Classical Music Soothes Dogs in a Maryland Animal ShelterPublished March 5, 2013
While the phrase, "music hath the power to sooth the savage breast" refers to how humans may respond to dulcet tones, according to Your4State, the lucky dogs at the Frederick County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center in Maryland are now reaping calming rewards from their own exposure to classical music.
Didi Colp, a humane educator at the shelter said, "The research that was done said that particularly classical music is comforting to dogs. We now have a program where we play classical music over our intercom for the dogs during the day. The music drowns out noises that are distracting to the dogs, and helps them to relax.
Classical music is played for the dogs for 14 hours and, according to Colp, is turned off by staff at night, “so they can get their beauty rest.”
The research study performed at Colorado State University recently published in The Journal of Veterinary Behavior demonstrated that music is calming to canines and helps ameliorate the anxiety that dogs living under kennel conditions commonly experience.
Another study done in 2002 by Dr. Deborah Wells, a psychologist and animal behaviorist from Belfast, Ireland, examined which of the five types of auditory stimulation, (human conversation, classical music, pop music, heavy metal music and a silent control-no music at all), had the most influence on canines.
Dr. Wells said, “Classical music resulted in dogs spending more of their time resting than any of the other experimental conditions of auditory stimulation. ” She found that dogs exposed to heavy-metal music became agitated and reacted to it with excessive barking and pacing. Pop music and conversation had no apparent effect on the dogs being studied; perhaps since these sounds were familiar to them. However, Dr. Wells maintains that “Further work is still required to unravel the specific acoustic elements that dogs respond to.”
However, the Frederick County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center is getting excellent results from piping in classical music for the dogs in the facility. Harold Domer, the director for Frederick County Animal Control claims that the dogs tend to sing along with the music, and apparently seem to relax. Visitors to the shelter have noticed that Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, “get their tails wagging”. Staff also plays nature music for the dogs; however classical music has a far more calming effect on the canines.
The staff also is hopeful that the more relaxed and serene their pooches become, that there will be an increase in the number of dogs that are adopted into permanent loving homes. We will have to “tune in” sometime in the near future to find out if these daily concerts are having an impact on adoptions.
Visit Through a Dog's Ear and check out some samples of music to which canines are giving a two paw’s up.
What type of music do your dogs prefer? Tell us in a comment.