Music for Dogs While You are Gone
July 6, 2019
Separation anxiety can be a real issue for some dogs. Selecting music for them to listen to while you’re at work or away from the house for any duration of time can seem excessive, but if it helps to soothe your pet, anything is worth giving a try.
You may find that you don’t exactly share the same taste in music as your dog, there has been plenty of research done on the topic of which music genres are best for helping your dog to relax. The style of music which proved to be most effective was classical music.
Does Your Dog Like Mozart?
There are many situations which may make a dog stressed, naturally, one of the most stressful experiences for dogs is for them to be in rehoming shelters. Shelter staff work tirelessly to ensure that the dogs are as happy as possible, however, there are only so many hours in the day for giving dogs love and attention.
The discovery by the Scottish SPCA proved to be pivotal when it came to making rescue dogs feel more at ease – even in the most stressful situation. The SPCA’s research proved that a dog’s stress level would significantly decrease after classical music was played into their kennel.
The effects may have only been short term, and their behaviour would go back to normal in a day without the music, however, if you treat your pet to some classic compositions when you leave the house this should be effective in keeping their stress levels at a minimum.
Classical music may have come out on top, but just like with humans, dogs can prefer a variety of different music genres. Research is still being conducted on how different genres affect dogs, but in the meantime, it is safe to say that Classical is the best genre to go with first!
How Music Lowers Dog’s Heart Rates
Dogs are just like us when they are anxious or stressed, their heart rates will skyrocket. In the study conducted by the SPCA, they observed that all dogs involved in the study had a positive physical reaction to the music. This involved their heart rate decreasing; the evidence was also found in their saliva. The researchers also made an observation of their behaviour. They found that the dogs spent much less time standing at the front of their kennel barking for attention when music was playing.
Interestingly, the male dogs responded to musical therapy more than the female dogs!
The research manager commented:
"Although by the end of the week their heart rates and behaviour associated with kennel stress had returned to normal, the initial findings are very encouraging and show that classical music does have a positive impact on the dogs' welfare.
The average length of stay for a dog in our care can range from one to three weeks for small dogs and pedigrees, while larger breeds can remain with us up to six months and some breeds over a year.
We want to make each dog's time with us as comfortable as possible and this research is at the very forefront of animal welfare."
Perfecting your Dog’s Playlist
While playing music to your dog while you’re out of the house is a good idea, the same can’t be said for turning on the radio. Some music can cause dogs to suffer more stress than being left alone in silence!
To understand this a little better, you must consider that dogs perceive the world in a very different way to us. Their sense of hearing is completely different from ours, but this isn’t the only factor which will impact what kind of music your dog likes. They also have very different heart rates. A lot of music which is intended to be soothing and cathartic is set at a pace which reflects our own heart’s BPM – which is why it is so effective. Therefore, the sound and beats which we appreciate when we’re trying to relax could be completely different for your dog as music has to positively impact both our ears and our hearts.
Alongside the research conducted by the SPCA, sound and behaviour research experts have been trying to figure out the therapeutic effects of music on your dog. Following on from the research, which was conducted, they concluded that harsher and heavier guitar music such as Rock and Metal made the dogs more likely to get agitated and bark. Furthermore, they were as indifferent to Pop music as they were to recordings of conversations between humans that they didn’t know.
Even music producers have had their interests piqued when it comes to the effects of different music for dogs. He observed (with a little help from BioAcousic Research & Development) that classical music was effective in calming dogs down in a whole manner of situations, especially when their anxiety had been triggered by external triggers such as the sound of doorbells or thunderstorms.
Concert pianists have even taken to the keys to creating music just for dogs. They released a series of CD’s titled “Through a Dog’s Ear” which offers long and therapeutic playlists for your dog to enjoy. After Through a Dog’s Ear was created, others were similarly inspired to help man’s best friend get a little relaxation through music which had been composed just for them.
A university in Tokyo released another CD called “Dreams for Dogs” which throws in sounds such as soft barking and human voices talking around the classical notes.
If you Google “Relaxing music for dogs” you’ll probably find thousands of YouTube videos, Spotify playlists and CDs for sale. Music for dogs is now trending so much that musician Laurie Anderson even performed a concert just outside of the Sydney Opera house in Australia just for dogs.
The list of artists who have contributed to the airwaves for the sake of dog’s contentment is now innumerable, but a special mention has to go to the musician Bradley Joseph who released a series of DVDs and CDs which were titled “When You’re Gone” – it was even put out by a record label!
I can imagine that in the future there will be plenty more artists cashing in on the furry pound with their soundscapes. While some artists like to keep it simple, others like to throw in other effects such as nature sounds, voices and animals.
Simplicity is Key
While some humans may appreciate a progressive intrinsically complicated soundscape, dogs much prefer simpler music. While they like to be entertained, they respond to very different stimuli and won’t find catharsis from music which has been composed to match our internal pulses.
Our internal pulses are so much more than our heart rate, they are also our brainwaves and our breathing. After a plethora of research has been done on the matter, the sound experts found that the simpler the music was the better due to the internal organ’s capacity to slow down or speed up in response to external rhythmic stimuli.
Remember, a dog will never appreciate the same music as you, but they will respond positively to music which uses tones, pitches and tempos which leave them with a feeling of familiarity.