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Why Dog Music Works (According To Science)

Does Dog Music Work

Music heals and transforms. 

The simplest beat can make us sad, happy, lonely, and even angry. 

But would you believe me if I told you it affects Fido’s mood, too? 

There are scientific proofs that music moves them the same way as humans. 

Keep reading to find out:

  • 7 ways music changes dogs. 
  • 5 surprising mental health benefits of beats for canines. 
  • What 5 experts say about using music to appease dogs.
  • And that’s just the beginning…

Why dog music works (according to science)

Researchers agree that music works for our dogs. 

That’s because listening to music helps dogs release antidepressant hormones that affect their brain.

Thus, music-based interventions specifically for dogs in shelters help reduce stress and anxiety.

7 benefits of dog music

#1: Therapeutic for Fido

One of the easiest ways for dogs to unwind is to listen to music. 

A study revealed that the right mix of classical music helps:

  • Relieve pain. 
  • Calm the mind.
  • Ease muscle pains.
  • Lower anxiety levels.
  • Brighten up their mood. 
  • Reduce blood pressure.

Researchers added that exposing dogs to music influences their behavior.

Also, it’s an effective tool in a stressful environment:

  • Vet clinics.
  • Rescue shelters. 
  • Boarding facilities. 

Furthermore, vets shared that classical music relaxes dogs…

 Especially after exposure to various loud noises such as:

If you want to create a relaxing playlist for your pooch you may:

  • Avail Canine Lullabies on Amazon Music.
  • Download the RelaxMyDog Apple application.
  • Create your personalized pawfect soothing playlist for Fido. 
  • Set up a Spotify account and follow fur-friendly music playlists
  • Browse YouTube for soothing dog music or videos (check out this Great Music for Dogs channel).

Note: Our fur babies have a sensitive sense of hearing. Ensure to keep the volume from moderate to low when playing music to them. 

Read also: 19 Proven Ways To Calm Your Anxious Dog (How-To Guide)

#2: Reduces stress

Music also lowers Fido’s cortisol levels – a stress hormone in dogs. 

Researcher and professor Neil Evans claimed long exposure to music reduces stress.

This isn’t a surprising conclusion. The effects music has on us have been a natural therapy.

Scientists pointed out that less stressed dogs were:

Barking less

Stressed dogs tend to howl, bark, or cry more. 

Other dogs howl more when they experience separation anxiety. Some become more vocal when they experience pain. 

Barking is one of the negative signs of boredom in dogs. Boredom may lead to destructive behavior. 

Luckily, you can introduce your dogs to classical music to relax them. 

Colorado State University researchers saw dogs stay calm for hours under this music. 

Moreover, music therapy is cost-efficient and practical to prevent them from excessive barking.

Resting better

Since dogs don’t verbally communicate like us…

We need to become more observant of their body language. 

One clear sign that our pooch has high-stress levels is alertness and restlessness

Normally, a relaxed dog is often seen lying down as they are at peace in their environment.  

Stressed dogs may stand and tuck their tails. It depends on their typical behavior. 

Other signs may include:

  • Panting. 
  • Yawning. 
  • Lip-licking.
  • Avoidance.

Breathing slowly

Another obvious sign that our dogs are worry-free is they tend to breathe slowly. 

We can relate to this. If we’re comfortable with someone or something, we don’t breathe quickly.

Instead, we’re calm and have easy breaths.

Dogs experience lower respiratory rates each time they listen to classical music. 

This only suggests that they have a reduction in stress levels. 

Experiencing an increase in HRV (heart rate variability).  

Heart rate variability (HRV) measures the variation of time between each heartbeat. 

The autonomic nervous system, a.k.a ANS, for short, controls HRV. ANS commands internal organs such as the heart, brain, liver, kidney, etc.

This means if the HRV is lower, the more stressed Fido is.

If that’s the case, dogs with anxiety have low HRVs.

Also, canine scientists said jazz music lowered dogs’ average heart rates. While rock and rap music raised their average heart rate.  

This helps if we want to build calm surrounding for canines in stressful situations.

Pro Tip: If you plan to play songs for a dog who has separation anxiety, ensure to do so at other times when you’re home, too. You don’t want them to associate turning on the music with your absence. Giving them yet another unpleasant trigger for distress.

Read next: 17 Clear Signs Of Dog Stress (Stressed Dog Body Language)

#3: Lessens aggression

Aggression is one of the unwanted behaviors fur parents aim to cure.

Some of us seek dog training to help fix this type of behavior. 

The good thing about music is that it can treat aggression, as suggested by a study. Thus, other dog parents use music to ease aggression. 

Positive reinforcement dog trainer Victoria Stilwell supported an innovative program for dogs. 

She collaborated with the creators of the “Through a Dog’s Ear” recording. 

