Do dogs like music? This is a question many dog owners ask themselves. We all know that our furry friends have great hearing and they react to sound, as any dog owner knows if you’ve ever tried whistling at your dog. But do they enjoy listening to music, like we do?
Dogs probably do not get the same kind of complex pleasurable response from music that humans do. But, certain genres of music can lull dogs into a calmer, more relaxed state. Studies show larger dogs, with similar vocal ranges to humans, are more likely to respond positively to human vocals than smaller dogs.
History of dogs, humans, and music
Humans as a species we have listened to music for thousands of years. Some of the earliest examples of musical instruments are bone flutes, made of bird bones or mammoth ivory, dating back to around 40,000 ago.
Interestingly, some studies show that dogs began diverging from wolves, becoming a separate domesticated species, around 40,000 years ago as well. It’s not hard to image the first domesticated dogs hanging around early modern humans around a warm fire as bone flutes were being played to entertain.
What genre of music do dogs like and dislike?
Experimentation has revealed that simple, slow pattern of chords can relax the canine nervous system, calming down the dogs. In the Animal Welfare Study of 2002, sheltered dogs were found to be more relaxed, comfortable, and quiet while they listen to classical music.
However, fast erratic high tempos with complex mixtures of various instruments can overwhelm a canine nervous system. Heavy metal and rock are more likely to agitate dogs.
Here’s a video of various genres of music and dogs’ reactions. You be the judge if you think the dogs are enjoying it.
How can you use the sound at home with your pet?
You can use various types of sounds on your dogs if they suffer from anxiety. Putting on some soothing chords while you leave them alone for short periods of time can help put your dog at ease.
Music can help reduce your dog’s anxiety
Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety when left alone at home leaving many dog owners trying to find a way to relax their dog. Symptoms of separation anxiety can include urinating, barking, escaping, and pacing. If you suspect your dog might have separation anxiety contact your vet.
Some dog owners have found success in treating their dog’s separation anxiety with music. Suitable sound and music can make a huge difference in your dogs’ mood. As a good song can relieve stress in humans, it can do similar things for dogs. As referenced earlier classic music with simple cords can relax and calm your dog.
If your dog shows symptoms of separation anxiety put on some classical music before you leave and note if your dog’s symptoms begin to subside. There are full albums on Spotify dedicated to reducing your dog’s anxiety.
Calming dogs with the right type of tempo
Whether your dog enjoys classical, soft rock, smooth pop or any other genre of music your dog will most likely prefer a specific range of tempos. Dr. Cornellus in a Pet MD article said, dogs typically enjoy a tempo of 50-60 beats per minute. Pro-tip, if you’ve tried many types of music and your dog still doesn’t seem to react positively, try reggae.
The science behind the music
Doctors agree that multiple areas of the brain are generally involved in this processing sound. Mainly the auditory cortex and the multiple parts of the limbic system which can regulate emotions. Both in human and their pets, the level of stress hormone will generally fall during the time of listening to certain genres of music, like classical.
The relaxing sound affects the psychological process in the autonomic system. This system can control the fight-or-flight response and the rest-and-digest response. You’ll notice that a relaxed pet has a slower heart rate, breathing pattern, and can easily rest.
The volume of the sound
You should be careful about the volume level when your dog is listening to music. Make sure to keep the decibel level below 85, ideally, closer to 60. Anything higher than 85 will have a negative impact on your dog. High decibel levels will be painful for the sensitive ears of your furry friend, will make them irritated, and can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Dog music preferences
You can find dog breed-specific music nowadays. However, each dog is different and music preference will vary. Dr. Wells studied dog and music and noticed when pop music was played most dogs reacted indifferently. However, heavy metal tended to make them restless and agitated.
Another group of researchers in Scotland did similar research. They studied with five different genres of music with dogs, soft rock, Motown, classical, pop and reggae. Through their study, they determined reggae was the most enjoyable genre for dogs.
The best way to find out what kind of music your dog prefers is to expose them to many genres and observe. If your dog relaxes and looks happy you most likely found their favorite style of music.
Music is amazing, humans have been enjoying it for 40,000 years and potentially even longer. Dogs like humans are impacted by the power of music as well. It can relax your dog, elevate separation anxiety, and improve their moods. Expose your dog to many types of music to ensure you stumble upon their favorite style.