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Music Therapy for Dogs: Soothing Music for Canines

Updated on July 9, 2010

Let your dogs relax at the sound of music!

Music has entertained, aroused and relaxed humans for centuries with its wonderful blend of notes creating a divinely sound. This harmonious and melodic organization of sounds that is music ''for our ears'' can now be appreciated by our canine companions as well. If you notice your dog tending his ear and relaxing to the notes of your favorite classical CD, it is not just fruit of your imagination. Indeed, there are several studies that back up the fact that dogs indeed enjoy music. But with this, don't just pop any CD in your player, dogs can be quite a bit picky when it comes to selecting their favorite genre. 

Psychologist and animal behaviorist Dr. Deborah Wells decided to undertake an interesting research in 2002. The goal of this research was to evaluate in dogs the effect  of different five types of auditory stimulation: human conversation, classical music, heavy metal music, pop music and absence of music.

Among all of the auditory stimulations, shelter dogs appeared to respond well to the soothing effects of classical music. 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.'' Heavy metal on the other hand, agitated the dogs, causing them to stand up and bark, whereas no apparent effect was seen in response to pop music or human conversation. 

The effect of music on the nervous system in humans is known as ''psychoacoustics'' and this is likely the principal behind the therapeutic effect music may have on dogs.  A special company '' Through a dog's ears'' has developed music specifically with dogs in mind. A compilation of music therapy can be purchased and played to sooth anxious canines.

The Book to Better Understand Music Therapy for Dogs

Through a Dog's Ear: Using Sound to Improve the Health & Behavior of Your Canine Companion
Through a Dog's Ear: Using Sound to Improve the Health & Behavior of Your Canine Companion

Interspersed with heartwarming stories of how sound therapy has helped other animals, Through a Dog's Ear will help your canine to a relaxed life. -- animal wellness, April/May 2008


Selecting the Right Type of Music

But what makes the music  produced by ''Through a Dog's Ears'' so special that dogs suffering from separation anxiety,  thunderstorm panic, and other behavior problems seem to respond so well?  The book ''Through a Dog’s Ear'' written by psychoacoustic expert Joshua Leeds and veterinary neurologist Susan Wagner does a good job in explaining the effect of music on dogs. 

It appears that the recordings are simplified so to encourage passive listening, which means that the music is not that complex to require concentration and alertness. This is a big plus since dogs living in busy households tend to be over-stimulated for most of the day.  Solo piano music also appears to have the most relaxing effect on dogs.

We share many great experiences with our dogs, so why not share music? Soothing music for dogs may also help owners relax as well after a long day at work. It's ultimately a win win situation that will benefit both and there is nothing to lose.


Wells, D. L., et al. "The Influence of Auditory Stimualtion on the Behaviour of Dogs Housed in a Rescue Shelter." Animal Welfare 11 (2002): 385-393

Through a Dog's Ear: CD Compilations for Canines

Through a Dog's Ear Volume 1: Music for the Canine Household
Through a Dog's Ear Volume 1: Music for the Canine Household

Through a Dog s Ear research shows special arrangements of classical music have a soothing impact on dogs. Yes, there are times when it is appropriate to use recordings that are quite slow and simple, designed to deeply relax your dog when she is alone. (Our Calm Your Canine Companion series does just that.) However, when you re also at home, you want music that is going to keep your pooch settled, yet keep you from snoozing, too! Sound therapy expert Joshua Leeds and musician Lisa Spector bring you classical music that facilitates awakened awareness in people while simultaneously providing relaxation for your dog.


Other CD'S Crafted for Dogs

Music Dogs Love: While You Are Gone
Music Dogs Love: While You Are Gone

Over one hour of relaxing music mixed with soft nature sounds and short stories, creating a peaceful environment for dogs who are left alone.

Exotic birds, children playing, soothing voices, and sonic sounds only dogs hear, are just a few of the effects that come in and out of this beautiful music to entertain your pet while you are gone.



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    • profile image

      Music My Pet 5 years ago

      Music My Pet currently offers 2 CD's for pets. A third CD is on the way. Please stop by and check out samples of what's on the CDs. Also available in MP3 format.

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      What a great idea. I notice in my bookstore, and at my massage studio, the calming music soothes even the most jangled nerves.


    • Varenya profile image

      Varenya 7 years ago

      Very interesting! I've noticed that dogs like very much Mozart and, generally speaking, the sound of the piano.