Do Dogs Like Music?

No one will dispute that music has a powerful effect on human emotions, as evidenced by their use in movies to enhance the emotional effects of various scenes. But what about dogs?

Most people have probably not given much thought to the effect of music on our canine companions but turns out there is definitely something there. According to a 2002 study published in Animal Welfare, which looked at the effect of music on shelter dogs, the dogs who listened to classical music were more quiet and relaxed than those who were exposed to faster tempos associated with pop or metal music. Backing up this study with similar results was research published in 2012 looking at music’s effect on dogs who were kenneled.

The dogs seemed to prefer music with a slower tempo and lower frequencies with uncomplicated and simple rhythmic patterns. If you want to use music to help calm and relax your dog, here’s what you need to keep in mind:

First of all, play music for your dog at first when she is already calm and relaxed, such as at mealtime. You don’t want the music to signal that a stressful event is about to come up or she will associate the music with a bad outcome.

Next, once the positive association has been built, you can slowly introduce music to your dog during a stressful situation. You can then use music to calm your dog while you are away, if she suffers from separation anxiety, during training sessions to keep her relaxed or even play music if she is sick to help her feel better and recuperate faster.

Or, you can simply kick back and enjoy the music together!

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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