Ever thought about relaxing your dog with music?
Just because your pooch has four legs and barks doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the finer things in life.
We all enjoy listening to music. You know the saying, “It’s like music to my ears”. It sounds good. It’s what we want to hear.
Music makes us feel good. It acts as a salve to an aching heart. A distraction from a stressful time in your life. Or a source of inspiration for those in need of it.
We listen to music to enjoy ourselves and have a good time. And during those times when we need to relax, we turn on our playlists and just jam.
But what does that have to do with your dog? Dogs are completely different creatures than we are, but they can benefit from listening to music too. Let me tell you how.
Benefits of Relaxing Your Dog With Music
Eases separation anxiety
When you’re not at home, your dog could destroy everything in his path because he can’t handle the feelings of isolation and pent-up energy.
I’ve seen it happen with one of my own dogs.
The struggle is real.
Have you ever considered playing some nice, relaxing music to calm his nerves?
Relieves anxiety from explosive sounds like fireworks and thunder
Depending on how loud the sound is (for example, if it’s fireworks), music may not completely drown it out. But it does act as a distraction and provides a calming effect.
Calms a highly energetic dog
Did you just get back from a walk or a run in the backyard with your pooch? Is he still bouncing off the walls?
Some dogs are energetic like this and that’s perfectly fine. But if it gets to the point where it’s annoying and driving you crazy, put on a soothing track.
Helps create positive feelings and emotions such as happiness, contentment, joy, and love
I mean, think about it. When you’re listening to music, I mean some really good music, it makes you feel a certain kind of way, doesn’t it?
You feel like dancing or laughing or just playing around.
Dogs have emotions just like we do.
The same music that evokes positive feelings and emotions within us can do the same for our dogs as well.
Stops excessive barking
It would be hard for your dog to tune out some nice, relaxing music when he’s on a barking spree, wouldn’t it?
Besides, he’d probably enjoy the serene melodies and slow tempo.
Comforts whimpering puppies and helps them self-soothe
If you’re sleep training your puppy, you’re probably struggling to get him to sleep through the night.
This is especially true during his first nights away from his mother.
Some calming music should help him get right to sleep or at least relaxed enough to lie down and keep quiet.
Calms an anxious dog during a car ride
Some dogs hate riding in the car. Mine was an absolute ball of nerves every time I’d put her in the car.
Pop in a calming CD and watch your dog calm to his senses (see what I did there?)
Helps stimulate your canine’s mind
Your dog might find it interesting to hear certain sounds he may not have heard before.
This creates some thinking and then, some interpreting.
And the next thing you know, he’ll be so focused on the music, he won’t have time to engage in any bad behaviors like excessive barking, destructive chewing, or aggression.
What Does the Research Say?
Most people are aware that being in a shelter can be a stressful experience for a dog.
Being restricted to a kennel for long periods of time, being socially isolated, no longer having an attachment figure, and having no auditory, visual, or physical stimulation can create some stress and anxiety for dogs.
This environment is a suitable place to perform an experiment. High levels of stress and anxiety are definitely present.
So as a result, researchers can gauge the possible effects of music in terms of how it worsens or alleviates behaviors (i.e. shaking, barking, restlessness) caused by anxiety.
A team of researchers came together and performed an experiment on dogs in a kenneled setting. They played classical music and heavy metal.
The results were—you guessed it—that dogs exposed to classical music spent more time sleeping and less time vocalizing (i.e. barking, whining) than the dogs that were exposed to heavy metal or no music at all.
In fact, dogs exposed to heavy metal were more prone to shaking, which is a result of anxiety and fear.
Playing classical music helped relieve some of the stress experienced by many kenneled dogs.
What does this mean for your dog at home?
If a dog in almost complete isolation with pretty much no one to love him can benefit from the calming effects of classical music, so can your well-loved, socialized canine companion.
Why is Classical Music So Calming?
It’s pretty self-explanatory when you think about it. The tempo of classical music is typically slow. Sound frequencies are pretty low in some classical music selections. High-frequency sounds are known to arouse and even upset some dogs.
This is perhaps the main reason classical music is so beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety in not only humans but dogs as well.
Overall, classical music just has that calm, serene aura about it. If you’ve listened to classical music, you know what I’m talking about.
Fun fact: When I was in third grade, my teacher would play classical music in the background while my classmates and I did our school work.
Now that I look back on it, it did create a relaxing, distraction-free environment that helped improve my concentration.
What Other Genres of Music Produce A Calming Effect?
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the University of Glasgow conducted a study on kenneled dogs at an animal rescue center in Scotland.
The study found that when genres like pop, soft rock, and reggae were played, dogs spent more time lying down and significantly less time standing.
Their heart rates were lower and so were their cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
So go ahead and add pop, reggae, and soft rock to your dog’s playlist. This provides variety for your pooch.
Like us, dogs can get bored with listening to the same types of music over and over.
Where to Find Such Awesome, Relaxing Music
You can find calming music for your dog through various music streaming software apps like YouTube, Amazon Music, iTunes, Sound Cloud or Spotify.
Some Cool Albums
Paws. Play. Relax. by Various Artists available on Apple iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music
Pet Therapy – Relaxing Music for Dogs and Cats by The Marcello Player available on Apple iTunes
Music Dogs Love: While You Are Gone by Bradley Joseph available on Amazon Music
There are also some really great resources that sell calming CDs and even speakers specially designed for pets.
iCalm Pet – Offers music and sound therapy for dogs. Their CD sets are even age-specific, made for different life stages: Puppies, Mature, Senior.
There are also custom soundtracks for certain situations and behaviors such as riding in the car, separation anxiety, thunderstorms, fireworks, and aggression. iCalm Pet even sells portable speakers for your canine companion to enjoy music on the go.
RelaxMyDog – Pretty much a TV channel for dogs that plays programs and music to help dogs deal with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and stress. Can be used anywhere on any device: phone, tablet, TV or computer. It’s available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Roku, and iOS.
Canine Lullabies – A collection of playlists that can be played from a CD or digital download from your computer. You can also download Canine Lullabies from iTunes or Google Play.
Too Good to Be True?
If you’re still skeptical about music providing a calming effect on dogs, watch this video.
Is Music Not Cutting It?
I won’t pretend like music is going to help calm every dog. And neither will I say that if music doesn’t help, then you might need to take your dog to the vet and get him checked out.
The effectiveness of music relaxing your dog will depend on his age, temperament, activity level and any possible health problems.
If music doesn’t help calm your dog, that’s perfectly fine. It’s just not for him.
But if his anxiety and stress are at abnormal and even harmful levels, then you may have to take him to the veterinarian and possibly consider putting him on some anti-anxiety medication.
Music is a great way to calm your dog, yet stimulate his ever-active brain at the same time.
When he’s just moping around the house looking bored, play some music. If he’s barking up a storm and disturbing the peace, put on some good tracks. And while you’re at it, do yourself a favor and enjoy the music too.
Because chances are, an anxious dog makes for a stressed owner.
Do you play music to relax your dog? I’d love to hear all about your experiences in the comments!