The relationship between dogs and music

Does My Dog Like Music? Dogs & Music Explained

In 2010, Laurie Anderson, one of America’s most daring musical pioneers stepped on a stage in Sydney, preparing to perform her set. However, this set was different from most. You see, this was a set designed for dogs. She repeated the feat in Times Square a few months later and had an audience of roughly 100 humans and 50 dogs. The music played at a low frequency suitable for dogs. The humans had headphones to hear the noise playing from her violin.

Dogs began to react as the music played. Some barked, some howled and by the end of the set, there was a cacophony of doggy noise humming from New York. The music left its mark.

So. do dogs like music? Well, it depends. That’s what we’re going to explore in this BusterBox post, so read on to discover the fascinating relationship dogs have with music.

Do Dogs Like Music?

Do Dogs Like Music?

Deborah Wells from Queen’s University, Belfast conducted research on this topic. She went to an animal shelter and played different music for the dogs.

With each song, she observed their behaviour and took notes – this is what she found.

She played pop music first including Robbie Williams, Britney Spears and Bob Marley. It had no real effect on the dogs as they ignored it and appeared unperturbed.

Next up, classical played with Beethoven and Vivaldi. This had a very soothing effect on the dogs appearing to calm them.

Lastly, heavy metal. Metallica blared, causing agitation and excessive barking from the dogs.

Do All Dogs Hear Music The Same Way?

We previously looked at the remarkable hearing abilities of our dog’s ears.

We know that dogs can hear a wider range of frequencies than humans can, and they can also hear sounds at much higher decibels.

What’s interesting to note is that the effects of music on dogs can vary based on the individual dog and their specific preferences. So, what calms your Labrador may awaken your Golden Retriever

Just like humans, dogs can have individual differences in their perception of sound, including music. Some dogs are more sensitive to certain frequencies or types of music. Additionally, the breed, age, and overall health of a dog can also play a role in its ability to hear and perceive music, according to researcher Chertisha Camacho. 

Do Dogs Like Music When They’re Alone?

Following on from our last point, some dogs may find music to be soothing and calming when they are alone. The presence of familiar sounds can make the environment feel more secure and less lonely for them. It’s also possible that music can help to mask any unfamiliar or loud noises that might otherwise cause a dog to become anxious or stressed when left alone.

However, not all dogs will have the same reaction to music, some may not be affected by it, and some may even prefer silence when alone. It’s worth noting that it is important to observe the reaction of your dog when they are alone with music and see if they have a positive response. If your dog seems stressed or anxious, it’s best to avoid playing music when they are alone.

Let’s check out how to analyse that below.

How To Tell If Your Dog Likes Music

How to tell if your dog likes music

There are a few ways to tell if your dog likes music:

  1. Observing their behavior: If your dog appears calm and relaxed when music is playing, it’s likely they enjoy it. They may even start to wag their tail or show other signs of pleasure such as lying down, getting close to you, or even start to sing along.
  2. Pay attention to their response to different types of music: Try playing different genres of music and observe how your dog responds. If they seem to have a positive reaction to certain types of music, it’s likely they enjoy it.
  3. Conducting a test: You can conduct a test by playing music in the background while you are away from the house and see if your dog behaves differently when the music is playing. If they are more relaxed and calm when the music is on, it may indicate they like the music.

It’s important to note that not all dogs respond to music in the same way, and some may not have any reaction to it at all.

What Type of Music Do Dogs Like?

What Type of Music Do Dogs Like?

Once again it varies from dog to dog. Some research suggests that dogs may respond positively to music that has a slow tempo and simple, repetitive melody, as well as music that resembles human speech patterns.

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that classical music was effective in reducing stress in shelter dogs. Another study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science suggested that dogs prefer music that is specifically composed for them, with slower tempos and simple melodies.

Classical music is definitely the frontrunner in terms of genre, but the only way to really know is to follow the above steps when playing music for your dog.

Final Bark

BusterBox Ruffstar Box

Music can have quite the effect on dogs, although this varies; so don’t go putting a pair of headphones on them!

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