Want to learn how to live in the now; to enjoy simple pleasures; to forgive quickly; to love unconditionally? Watch your dog and learn.
The three dogs in my life are hyper Misty, out of control Penny and neurotic Tripper. Misty, my Yorkshire terrier lives at my house and has two speeds run and sleep. Mostly run. Penny is an Australian Shepherd who lives with my partner, Lori. Penny is bounce off the wall energetic. Tripper is a neurotic Blue Heeler who lives with my friend Jim. All three of these dogs have one thing in common; music calms the wild beast in them. That’s why this post on music for dogs.
Studies in music for dogs
The science is scanty, but not absent on the effects of music for dogs. The positive and negative effects of music for dogs were investigated through the Universities Federation of Animal Welfare. Joshua Leeds, a sound researcher and educator has also done research in this field. The BioAcoustic Research & Development project did a detailed study on 150 dogs. Their findings refine the research more so than the other studies.
Results of the studies in a nutshell
- Heavy metal type music agitated dogs and resulted in more barking and standing.
- Pop music has no noticeable effect on a dog’s behavior.
- Classical music calmed dogs and they spent more time lying down and not barking.
- Arrangements with solo instruments and slower tempos apparently have the most soothing effect with anxiety behaviors reduced by 70%.
Both Misty and Penny have been exposed to music and it does appear to calm them. We play a form that our station refers to as “Soundscapes.” To give you an idea of the music on Soundscapes, some of the titles include such music as: “Within Memory” by Craig Urguhart, “Stars Last Glimmer” by Aida and “Transcendence” by Robin Miller. Misty has also been exposed to classical music and it seems to have the same calming effect on her.
Tripper is exposed to jazz, Jim’s favorite music, but that has no positive effect on his neurosis. On the rare occasions when Jim has to leave Tripper at home, the television is left on so Tripper is exposed to soft human voices throughout the time Jim is away. This seems to reduce Tripper’s separation anxiety. We’re going to experiment to see if Soundscapes music has a calming effect on him.
Based on the research and my experience with the dogs in my life, I’ve concluded that music for dogs is definitely a way to help our canine family members overcome their stresses and anxieties. Some dogs don’t like the whole grooming and bath thing that is part of a dog’s spa day. Patience, a soft voice, gentle handling and music will help keep your dog calm during his or her spa day experience.
As therapeutic and calming as music can be for dogs, if your dog isn’t getting the exercise he needs, no amount of music will keep him from acting out and getting into mischief. That extra energy needs to be burned off. The amount of exercise a dog needs will depend on a variety of factors such as breed and age. Lori’s Australian shepherd needs lots of exercise whereas my Yorkie, needs an hour or so a day taking her for a walk or throwing the ball for her. Tripper, is 9 years old and doesn’t require the same amount of exercise he did a few years ago, but goes crazy if he misses his walk which take 45 minutes to an hour a day
Now go have fun and relax.