Do Dogs Like Music? When They Are Howling Along Is It In Joy Or Despair?
Maybe you noticed what seemed like your dog listening to music.
Or maybe you’ve discovered the growing fad on Amazon and YouTube of music targeted at dogs.
We’ll discuss if dogs like music and if different types of music affect them differently.
But can dogs even hear music?
Can Dogs Hear Music?
We all know dogs can hear sound. We even know they can hear, recognize and react to the sound of human voices.
So, at first, it might seem like a silly question to ask if they can hear music.
However, the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as yes or no.
Have you ever heard of a dog whistle?
It makes a piercing noise dogs can hear, but that is unnoticed by human ears.
This is because dogs have a different acoustic range than ours.
They can hear most music made for humans, but some tunes may be too high or low.
Not only that but dogs don’t appear to be able to recognize relative pitch.
Charles Snowdon is a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
According to him, dogs can hear pitch but not relative pitch.
This means, they can recognize a series of notes, but not if you replicate the same series in a different key.
Does Music Affect a Dog’s Behavior?
Do dogs like music, or dislike it, to the extent that it changes their attitude?
There have been several studies conducted that have observed behavioral changes in dogs based on what music was played.
For instance, when researchers played classical music for dogs, they generally observed quieter, calmer behavior.
When dogs were played “heavy metal” music, it was noticed that they became more agitated.
However, some findings indicate that the change in behavior is temporary.
A trial carried out by the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow found that by the end of the week, the calming effects they saw created by classical music had completely disappeared.
Check out this puppy reacting to classical music.
Do Dogs Enjoy Music?
Now we know dogs can hear music and they seem to react to it, at least temporarily. But do dogs like music?
According to Snowden, animals only enjoy music specifically made for them.
He says this is because it needs to be in their auditory and vocal range and match their heart rate for them to enjoy it.
Large and giant dog breeds have vocal ranges closer to adult male humans.
This means it’s more likely that they will respond to and even like our music, compared to small and toy dog breeds.
However, it is possible that just like humans, dogs have individual preferences toward music.
Professor Neil Evans found that dogs seem to enjoy soft rock and reggae the most, but that each dog appears to have its own musical tastes.
If you check out YouTube, you can find thousands of videos showing dogs who appear to like all types of music.
Here’s one enjoying guitar playing.
What Kind of Music Do Dogs Like?
Now the obvious question is do dogs like music of a certain style, or are the non discriminating?
It’s natural to think that the music dogs like will match what we like.
However, this is not likely the case, particularly if you like heavy metal or hard rock.
Pop music also appears to have no effect on dogs one way or the other.
Studies consistently cite that classical music elicited the calmest responses in dogs.
But do dogs like classical music, or does it just bore them to sleep?
It’s hard to say.
One view is that dogs actually prefer audiobooks over any music, even classical.
However, as we discussed in the last section, it seems to come down to personal choice.
It is clear, though, that dogs are more likely to prefer dog music made for them over music made for us.
What’s the Best Music for Dogs?
If you’re looking for music dogs love, there is a wide range of options on the market these days.
In general, dogs won’t enjoy music pitched too high or too low. They also will not like anything that has too fast or too slow of a tempo.
Volume is another important factor.
You could select a tune dogs love, but if you play it too loudly, your pet may hate it.
Remember their ears are more sensitive than ours.
This leaves a wide range of music still available for your wonderful companion.
You can help narrow down your options by deciding what effect you’re hoping for.
Relaxing Music for Dogs
If you’re looking for music to relax your dog, there are a number of great playlists on YouTube, including this 15-hour long one.
Music to Make Dogs Sleep
Dog music for sleeping is another popular choice. Here is an eight-hour sleep playlist for your furry friend.
Calming Music for Dogs
Anti-anxiety music for dogs is probably the most common type.
Are you worried about your dog suffering from separation anxiety while you’re at work?
You may want to try leaving music playing to calm dogs down, and see what happens.
Here’s a video of 15 hours worth of music for dogs with deep separation anxiety.
Soothing Music for Dogs
There’s likely not much difference between calming and soothing music for dogs.
However, you can find entire playlists and channels dedicated to soothing dogs.
Dogs and Music
Based on the research, music definitely has an impact on dogs.
Whether they truly enjoy it or not seems to come down to the type of music and the specific dog.
My Labrador mix seems to be much more relaxed while listening to relaxing dog music on YouTube.
If your dog suffers from anxiety, it’s worthwhile to play some of the soundtracks mentioned above to see if they have a positive effect.
To find out which song genres your dog prefers, you will have to do some experimenting of your own.
References and Further Reading:
- Brayley, C. and Montrose, V.T., 2016, “The Effects of Audiobooks on the Behaviour of Dogs at a Rehoming Kennels,” Applied Animal Behavior Science
- Kogan, L.R., Schoenfeld-Tacher, R., and Simon, A.A., 2012, “Behavioral Effects of Auditory Stimulation on Kenneled Dogs,” Journal of Veterinary Behavior
- Lloyd, J.K.F., 2017, “Minimising Stress for Patients in the Veterinary Hospital: Why It Is Important and What Can Be Done about It,” Veterinary Sciences
- McConnell, P., 1990, “Acoustic Structure and Receiver Response in Domestic Dogs, Canis Familiaris,” Animal Behavior
- Snowden, C.T., Teie, D., and Savage, M., 2015, “Cats Prefer Species-Appropriate Music,” Applied Animal Behavior Science
- Tenenbaum, D., 2015, “Music: Is It an Animal Thing?” UWMadScience
- Wells, D.L., Graham, L., and Hepper, P.G., 2002, “The Influence of Auditory Stimulation on the Behaviour of Dogs Housed in a Rescue Shelter,” Animal Welfare