We all know that music can change our frame of mind and elicit feelings of joy and calmness. But can it work for dogs?
YES! Extensive research has proven that calming music promotes relaxation and subdues anxious behaviors in dogs. It can also be used as a tool to re-condition associations and triggers to anxiety.
A dog's spectrum for music appreciation is different from that of a human. Dogs need simpler sounds. Classical music with slow, soothing, and simple patterns in lower frequencies are perfect. Try a music featuring solo piano, cello, oboe, or English horn. Make sure the composition is simple and requires minimal neurological processing. Pick out some of your own favorite songs. Or try one of the many canine specific collections available on-line or at local pet and music stores.
Follow these steps for introducing sound as calming therapy:
- Introduce the music when your dog is calm state of mind.
- Create associations with the music that are calming such as a light massage or belly rub.
- Begin to use the music and relaxing touch as a reward for a calm state of mind.
- Eventually use the music as a lead-in to moments of potential anxiety. For example, turn on the music and help your dog relax before a trip to the vet or on a long car ride.
Your own relaxed state of mind and body during the music therapy sessions are key to it's success. A zen dog needs a zen owner. Kick back, relax, and enjoy some tunes with your favorite pooch by your side. Ahhh.... I'm relaxed just thinking about it.