Music and Your Dog

In an effort to learn more about the eco-friendly canine lifestyle, I’ve been reading Green Dog, Good Dog by Dominique De Vito. The book has plenty of great tips for reducing your dog’s carbon paw print, and one of the sections that particularly got my attention was the one about the benefits of leaving music on for your dog while you’re not at home.

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Radio for your dog?

I have always thought it was a good idea to leave the radio on for my dogs when I went to work, not only to soothe them but also to mask any outside noises that could frighten or excite them. Still, does leaving the radio on really help my dogs? Are they less stressed when music is present?

In Green Dog, Good Dog, a Dr. Gerald Buchoff shares his opinion and says that leaving the television or radio on for one’s dogs is a wasteful activity and probably no more entertaining for them than looking out the window. If you’re going to leave music on, however, the book recommends playing harp music which is especially soothing.

Heavy metal or more classical

I did some further research and found that there have been studies about the effect of music on canine behavior. Deborah Wells, an animal behaviorist from Queens University in Belfast, Ireland, and her team conducted a study at an animal shelter. After playing Vivaldi, Grieg, and other classical music to 50 dogs, the animals became calm and lied down.

On the other hand, when the researchers exposed the dogs to Metallica and other heavy metal songs, the dogs became agitated and started barking. Pop music and radio talk shows, meanwhile, barely had an effect.

In addition, a United Kingdom study published in the journal Animal Welfare found that shelter animals are significantly more relaxed when classical music is being played.

Teikyo University of Science’s Department of Animal Science developed its own ultimate canine relaxation music formula, spending 18 months on the project. Researchers found that classical music, combined with specific ambience sounds such as human conversation, dog barking, and crow’s crow, is the most effective sound for putting canines at ease.

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