When you think about how much damage rodents can cause, you might be surprised to learn that they are actually good at keeping themselves safe.
They don’t have claws or sharp teeth, and they aren’t very fast.
Instead, they rely on camouflage and their senses to protect them against predators.
But humans are different.
We often use our dogs as pets.
If we want to keep mice out of our homes, it makes sense to train our dogs not to like them, right?
Do dogs scare mice away?
Well, yes and no.
Most people who own a dog will tell you that their dog scares away mice.
But what does this mean exactly?
Does your dog make loud noises to scare off mice?
Can he jump up and down in front of a mouse?
What most people mean when they say their dog “scares away mice” is that the dog’s presence causes the mice to run away from the house.
The truth is that for many years, scientists thought that dogs were just another type of rodent predator.
In fact, they often referred to pet dogs as “rodent killers” because of the way they hunt.
However, now researchers know that dogs don’t actually kill mice.
Instead, they make noise to drive mice away so that they won’t enter buildings.
In order to understand why, let’s take a look at some of the ways that dogs hunt mice.
Scaring away mice with barking
Most dogs use barking to scare off mice.
When a dog barks, his vocal cords contract and expand rapidly.
This creates air pressure waves that travel through the atmosphere and produce sound.
The frequency of the bark determines what kind of sound it makes.
If a dog barks every few seconds, then the resulting sound is a high-frequency sound.
A low-frequency sound comes from barking once every second or two.
Barking sounds are usually used to chase away small animals such as mice and birds.
A dog can also use his breath to make a sound that scares away mice.
Dogs exhale quickly into their mouths.
This rapid exhalation produces a powerful stream of air that travels through the upper part of the body and out of the mouth.
It can be made louder by using a deep chest voice.
Hunting mice with scent
Some dogs use their noses to detect whether a mouse is nearby.
When a dog sniffs the ground, he collects molecules called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air around him.
These VOCs contain information about the food the dog has eaten recently.
The dog can identify these chemicals using special receptors in his nose.
If a dog smells a mouse, he may start running around and barking until the mouse runs away.
Hunting mice with sight
Many dogs use their vision to locate mice.
Some dogs are able to see ultraviolet light, which allows them to see mice without being affected by the sun.
Other breeds of dog, including golden retrievers, have a gene mutation that allows them to see infrared light.
Both kinds of dogs can easily spot mice in dark places.
Hunting mice with noise
Some dogs will chase away mice by making loud noises.
This is called “noise driving.”
Noise driving works best if the dog is running after the mouse.
The dog uses his ears to listen to the mouse moving around, and his tongue to feel vibrations caused by its movement.
When the dog hears a sound coming from one direction, he turns toward the source.
Then he chases after the mouse and starts barking loudly.
He doesn’t need any other sensory input to find the mouse, because his sense of smell and hearing helps him track it.
No matter how smart a dog is, though, he can’t sniff out all the mice in an area.
So if you want to keep mice out of your home, you should install some type of barrier between your dog and the mice.
How do dogs scare mice away?
Dogs can scare away mice by emitting a high-pitched sound that is outside of the mice’s hearing range.
This isn’t just a random noise—it has a specific frequency that is designed specifically to make your dog bark in response.
The sound is so loud that it will make your dog jump, which scares off any nearby mice.
What is the science behind dogs scaring mice away?
Dogs are highly sensitive to noise, so one way to get rid of mice without using poison is to make some noise.
When your dog barks, growls, or whimpers in an aggressive tone, this creates an extremely loud sound for mice to hear.
To find out more about how this works, researchers from the University of Bristol used a speaker to play back recordings of various sounds made by dogs.
The results were interesting:
- The sound of a human voice was too soft for mice to detect, but when played back at a higher volume, it became effective enough to stop the mice from moving around.
- A recording of a cat’s meow was also effective at stopping mice in their tracks, even though cats typically don’t attack mice.
- Finally, the scientists tried playing back recordings of a dog barking. This caused mice to run away in all directions, which suggests that this is probably the most effective way to stop mice from entering your home.
Are there any other benefits to having a dog around when it comes to mice?
