We dog owners have been snickered at by our non-pet owner friends in the past for leaving on a radio or television for their pet to “enjoy” while we are away. However, multiple research studies have shown that music can have a calming effect on a dog’s behavior, especially when anxious or in boarding situations like kennels or long drives in a doggie carrier. In fact, many radio stations and TV networks have caught on to this positive research and have developed specific stations for your pets’ listening pleasure.
The research also suggests that certain tempered dogs respond better to certain beats of music. If you’re wondering what kind of temper your dog may have, and if he or she is, the boarding facility, The Wags Club in Los Angeles can provide that information. They can also provide recommendations for trainers to help calm an anxious pooch.
Here are a few things to remember when choosing music and the situations to use sound to help your four-footed friend.
Just because it’s your favorite, doesn’t mean your dog will like it. Choose music that is soothing to your pet’s specific range of vocal tones and sounds, not ones that you necessarily find pleasing. Remember dogs have very acute hearing, and their ears can pick up sounds and vibrations that ours cannot (like the schnauzer who screams when the fifth grader’s flute practice falls off key). If you match the musical tone to the pitch your dog speaks or growls in, research suggests you’ll have the most success.
Temperament comes in to play. Also heart rate and the size of dog. Matching beats to your dog’s resting heart rate can help calm them, so a little dog can tolerate faster tempo music and remain relaxed more so than a larger breed.
Play music when it’s loud outside. In thunderstorms for anxious dogs, playing the music a little louder than the thunder may help calm them some, but remember it won’t help the dog overcome the electricity they feel in the air or the barometric pressure differences. Firework nights are also a good time to try music. Avoid pop and rock sounds that mimic the booms of the gunpowder, though. Try classical without heavy percussion or bass in the background.
Be an observant pet owner. If your dog cuddles up to you while you’re listening to music, pay attention to what’s playing. Likewise, if he leaves the room or moves away when the music changes, note that, too. You may be able to determine his specific preference of music by watching his behavior with you at home.
Try before you buy. If you want to subscribe to the newest “doggy quartet” or “doggie lullaby” music applications for your phone or radio stations, see if they have a sample that your pooch can listen to before you put down your money. Some of these companies are based on legitimate research mentioned above. Others, however, are designed to cater to your heart strings as a pet owner without regard for Fido’s eardrums.
Research your specific breed and size of dog. Trial and error in different situations will leave you with the best information for musical selections for your pet. However, no matter what the research suggests, crowds of dog owners swear that playing music relaxes their pooches. And who is anyone else to argue that? Mom and dad always know best.