The Research into Dogs and Their Preferred Music
Listening to relaxing, instrumental music can do wonders to soothe the soul and calm the most active of minds. But does it work on our dogs?
More and more research has been conducted in this area over the past 10 years and the conclusive answer seems to be yes. Through studies and research such as that of psychologist Deborah Wells from the Queens University in Belfast in 2002; who played different types of music to dogs in an animal shelter to gage their responses. She observed their behaviours when they listened to a variety of music types from classical and pop to heavy metal. To test the theory that the dogs actually reacted to the musical aspect and not just the sound, Dr Wells also exposed the animal shelter dogs to periods of quiet and recordings of human conversation.
The study concluded that when the dogs were exposed to heavy metal music, they became much more agitated, often barking, pacing and standing for long periods of time. The placebo effect of having silent periods showed no increase or effect in the dogs behaviour and the same was true for human conversation recordings and pop music. The most likely explanation being that all 3 of those are more common to a dog than heavy metal and classical sounds. However, the most notable change in the dogs behaviour was during periods of classical music, which had a calming effect on the dogs; their barking decreased significantly and most lay down and settled.Other research and studies have since expanded on Dr Well’s experiment and have provided scientific proof that classical music, especially solo instrumentals such as the piano and music with a slow tempo have marked effects on the ability to calm dogs, especially in instances of anxiety, fear and other behavioural issues. Different types of music have been put together to help stop dogs from excessive barking, helping them to sleep and reducing the effects of separation anxiety.
The Dog Express Test
I’m a firm believer in music soothing the soul and calming the mind….in people, but I have to admit I was a little sceptical when it came to making my dog sleep with a bit of Bach or Vivaldi! Especially given that our youngest Border Collie does not relax….ever! She likes to bark and answer back and she has so much energy that our eldest dog goes to bed early most evenings just so he can rest. But at The Dog Express, we like to test out theories for ourselves and what better subject that a hyperactive Border Collie.
You can search the internet for music to calm dogs and literally hundreds of free or paid options come up, some are just available on You Tube and others you have to pay for, but they are apparently specifically designed to help with certain situations such as fear of fireworks or car travel. We decided to go for the free option and found a lot of different videos by ‘Relax my Dog’.
Given that Ellie was at that moment in the middle of a barking session, we chose the music that said it helped to calm dogs and stop excessive barking….so far so good. The video we used and a couple of others are below for you to try for yourself, because after just 3 minutes, in the middle of the day and before her usual 3 miles walk; Ellie was lying in the middle of the lounge fast asleep. Not just resting, but snoring her head off (it was almost as loud as the barking). We have used one or more of the below videos on almost a daily basis since and I can honestly say they work. I don’t know if this will be the case for all dogs (so we would love to hear your feedback below), but I was amazed at how quickly and effectively this music calmed and tamed our dogs.
Give It A Go Yourself
Below are some of the videos that worked for our Border Collies, but there are so many more available and it may take a few tries before you find the perfect match for your pooch; just watch you don’t end up fast asleep yourself whilst your dog creates havoc around the house!