Basic care

What Sounds Make Dogs Happy?

Marta Sarasúa
By Marta Sarasúa, Psychologist. March 11, 2024
What Sounds Make Dogs Happy?

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Dogs communicate more than just barks and whines. They use a wide range of sounds and behaviors to express their feelings. A key part of understanding dog communication is recognizing the sounds that make them happy. By learning these "happy sounds" and using them to your advantage, you can create a positive and fun environment for your furry friend. On the other hand, understanding the sounds that cause anxiety in dogs allows you to create a safe and calming space that promotes their well-being.

This AnimalWised article dives into the various sounds that impact your dog, exploring those that trigger joy, promote calmness, or even cause stress.

You may also be interested in: 10 Essential Tips to Make Your Dog Happy


  1. Calming music
  2. Human voices
  3. Sound of plastic containers and bags
  4. Beep sounds in dog toys
  5. Clicker

Calming music

We've all heard the saying "music soothes the savage beast," and it turns out this applies to our dogs too. Studies show music can influence animal behavior, and a 2017 study found reggae and soft rock were particularly calming for dogs in stressful situations.

However, music isn't a cure-all for anxiety or stress. These issues often have deeper causes. Consulting an animal behaviorist (ethologist) is crucial for addressing the root of the problem.

That said, playing calming music can be a great supplementary tool during stressful times such as thunderstorms, fireworks, or separation anxiety. Soft background music seems to have a relaxing effect on most dogs.

It's worth noting that some music might not be enjoyable to them. Faster tempos and loud noises found in heavy metal, pop, or rap could be agitating.

Ultimately, the best way to find your dog's musical taste is to try different genres and see what they respond to positively. Observe their body language - relaxed posture and tail wags are good signs.

Did you know? There's even music specifically designed for cats that they seem to enjoy. Learn more about it in this other article.

What Sounds Make Dogs Happy? - Calming music

Human voices

Over thousands of years, dogs have come to associate our voices with positive experiences. We often use a higher-pitched, gentler tone when talking to them, just like with children, and this makes most dogs happier.

A recent 2023 study [2] studied the brain activity of dogs using MRI scans while different human voices spoke with various intonations. The results showed that the part of the brain responsible for hearing (auditory cortex) was much more active when dogs heard that "exaggerated and childish" way of talking we use with them. Interestingly, their brains also responded more strongly to women's voices than men's.

After all, dogs are excellent at picking up on emotional tone. A high-pitched, happy voice is much more engaging than a low, grumpy tone. This is why talking in a sing-song voice or using excited inflection can grab a dog's attention much more effectively than flat tones.

Of course, every dog is unique and has had different experiences. Dogs who have suffered abuse might be afraid of human voices, especially certain tones. However, for a dog who lives happily with you, your voice is likely one of their favorite sounds.

Understanding how to use your voice effectively is key. To learn more about avoiding common mistakes when scolding your dog, check out this article on the most common mistakes when scolding a dog.

What Sounds Make Dogs Happy? - Human voices

Sound of plastic containers and bags

The conditioned response of dogs to the sound of opening plastic containers is a well-documented phenomenon in animal behavior.

Dogs excel at associative learning, forming connections between stimuli and anticipated outcomes. Foodstuffs, particularly treats and kibble, are frequently stored in plastic packaging, leading dogs to associate the crinkling sound with the imminent arrival of food.

This positive reinforcement strengthens the association, causing dogs to generalize the response. Consequently, the sound of any plastic container being opened triggers excitement in anticipation of a potential reward. This highlights the remarkable learning capabilities of dogs and their ability to adapt their behavior based on previous experiences.

Furthermore, the crinkling of a plastic bag can mimic the sound of prey rustling, which can be stimulating for some dogs' hunting instincts. This is especially true for crinkly treat bags or the sound of a new toy being unwrapped.

It is important to consider your dog's personality. Playful or curious dogs are more likely to be intrigued by the crinkling or crunching. Anxious dogs might be startled by loud crackles. Pay attention to how your dog reacts to different sounds from plastic containers and bags. If your dog seems bothered, avoid making loud crackles or scraping sounds with plastic. However, if your dog enjoys the crinkling sound, you can use a crinkly treat bag to get their attention during training.

What Sounds Make Dogs Happy? - Sound of plastic containers and bags

Beep sounds in dog toys

Just like with plastic containers, many dogs associate the beeping sound of certain toys with playtime fun. This makes beeping toys a great way to grab your dog's attention. The beep acts like a novelty sound, arousing your dog's curiosity and enticing them to play. It stands out from background noise and makes the toy more interesting.

Furthermore, beeping toys often activate with pressure, like squeezing or biting. This creates a fun cause-and-effect for dogs, encouraging them to interact with the toy more.

Finally, the high-pitched beep can sound similar to the noises small animals make, triggering a dog's hunting instincts and making the toy more appealing.

However, not all dogs love beeping toys. Some might find the sound annoying or even scary. Also, some beep toys can be quite loud. If your dog seems startled by the sound, choose a quieter option or remove the beeping mechanism if possible.

What Sounds Make Dogs Happy? - Beep sounds in dog toys


The clicking sound alone may not inherently excite a dog. Rather, it's the association formed through the click that dogs find rewarding. Clickers, a common tool in dog training, emit a clicking sound when pressed. This simple device aids in teaching dogs to link positive behaviors with rewards, such as treats or playtime.

So, while the click itself might be a neutral sound, dogs come to like it because it means something good is coming their way.

What Sounds Make Dogs Happy? - Clicker

If you want to read similar articles to What Sounds Make Dogs Happy?, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

  1. Bowman, A., Dowell, F.J., & Evans, N.P. (2017). The effect of different genres of music on the stress levels of kenneled dogs. Physiology & Behavior, 171, 207–215.
  2. Gergely, A., Gábor, A., Gácsi, M., Kis, A., Czeibert, K., Topál, J., & Andics, A. (2023). Dog brains are sensitive to infant- and dog-directed prosody . Communications Biology, 6 (1), 859.
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What Sounds Make Dogs Happy?