Many people say that they couldn’t live without music.
That may be hyperbole, but music is a very important part of our lives and to the history of humanity. How many of us listen to music daily? Some people have certain genres that help them workout while others use music to unwind after a hard day. Given that humans like music so much, do Dogs like music?
It is such an important part of life for people, it’s hard to imagine that we’re the only creatures that enjoy music. Read below to learn more about how dogs feel about music.
Do Dogs Like Music?
People can gain so much enjoyment from music. We’re not the only ones, right?
That’s absolutely right! We’re not the only species that loves music. Dogs can enjoy music too. They can even gain benefits from listening to music. The Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow collaborated on a study that tested how dogs respond to music. The study was published in the journal Physiology and Behavior.
They took two groups of dogs. One was the control group. The control group did not listen to music while being observed. The second group listened to classical music while being observed. Then after one week the groups were switched.
Researchers found that the group that listened to classical music had a much lower stress level. This was observed through their heart rates, saliva samples, and behavior. Researchers also noted that the dogs would stand less and bark less while music was being played. While male dogs responded better than female dogs, it’s safe to say that music can take a strong role in lowering a dog’s stress.
What’s a Dog’s Favorite Music?
Since we know music can be a good thing for dogs, what’s best to play them? The researchers noted above chose to use classical music in their study, but are other genres a good choice too?
To answer that question, we must dive deeper into the biological differences between humans and dogs. When humans listen to music, we normally prefer music set between certain pitches and certain tempos. Most people prefer music that matches our own heartbeat. If music is played too fast or too slow, or too high or too low it becomes jarring and disjointed. It’s not an enjoyable listening experience.
Dogs may feel the same way about “human” music too. The problem is that it’s somewhat hard to pin down what a dog might like. Dogs come in a large range of shapes and sizes. The kind of music a Chihuahua might like will likely be vastly different from what a Mastiff would. Therefore, it’s difficult to answer what a dog’s favorite music would be.
If you’re trying to figure out the kind of music your dog would like, the best way to do it is to test. Try out different genres of music and see what they respond to. In general, animals seem to relax when they listen to slower, less complex music. A calming classical track is a great starting point.
Researchers have found that playing fast, loud music, like rock, can agitate dogs and make them more stressed out. Remember, just because you like rock doesn’t mean your dog will like it too.
Music at Shelters
Many shelters have also started using music to calm their guests. If you’ve been to a shelter or a kennel, you know that a lot of dogs in a not huge place can get loud and jarring. This is the motivation for using music at a shelter.
The music is used to calm the animals down. Normally, playing classical music of lower tones and forty to sixty beats per minute helps calm the dogs down. This then has the effect of making the shelter quieter. When the shelter is calmer and quieter, visitors stay longer. People taking their time at shelters that play calming music has helped to increase the number of animals that get adopted.
While shelters can be a less than restful place for dogs, listening to music that calms can help them put their best paw forward and show who they really are.
How To Incorporate Music at Home
While music can help calm dogs down, how can you incorporate this into your everyday?
One easy choice is to help curb separation anxiety. While most dogs can be trained out of separation anxiety, music can play a key role in calming your dog while you’re away. Just be sure that you build a positive association with music first. Don’t just put it on your way out the door as it will turn into a trigger for your dog. You’ll want to play some calm music while you’re relaxing with your dog. Play some while you’re doing the dishes. Slowly build a relationship between music and your dog.
Then you’ll be able to use it during times of stress. If your dog fears fireworks or if they become anxious because there is construction going on outside, music can be like a security blanket. It can help them deal with moments of high stress.
Just remember that dogs have tastes in music. They normally like music that has:
- Lower frequencies
- Slowed down to about forty to sixty beats per minute
While the most studies have centered around classical, feel free to experiment outside of that genre. Just be sure to use your dog’s reaction as a guide.