or does playing the trumpet hurt dogs ears?
Playing the trumpet can hurt dogs ears. Our four legged friends have very sensitive ears and some sounds can be almost unbearable to them. Some dogs can here 3-4 times the distance of human and what we consider to be “normal” volume can be painful for your dog. If you play the trumpet and have a dog, here is what you should do…
At first I thought my dog was just singing along with my trumpet playing…
I have been playing the trumpet most of my life and I have also been a dog owner for many years. Today my beloved friend is no longer with me but I vividly remember practicing my trumpet and Zeb (Zeb was my dogs name) singing along…
…or so I thought…
…until I realized I was actually hurting my poor dogs ears.
It may be that my dog also really wanted to sing along and honestly I think that, some of the times, he really was doing that. However it did not take long before I noticed that most of the times…
…I was really hurting him with my playing.
How sensitive are dogs ears really?
Dogs are able to hear sounds within a range of 39 to 61.000 Hz. Compare that to you and me, if you have normal hearing that is, as we are capable of hearing frequencies between 19 and 19.000 Hz.
Dogs can really have a hard time with noises that sounds “normal” to us and in addition to this the dogs ear muscles makes the perception of sound different for them than for humans.
What should we do about it? Here is how I saved my dogs ears…
Trumpet players have to practice to improve, there’s just no way getting around that. Even if we would not have the ambition to improve, we still need to practice just to keep our chops.
So how do we do it without hurting our dogs ears?
The solution is to minimize the time we expose our four legged friends to the trumpet
1) Practice as far away from your dog as possible
If you have a big house then place your dog in a room far away from you during practice hours and practice mostly at a soft volume
2) Buy a practice mute
Of course we can not practice softly all of the time and one solution to this, and something I personally did, I was practicing with a good practice mute. I own two good practice mutes and they are so quiet that I could even practice next to a sleeping child, without it waking up.
I recommend you read my article what is the best trumpet practice mute and learn which one would suite you the best. This will save your dog from much pain in the future.
3) Have your dog outside while you practice
Have a friend take your dog for a walk during your practice session. Of course this can be difficult to do, as what friend would be so nice that he or she would be there to help us every time we need to practice, but it’s still an option from time to time.
4) Does your dog have a doghouse outside?
If so then make a habit of taking him there every time you practice. No doghouse? Do you live in a place where it would be possible to make one? If not then I really recommend you consider getting a good practice mute.
Here is how you can tell if the trumpet is hurting your dogs ears or if your dog is just “singing along”
Here is a few ways to tell if your dog is just singing along or if he is really suffering.
- Is your dog only howling and “singing” along or does he also whimper and whine between the “singing”?
If he also whimpers and whines, I’m sorry to say that, no, he is not enjoying your trumpet playing at the moment.
- How is the dogs reaction if you play in the other end of your house?
If you live in a big house and play in a room far away from your dog, at a soft volume, can you here if he is still howling or “singing”? If so now there is chance that he actually likes to sing along with your playing.
…however it is not guaranteed though because they really do have sensitive ears.
- Does your dog react differently when you play at different volumes?
This one is pretty self-explanatory. if your dog starts making noises only when you play a little louder then, of course, it’s not that he just starts digging the music. If your dog would be really into your playing, he would also “dig” it at softer volumes.
- Does your dog sigh and look sad when you practice
If so it’s a pretty dead giveaway. No surprise here.
At the end of the day you know your dog better than anyone else. Look at your dogs eyes when you play. I think you can figure out if he is hurting. After all there is a bond between you. I’m sorry to say that chances are pretty high that he does not like when you practice…
…I know my dog didn’t.
Be especially careful if your dog is one of these breeds
Some dog breeds have better hearing and are more sensitive to noise than other breeds. You should be especially careful playing trumpet next to your dog if you have one of these breeds…
- Labrador Retrievers: Wonderful, loyal dogs and their hearing is out of this world. This is why they are often trained and used as service dogs.
- Golden Retrievers: My dog, Zeb, was a Golden Retriever and these dogs have amazing hearing. Just like the Labrador, Golden Retrievers are also trained and used in different forms of jobs in society.
- Poodles: Poodles also have sensitive and incredible good hearing
- Cocker Spaniels: These nice family pets have huge ears and it is not surprising that they have very good ears.
Now, if you didn’t find your dogs breed here, that does not mean your dog does not have great hearing. These four breeds have extra good hearing and generally we can say that average dogs have 3-4x better hearing than humans so please do be careful.
Final words bout trumpet playing and dogs ears
As much as our ego would like to think that our dogs really like our trumpet playing and are merely singing along, digging the music, I think we have to realize that, in most cases, this is not really true…
…as already stated our four legged friends have very sensitive ears and, more often than not, we are indeed hurting them with our trumpet playing. To be perfectly honest I still practiced my trumpet some days even if I my dog was howling. This did not happen often but at times I was in a hurry and still did it…please don’t do this…
…my dog is no longer with me, as he died of old age last year. I miss him very much and the thought of me sometimes inflicting pain on him with my trumpet practicing, well, let’s just I feel very bad about that today.
I was not a perfect dog owner and sometimes I wish I could go back in time and be a better master… and of course also so that I could get to spend some time with him again.
Our beloved friends give us unconditional love and they deserve to have a good life, because after all, they are only here for a short while. So I guess what I’m trying to say is take good care of your dog and be nice to him. After your dog is gone, it is too late.
Thank you for reading the blog post “does playing the trumpet hurt dogs ears” and as always…
…keep practicing! ….but don’t do it in a way that hurts your dogs ears.
P.S. If you have not already dones so, consider taking a look at my article
26 trumpet playing, become a better trumpet player. It is full with tips, tricks and tools to help us become a more skillful trumpeter.
1 thought on “Does Playing The Trumpet Hurt Dogs Ears ?”
I am a professional oboe player, recently retired from orchestra work. I have a new dog. She howls this hi pitched wail when I practice anywhere nearby her. She throws her head back and lets out this wail that is so high it sounds kind of like a gas leak, or a hi pitched screech. the oboe and trumpet have a similar airstream so I figure it’s not pleasant or comfortable for her to hear. MY bedroom is next to my practice room so I am going to try today to move my horn and music into the bedroom with the door closed to her to see if she reacts differently.