It turns out that your dog isn’t just an adorable companion for you – it has many other uses too!
You may already know that dogs are excellent hunters and protectors.
But did you also know that they can help in more than one way?
Dogs are good at finding and killing rodents, but they also have another superpower.
Their ability to detect fear in others is extremely valuable, especially when it comes to mice.
The reason why is because these animals are extremely sensitive to human emotions.
If they see a person who seems afraid, they will become scared too.
This means that if you train your dog to act aggressively towards mice, they will also start acting aggressively towards mice.
The best part?
All you need to do is teach your dog to bark loudly when you hear a mouse running around your home.
It doesn’t matter whether you live in a rural area or a city, this method works no matter where you are.
Are there any downsides to using a dog to scare away mice?
There are definitely some downsides to training your dog to attack mice, but these are far less likely than the benefits.
The most obvious downside is that you could end up scaring off all of the mice in your yard, making it harder for them to find food.
This means that if you’re worried about pest control companies coming in and spraying pesticides, you may want to reconsider this option.
Even if you do decide to go with this approach, it’s important to remember that you need to pick a dog who isn’t overly aggressive towards rodents.
A dog with a history of biting and attacking small animals will probably scare away more mice than one that doesn’t. Make sure you look into the dog’s background before deciding to get started.
How can I keep my dog from scaring away mice?
There are two ways to do this – one involves training your dog to chase mice, while the other involves teaching your dog to emit a high-pitched noise that is outside of the mouse’s hearing range.
Let’s look at each of these methods in more detail.
Training Your Dog to Chase Mice
Some people believe that if you train your dog to chase mice, he will naturally start chasing all kinds of animals, including birds and cats.
But this isn’t true.
A dog trained to chase mice won’t generally chase anything else, unless his owner specifically asks him to.
This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for a dog to catch a cat or bird.
It just means that you need to teach your dog what to do when he does catch something.
If you plan to train your dog to chase mice, you should first make sure that he understands the difference between a mouse and other animals.
You could also try to find some mice that your dog likes so he can get used to chasing them.
Once you’ve got your dog ready, tell him “mum” and give him a treat (or nothing) whenever he catches a mouse.
Then, gradually increase the length of time that you ask your dog to hold onto the mouse, until he is holding it for several seconds.
After a few sessions, your dog should be able to bring back the mice that you place near him.
You can also try throwing balls or toys into areas where you know that mice live.
When your dog picks up the toy, praise him and reward him with treats.
This method works best when you throw the ball or toy toward your dog rather than directly at him.
The downside of this approach is that you need to spend a lot of time training your dog over a long period of time.
Also, if you have children around, you may have to stop playing with them so that they don’t accidentally hurt your dog.
Teaching Your Dog to Emit a High-Pitched Noise That Is Outside of the Mouse’s Hearing Range
A better way to keep mice away from your home is to teach your dog to emit a high-pitched noise that is outside of the mouse’s hearing range.
As soon as the mouse hears the noise, it will run away.
To accomplish this, you will need a device called a sound blaster.
These devices are usually made of plastic and come in various shapes and sizes.
The simplest models are small enough to fit inside a shoe box, but you can buy larger models that are suitable for indoor use.
Before you begin training your dog, prepare the room where you plan to train him.
Make sure that you have a clean floor and that all of the furniture and curtains are moved far away from the wall.
Place the sound blaster on the floor close to where you plan to place a mouse trap.
If possible, put the sound blaster on its side so that the microphone points toward the ground.
Next, turn off the lights in the room and open the door.
Put your hand out with an imaginary mouse in front of you.
Tell your dog to “chase” the mouse, and then quickly move it out of sight before the dog gets to you.
Wait for a couple of seconds, and then repeat this process again.
Continue doing this for a few minutes until your dog is able to follow the mouse without running after it.
After a few days, switch the location of the sound blaster and the mouse trap.
Repeat the same steps described above to teach your dog to chase the mouse trap instead of following it.
Once your dog is able to do this, you can start testing him in real situations.
As long as you keep repeating this process, your dog will eventually learn to chase the mouse trap without running after it.
At this point, you can remove the sound blaster from the room and start training your dog outdoors.