Tuesday, 19 August 2008

do the beeps on toll roads hurt dogs' ears?

Penny and I drove under the tolling gantry on the new Eastlink road today. She was snoozing on the seat beside me - she'd had an energetic time at K9 dog training.

I've bought an electronic tag because we'll be making the trip each Tuesday when we go to Lilydale for training. As the tag beeped, Penny whimpered and looked around. I remembered that she did the same thing last time we travelled on this road.
I'm glad we only go under one gantry, because I don't like the idea that the sound is bothering her. I was talking to someone recently who said she doesn't travel on the toll roads because the beeps upset her dog.

I've looked around on the Net but I can't find any specific information on this topic. However, Joyce D Kesling, at Responsible Dog and Cat Training, has a report on canine hearing that seems to explain what might be happening. Dogs hear high-pitched sounds more clearly that we do. Quoting from Stanley Coren's 2004 book,How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind, she says that dogs evolved to hear these high frequencies because they needed to hear the high-pitched squeaks and rustlings of small prey.

Addendum, 29th pril 2014. A comment today about this old post has made me realise I should update it. I still don't know whether the beeper was bothering Penny at the time, but she doesn't react to it these days. 
After I had those problems with Penny refusing to get into the car at all, I discovered I had a petrol leak in the car, at dangerous levels of fumes in the cabin of the vehicle. I got rid of the car, after having the leak dealt with, because I never again felt safe in it. (I made sure to let the prospective buyers know I had had this problem.)

I subsequently blogged about the Great Petrol Leak Saga here and here.


Noah the Airedale said...

I don't know about the beep upsetting dogs. We use our e-tag often and it doesn't seem to phase the dales at all.


parlance said...

Denise, maybe Penny just needs to get used to it.

Anonymous said...

We have a 8 yr old golden retriever who is always so placid she has gone up and down the EastLink from Melbourne to Dromana for years without stirring, slept all the way.
In the last month she has started to cry. We worked out it is the E-Tag beep all of a sudden causing her distress.
Thank you for your post, it's the only one I could find with the same problem. It confirms we'll have to stop using eastLink when she is in the car.

parlance said...

Hi, Anonymous
Thanks for your comment. I need to go back and amend this post, which told the story as I believed it at the time.
However, I discovered after that post that my car had a petrol leak! I concluded that Penny hated the smell. This doesn't preclude the possibility that the beep hurt her ears, but it does put a question mark against my post.

I'll go in right now and add this information to the post. Thanks for making me aware that I need to add to it.