From the beginning of life on planet Earth, music has spoken to us. It has evoked emotions and woven tapestries that color our environments, shape our minds and our behaviors.
A universal language, sure, Homo sapiens worldwide jive with those commonalities and concepts, but did you ever consider that music’s appeal lies beyond the human realm? That your dog is also attuned to music and actually affected by it?
According to research, your pooch is, indeed, feelin’ all sorts of beats and bandwidths and melodies—potentially chillin’ out to some and maybe bristled by others. Add to the mix that, if given the opportunity to put a dime in the jukebox, some dogs might even choose specific musical genres over others!
Lean in and jam to these hits:
Just as ‘music has charms to soothe a savage breast’ (as quoted by William Congreve) it seems to have similar effects beasts—of the canine sort, at least. Some song styles can bring joy or act as a healing balm; and others may bum out, or agitate as well. It would follow that music can, in turn effect, behavior. As humans we know this to be true—mostly by experience and anecdote.
So, since dogs (still) can’t speak for themselves, scientists have used non-verbal gauges to explore the effects of music on poochies: essentially, by comparing doggies’ behavioral and physiological responses to a range of musical genres as well as to non-musical stimuli (or backgrounds) such as human conversation.
What turned up? It appears that, not only do pups often exhibit ‘a’ reaction to music in general, but the type of response can differ among particular styles of music. For example, researchers in Belfast noted that heavy metal music elicited a significant increase in agitation and barking. However, in the presence of classical fare, pups seemed distinctly calmer. And then there was pop. Popular music as compared to other genres AND simple human dialogue didn’t seem to invoke any clear change in behavior.
With the above study and several others, findings indicate that dogs not only ‘feel’ music, but that whichever emotions are ticked, elicit representative behaviors. And that furthermore, different genres—like reggae and soft rock—may be preferred to others. Now that’s something to chew on!
Let the beat play on…
So why not sample some tunes with your pup? Turn her on to your faves and see how she reacts? You might end up with a new play list; a fun way to spend time (together, or for her own, special doggie down-time); and maybe even a tool for behavior modification.