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February 10, 2010

Can dogs relax to music?

I just had to blog this when I saw it! Music created just for dogs to relax by. What will they think of next? Actually after reading the article and watching the video, I'm considering it!

Lisa Spector, concert pianist and graduate of The Juilliard School is co-founder of BioAcoustic Research & Development, where she presided over the groundbreaking music and canine research conducted with 150 dogs. She is the pianist on the Through a Dog’s Ear music series. If you have a dog who could use a little calming at home or in the car, these CDs are for you.

Lisa has won first prizes in prestigious national piano competitions and performs concert tours internationally, so dogs and people lucky enough to hear her music are in for a treat. Click here for a few free downloads and samples of her calming music for dogs.

With her challenging puppy, she started to notice that when she played certain types of classical music, arranged with the same principles that calmed her human students, he would often curl up and take a nap near the piano. This triggered her curiosity – Would the same concepts that were so effective with people also work on dogs? It was 2003 that she first approached Joshua Leeds, a world renowned sound researcher with this idea.

The book Through a Dog’s Ear, written by Joshua Leeds and veterinary neurologist Susan Wagner, states that the process of hearing is the same in humans and dogs, but there are also important differences. Humans hear sounds between 20-20,000 Hz. Dogs hear a much wider frequency range, especially in the higher pitches. Estimates vary from 40,000 Hz all the way up to 55,000 Hz – depending on the breed. Sound is so important to dogs that their ears move constantly, like a radar dish, tuning in to sounds that we can’t even perceive.

Their psychoacoustically-designed classical music has helped dogs with separation anxiety, sound phobias (thunderstorms, fireworks, etc.) nervousness, fear, excitement with visitors, pre- and post-surgery, and even assisted in euthanasia. It is best to first start playing Music to Calm your Canine Companion when your dog is already calm and relaxed. Playing it at bedtime for a few nights is a good idea (and it will also help people fall asleep). Your dog will start associating the music with a sense of calm. If the music can be combined with something the dog already associates as relaxing, such as a massage, or gentle petting, that also helps. Then start playing the music before the anxiety issue is present. If it’s played for separation anxiety, make sure that the music is played at various times when you are home relaxing with your dog, so that he doesn’t learn that the music is always a predictor of you leaving. Then play the music for about 20 minutes before you leave the house and put it on repeat play. Graduating the amount of time that you are gone also helps.

The research on Through a Dog’s Ear, conducted on over 150 dogs, showed that 70% of shelter dogs and 80% of dogs in home environments calmed to the music and lay down. However, since our products have been on the market, even Lisa has been amazed at the stories people share about how helpful the music is and how quickly it works. They donate free CD’s to shelters. Currently 90 shelters in three countries are enrolled. They hear from so many of them how successfully it is working to calm dogs. In addition, trainers leading classes of shy and reactive dogs have been commenting on its effectiveness of calming the dogs and handlers and keeping everyone more focused.

Watch the video, it's really quite amazing!

1 comment:

  1. My dogs have not shown a preference to music...but those two sure can associate sounds I make or anyone makes ,with things to happen.

    I think that dogs ...and cats..have a built in time clock and very much like to have things go along that time table. Works for me......:-)