The project believes that classical music creates a sensory experience relaxing aggressive dogs.

This involves:

  • Stilwell’s dog training guides.
  • A special 90-minute classical music.
  • An instructional PDF document about positive reinforcement. 

You might be wondering how sound calms fearful dogs. 

Remember that a dog’s nervous system is sensitive to sound. 

As a result, sound has an influential effect on dogs’ sensory neurons

These carry sensory information from the spine to the brain. These pieces of information include sensations of:

  • Pain.
  • Taste.
  • Smell.
  • Touch.
  • Vision.
  • Position.
  • Hearing.
  • Balance.
  • Temperature.

Reactive canines’ tend to have an overstimulated nervous system. It causes them to fear everything around them. 

The recording contains a psychoacoustic track to soothe the nervous system. 

Psychoacoustic is the relationship between the sound’s elements and the feeling it creates. 

Pro Tip: Stilwell suggests combining music with the treatment plan with this recording. She also shared that no dogs are the same. They learn and relax in different situations and environments.

#4: Heightens focus

Do you maintain a playlist for workouts? How about while studying?

We listen to different tracks depending on the situation we’re in as it helps us improve our focus. 

Stanford University School of Medicine confirmed that music helps our brains absorb information. 

Music blocks distracting noise as it keeps you alert and lightens your mood. 

Dogs are no different when it comes to this. They respond well to specific types of music too. 

For example, the use of clickers during dog training. 

It’s easier for them to understand what you want them to do. 

Plus, using sound helps them learn new and different commands.

Speaking of learning new things…

Why not teach them to sing?

You can even check this dog version of the famous song “Despacito”: 

#5: Improves sleeping habits

Dogs’ sleeping habits are vital for their wellness.

Good sleep quality improves mental health. 

Otherwise, dogs may suffer from mental health issues according to ASPCA

Mental health problems may affect Fido’s sleeping habits which can cause:

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression
  • Nightmares.
  • Hyperactivity. 
  • Compulsive behaviors. 

A journal revealed that listening to music may ease the effects of sleep problems. 

It’s best to condition Fido before bed by playing classical music to relax them. 

Not to mention, if your pooch enjoyed themselves all day from playing or training. 

Help them by placing an audio player near their crate or room. 

If you share your bed with them, might as well play their favorite Mozart piece

#6: Adaptable to change

The studies included in this article prove that music affects our canine behavior. 

Hence, you can put the benefits of music into good use by observing how they react during:

  • Vet visits.
  • Training sessions. 
  • Household activities or events. 

Vet clinics are one of the most stressful places for our fur babies according to research

Various reasons cause Fido to feel this way:

  • Strange noises.
  • New people or other animals are present. 
  • Being handled in an uncomfortable way. 

PetMD suggested playing music when:

  • They spend time in their space or crate. 
  • Traveling in a car on your way to the vet. 
  • Dogs have separation anxiety. Moreso if you leave them during check-ups. 

#7: Experts-approved

Experts view music as a beneficial form of relaxation for our furry friends. 

Especially in times of stress, anxiety, restlessness, or pain. 

These are some of the benefits that Fido receives when you expose them to music. 

Some dog experts support various studies proving music is therapeutic to canines. 

For example, Psychologist Deborah Wells‘ experiment revealed that:

  • Heavy metal sounds cause agitation. 
  • Pop music causes a neutral reaction in our pooch. 
  • Classical songs produce a soothing effect on canines. 

Not only that, vet neurologist Susan O. Wagner proved music impacts our dog’s mental state. 

She encouraged to use of a specific genre of music in her virtual presentation at the Fetch DVM360.  

Wagner discovered that solo piano music made according to psychoacoustic principles reduces anxiety. 

The psychoacoustic principle aims to create sounds with:

  • Slower tempos.
  • Solo instruments.
  • Simple arrangements. 

Plus, Joshua Leeds’s study relates to Wagner’s claims. 

As a sound researcher, Leeds revealed that a psychoacoustically-created classical tune…

Has a greater calming effect than those not arranged under the same principle. 

Not only that, dog trainer Cathy Madson encouraged mixing music with visuals. 

That’s due to the fact that…

Television and dog-related videos provide visual entertainment to Fido. 

Madson believes that it can keep our fur babies relaxed and engaged. 

Sure, experts and researchers have seen the impact of music on the lives of our fur babies. 

However, they weren’t the only ones who supported this idea, even music artists did. 

Would you believe that Laurie Anderson held a concert for dogs?

Anderson, America’s most renowned creative artist, performed outside the Sydney Opera House. 

She and her husband, rock legend Lou Reed, planned the event for four-legged audiences.

The concert earned various reactions from the doggos.

Some wagged their tails, and others stared at the stage with much excitement. 

Good job, dogs!