Having both a love for music as well as our canine counterparts, I decided to do some research on a possible connection between music and dogs.
According to “Behavioral effects of auditory stimulation on kenneled dogs” by Lori R. Kogan, Regina Schoenfeld-Tacher, and Allen A. Simon for the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 117 dogs were observed while being played different genres of music – classical, heavy metal, and specifically designed/altered classical – to see if and how the music impacted their behavior. Heavy metal reportedly caused the dogs to exhibit signs of nervousness, such as body shaking. However on the other hand, results of the study suggest that, when played classical music, the dogs spent less time vocalizing and more time sleeping than when exposed to other or no music.
Psychologist Dr. Deborah Wells at Queens University in Belfast produced similar findings while conducting her own study. Dr. Wells stated:
“Classical music resulted in dogs spending more of their time resting than any of the other experimental conditions of auditory stimulation. This type of music also resulted in a significantly lower level of barking. Research suggests that calming music may have a beneficial effect on humans, resulting in diminished agitation, improved mood and lower levels of stress. Although the specific effect of classical music on dogs remains unknown, the findings from this study suggest that it may, as in humans, have a calming influence.”
According to Dr. Wells’ study, sounds such as pop music and humans speaking had no effect on the behavior of the dogs, most likely due to the fact that most domestic canines have grown accustomed to those sounds. Dr. Wells also found that heavy metal resulted in the dogs becoming agitated, indicated by more standing and barking from the canines.
According to “Do Dogs Have a Musical Sense?” Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C., scienctific analysis of canine vocalization does suggest that dogs have a sense of pitch. Recordings of wolves showed that as more wolves begin howling at once, each wolf will change it’s tone to avoid sounding like the other wolves in the pack.
While there is no conclusive evidence that tell us that dogs have specific responses to music, there are several studies that indicate they do experience changes in behavior based on the genre of music being played.
This can only mean one thing…