Just like it’s proven that playing music for newly born babies can calm them down and make a difference in their behavior, music can also have a soothing and relaxing effect on dogs. On top of that, not only do dogs like music, but they also seem to have musical preferences.
First of all, do dogs like music?
Yes, dogs like music, and they can definitely enjoy a good recital! Music can help them relax, lower their anxiety, and reduce their stress levels.
Dogs and music: a close relationship
This relationship between dogs and music dates from long ago. In 1980, more than 40 years ago, there was a concert in the Carnegie Hall named ‘Howl’. This concert was performed by over 20 people and 3 dogs, and the canine part consisted of howling and barking, accompanying the sound and tunes of music.
Even though one wouldn’t expect a dog to sing along the tunes and lyrics of a song, it has been scientifically proven that dogs do enjoy music.
In fact, a study conducted by Deborah L. Wells, a psychologist at Queen’s University showed that dogs behaved differently according to the music genre they were exposed to. Thus, when dogs were listening to heavy music like punk or heavy metal, they started howling and barking, and when they were exposed to softer music like classical or jazz, they seemed relaxed and chilled. During this trial, dogs were also exposed to periods of silence and human conversations, and their responses were completely different.
Do dogs sing when they howl?
There are thousands of videos on TikTok showing dogs howling or barking to the tunes of music, and the same number of pet parents delighted with the funny behavior of their furry friends. However, even though it is kind of adorable, it doesn’t necessarily mean dogs are singing. Howling is often a sign of alert, fear, and a way of communication.
On some occasions, when there are wind instruments involved, dogs can howl in order to ‘answer’ the chorus.
Music & Chill
Not only dogs like music, but also it can be an important ally to help your pup relax and release stress.
In fact, in 2017, a study determined which genres dogs enjoyed the most and what effect music had on their stress levels. The study consisted in playing 5 different music genres (soft rock, Motown, reggae, pop, and classical) to 38 kenneled dogs, for 5 days. The results were incredible: when dogs heard soft rock and reggae, due to their slower tempo, the time interval between dogs’ heartbeats noticeably increased, indicating that stress decreased.
In addition, during the trial, and independently from the music genre, dogs spent a lot more time lying than standing, meaning they were more relaxed.
What music should I play for my dog?
On average, adult dogs have the same intelligence as 2-year-old babies. So, it is a good idea to think of a toddler, and the music they would like to hear.
Besides, a dog’s language is pretty assertive, so you will probably be able to tell whether your dog enjoyed the music or not. As a rule of thumb, if your dog compulsively howls, shakes, or whimpers while he listens to certain music, he is not having the time of his life, and you should probably stop it.
To conclude, studies also established that music can help dogs who suffer from anxiety and stress. Apart from giving them hemp calming natural treats that will gently calm them down, you can play some music to soothe their behavior. In fact, it has been proven that different music genres can help dogs relax a lot more than just one genre. So, if your pup seems stressed, you know what you have to do: play that Spotify or Apple Music on a mixed playlist, and let your pup chill.