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How Music Affects Dogs

How Music Affects Dogs

While you won’t catch them rocking out or singing along in the car, dogs really are influenced by music.

With their amazing sense of hearing, we can’t say we’re surprised.

Dogs use 18 muscles to turn their ears towards sounds, helping them locate noises more precisely than humans.

They can also hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz, while our range is only between 20 and 20,000 Hz. This allows them to hear both lower and higher pitches than we can, allowing dogs to hear a much more vivid range of sounds than we can ever imagine.

Keep in mind that dogs are also more sensitive to volume, and can suffer hearing damage at volumes that sound normal to us.

What Researchers Are Discovering About Music And Dogs

Multiple studies have shown us that music has a measurable, observable effect on dogs.

A 2012 Colorado State University study, “Behavioral effects of auditory stimulation on kenneled dogs,” observed the effects of different genres of music on dachshunds in a rescue kennel.

Regardless of the genre of music played, the dogs barked less than during silent control periods. They were the most quiet when they listened to classical music, specifically Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Classical music made the dogs so relaxed that they were more likely to sleep.

The dogs trembled when they were exposed to heavy metal music. Headbangers, you may want to use headphones around your dog.

The Scottish SPCA conducted their own study in 2014 with similar results. Regardless of genre, the participating dogs were more likely to lie down when listening to any type of music.

Their dogs, however, showed a strong preference for reggae, with soft rock coming in close second. They also noted that dogs seemed to have individual preferences.

How Music Can Calm Your Dog

Music is excellent for reactive dogs. Soft, calming music can take the edge off of your dog’s anxiety so they can be calm enough to learn how to react appropriately to their triggers, for example, if you’d like them to go to bed when they’re overwhelmed by houseguests.

You can also play music when you’re away to help your dog with separation anxiety. Music can drown out noises that they hear outdoors, like passersby, and fill the lonely silence that they may experience when your family is not home. Music can help ease your dog into a new routine, so they’ll be able to sleep when you’re away.

Always play music during a potentially stressful interaction, like nail trimming or a bath. Not only will your dog feel calmer, you’ll relax, too, making it easier for you to set a good example for your dog. You can also ask your veterinarian and groomer about playing music at their facility to help dogs relax.

You can even use calming music to overpower the sounds of booms during thunderstorms and fireworks displays. Combined with counterconditioning and desensitization, music can make those scary experiences actually fun for your dog.

Help Your Dog Find Their Happy Place With Positive Training

Music helps a lot, but it’s not a quick-fix for behavioural problems and fear-based issues. Seek a trainer that uses behavioural science based, reward-oriented training methods to change the way your dog processes events – rather than covering up issues with punishments that don’t change your dog’s behaviour in the long term.

Contact Healthy Houndz for positive dog training in Toronto and North York.

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