March 8, 2014
Did you know that dogs actually enjoy music? Of course you did. How many of us leave the radio and/or TV on when we are going out and leaving our anxious puppy behind? But did you know that dogs don’t really appreciate human-type music…that they are attuned to a different pace in music…or that most human music is too fast and/or too loud for them (not necessarily the volume, but the presentation of it)?
I didn’t know this either until I came across a website called Through a Dog’s Ear. The site description for it reads, “Using music to improve the lives of dogs…and their people!”
Ling Ling and Music
Now, ever since LingLing was a little puppy, Ernest and I have used music to soothe her if she got too excited, and especially if we had to leave her for any length of time. We are convinced that this practice accustomed her to being left alone for short periods of time without too much separation anxiety on her part (it didn’t do much for my separation anxiety though). I didn’t have any scientific proof at the time for doing this…I just instinctively picked out a station with the kind of music I thought was soothing. When we leave the TV on for the dogs, we set it to the Weather Channel. The music on that and the talking are modulated to be relatively soothing, and the dogs enjoy it.
Anyhow, along comes this lady named Lisa Spector, who is a concert pianist, Julliard graduate, and canine music expert. By combining her passion for music with her love of dogs, she co-founded Through a Dog’s Ear.
About the Music
According to Lisa’s site: “The music of Through a Dog’s Ear builds on the ground breaking psychoacoustic research of Dr.Alfred Tomatis (1920-2001). Known as the ‘Einstein of the ear,’ Tomatis discovered the extraordinary powers of sound as a ‘nutrient for the nervous system.’ His therapeutic discoveries redefine modern psychoacoustics — the study of the effect of music and sound on the human nervous system.”
And there you have it…something nearly everyone who has ever been a teenager intuitively knows is that music can soothe everything from a broken fingernail to a broken heart. What is even more surprising is that this works tremendously well for animals.
Again, according to Lisa’s site: “These recordings are psychoacoustically designed to support you and your dog’s compromised immune or nervous system function. When the immune or nervous system is heavily taxed, a natural reaction is to self-limit the amount of auditory or visual stimulation coming into the system. However, the ‘nutrients’ of sound are needed the most when life energy is at a low ebb or when neurodevelopmental (including sensory) issues are present. To facilitate maximum sound intake while conserving energy output, the method of simple sound has been created.”
Trying It Out
I tried some of the website’s sample classical dog music, first listening to it for myself (it’s very brief, but there are lots of samples), then watching my dogs’ reaction. I found the music a little boring and difficult to listen to, even although I love classical music. However, the dogs seemed to like it and settled calmly into their various pillows and beds scattered around my office.
I intend to get some of Lisa’s CD’s in my next splurging spree. I am convinced they work…and the music is individually specialized; some of it is for calming puppies, some of it to address issues of older dogs, and so on. If you would like to listen to some of it, you can go here for a brief doggy-style sound bite of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and decide for yourself. It’s wonderful to watch Oreo melt into a puddle, Tilly Tot to fall asleep so fast you’d miss it if you blinked. And LingLing settles into a little curled up ball. One note of caution if you come into my office. The dogs are all older ShihTzus, with the typical pushed-in noses. Consequently, all three snore…very loudly.
(Note: My apologies for not producing the promised article, “38 Benefits of Owning a Dog.” I was unable to obtain permission to reblog the article, especially the infographic that comprised the main body of the article. Here is a link to the article so that you can see it for yourselves.)
How about your pets? What anxieties do they have that are debilitating (separation, thunder and other sharp or loud noises, unusual noises, fear of being alone (especially puppies and kittens)? How do you deal with these anxieties and help your pet cope with them?
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(Next week watch for Part 1 of “Let the (Doggy) Games Begin!”)
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Sandra Bell Kirchman.
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