By Courtney Emken
co-written by Jen Larson, KPA-CTP
We’ve talked before about how important it is to remember that dogs aren’t humans. They often find things that people enjoy troubling or uncomfortable, like hugs. Luckily, they DO like to lay down, relax, and chill out to some pleasant tunes just like us!
However, a dog’s sense of music is pretty different from our own. What we think is relaxing or calming may sound frightening, confusing, or just plain annoying to canine ears. Here’s our guide to picking the pitch-perfect tones and tunes to soothe, calm, and relax your dog.
Through A Dog’s Ear: Music Composed For Dogs
Through a Dog’s Ear is a collection of music that reduces anxiety in dogs. It has undergone clinical testing and been shown to reduce stress behaviors in dogs with an 80% success rate. The collection was conceived and created by an all-star team including:
- Susan Wagner, a veterinary neurologist
- Joshua Leeds, a sound researcher
- Lisa Spector, a musicologist
These three composed the tracks, and the Apollo Chamber Ensemble performed them. They combine soothing low-tones with a beats-per-minute that mimics a dog’s resting heart rate. To us, the pieces just sound like very basic or broken-down classical music, but your dog hears comfort.
Through a Dog’s Ear has also been used in veterinary facilities as a means of music therapy. Vets say that the music helps calm the dogs who have just been thrust into an unfamiliar setting. At your own home, you can play the music for a similar reason, like:
- During a stressful thunderstorm
- If your dog suffers from separation anxiety
- To calm your dog during a first meeting
This approach may not work for every dog, but it’s worth giving it a shot. For nervous or anxious dogs, this is a much safer option for anxiety reduction than powerful medications. However, it should never be used as a replacement for medicine prescribed by a veterinarian.
Know When To Turn The Music Off For Your Dog
As you probably already guessed, not all music is pleasant or relaxing to your dog. In fact, tons of music that we like is actually pretty agitating to them. Even classical pieces, if they’re high-paced or loud, can cause your dog discomfort. Here’s what to avoid:
- Loud noises and high volumes
- Fast paced, high BPM tracks
- Overstimulating sounds
This means genres like Metal and Rock are generally no-gos. While we may love to bang our heads to the high-energy, multi-decibel guitars, our dogs will want to bury their heads in fear. Loud noise is generally interpreted as a threat to dogs, and it can take a lot of work to desensitize them to it.
Dogs also need quiet time, and too much music of any type can stress out or overstimulate your pup. Many people think that leaving the tv or radio on while they’re away will help their dog remain calm, but dogs can’t fully relax with stimulating noise echoing throughout the house. Be sure to give your dog plenty of downtime from music, television, and play.
We have our own combination of soothing sounds that we use at the kennel. We play classical music, minus the exciting stuff like Ride of the Valkyries. Surprisingly, we’ve also found that dogs like the calm, slow-paced delivery of NPR’s news correspondents just as much as the music.
If you’d like to know more about how to calm an anxious dog, or want us to share some of our favorite relaxation tracks, please contact us today. If you’re interested in really relaxing your dog, come check out our tranquility daycare and spa, an experience designed just for them!
Dog Looking at Phonograph by Beverly
Headphone Dog by Jonathan Grado
Relaxed Dog by Linda