Though we know the auditory range of dogs far exceeds our own hearing capabilities, what we often forget is just how acutely they hear sounds. As a result, noises that typically do not disturb us or that we have grown accustomed to, like the sound of thunder and fireworks, can have a much greater impact on the delicate ears of our dogs. It goes without saying that loud, excessive noise can be grating to our canines and is probably why dogs become frenzied and riled up when they hear rock, jazz, or rap music.
On the other end of the spectrum, new research shows that classical music has the opposite effect, and tends to calm canines. Lisa Spector, a classical pianist, noticed the soothing ramifications her piano practice had on her dog, a generally rambunctious pup that became noticeably calmer whenever she played. Approaching this subject with Sound Analyst, Joshua Leeds, the two developed a line of CDs designed for dogs, called Through a Dog’s Ear.
The CDs are an effort to provide anxious dogs with deep relaxation. They focus on classical music and break the music down with easy, slow melodies to follow in which the majority of the music is played by a single instrument: the piano. There are no rich harmonies or dynamic chord progressions to tickle the eardrums, just classical music in a pure, simplified form that provides easy listening for dogs and humans alike. The music is played an octave lower, which according to Spector, lowers dogs’ heart rate.
When interviewing the team behind this concept, the CBS Early Morning Show conducted their own experiment at a doggie daycare facility and found that when rock, jazz or rap music was played, the dogs became energized and when classical music was played, the dogs slowed down, some even curled up for a nap. A book with the same name, Through a Dog’s Ear, written and researched by Joshua Leeds and Susan Wagner, a veterinary neurologist, tackles the science behind the concept by illuminating the auditory world of our canine companions.
Do you use calming music for your dog at home? Tell us about it!