Letting the radio play for your dog is common in homes to tune in to their moods.
Whether it’s classical music or the local radio station, many families say they feel it comforts their dog when left alone.
But is that wishful thinking or is there something in soothing tones to relax pets as we move from home to office again?
Our dogs’ mood, well-being, and behavior are even attracting the attention of companies selling music and TV shows specially designed for our pets, dubbing themselves “petflix” for the containment generation.
In 2011, the RelaxMyDog subscription was founded by producer Ricardo Henriquez and entrepreneur Amman Ahmed and, according to their website, the service has been used by millions of dog parents to help their puppy overcome anxiety, stress, boredom and loneliness.
And today science is determined to unravel the reality behind the claims and you may be able to help them.
Today, scientists from Northern Ireland are working on the impact of music on dogs in a major study at Queen’s University in Belfast.
Overseen by world-renowned psychologist Dr Deborah Wells, the university is looking for healthy local dogs to participate in a study to show whether classical music can really have a positive impact on dogs’ moods.
Rachael Kinnaird, PhD student at the QUB School of Psychology, said: âClassical music has been shown to improve the welfare of animals in captivity. However, the various effects that classical music actually has on animals outside of the captive environment are still largely unknown.
âThis research aims to further explore how animals respond to classical music, focusing specifically on companion dogs.
“We invite the public to help us, looking for healthy dogs to invite to participate in one of the studies designed for this research program, in this case focusing on how classical music affects the behavior of dogs. ‘a dog in an unfamiliar environment.
âWe hope that this study will allow us to better understand the effects of classical music on the behavior and well-being of dogs. We are looking to recruit healthy companion dogs that are not currently taking any medication to participate in this study. “
Dr Wells has shown in other studies that dogs respond positively to soothing sounds, depending on tempo and gender, that music can help relax dogs and ease their anxieties.
Classical music, soft rock and reggae seem to have the most positive impact, but fast tempo heavy metal music can have the opposite effect. So it looks like Mozart and Bob Marley are in favor of Motorhead and Iron Maiden for peace-seeking dogs.
If you are accepted into the Queen’s University study, you and your dog will be invited to the Animal Behavior Center at Queen’s University School of Psychology in Belfast.
Rachael said: âThe idea behind this study is to see if classical music can improve a dog’s mood, essentially seeing if it can make him happier.
âThe study has two parts, training and testing. In training, dogs learn the location of two food bowls, one empty – we call it the negative location and the other. containing a cookie that we call the positive location.
“Once they learn both locations by moving faster to the one with the cookie, they move on to testing.
âIn testing, the food bowl is placed in three new locations, near the positive location, in the middle and near the negative location, and the dog has the opportunity to approach each new location.
“The idea is that because the dog has not seen the bowl in these positions, he has to judge whether the bowl contains a cookie or not and the faster he moves towards the bowl, the more optimistic he is, and therefore the more happy, So we want to see if music can influence that.
âYou will be in the same room as your dog for the tests and you will be asked to keep him on a leash while the bowls are placed. If you are interested, you may be asked twice to participate in a repeat of this study. The rehearsals will be one month apart and take place over two months. This is an optional step in this study and if you do not wish to be contacted, you will not be. “
Scientists will be recording your dog’s behavior throughout, and you will also need to complete a short quiz about your dog’s behavior. Each study participant will be required to be available for approximately three hours. Participants who complete the study will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a Â£ 100 Amazon voucher.
Racheal said, âThere is no foreseeable risk involved in participating in this study. The information obtained will help us better understand the benefits of classical music for dogs and may be of interest to you as a pet owner. “
âParticipation in this study is completely voluntary and you can opt out at any time, for any reason,
âAll data collected will be stored securely in accordance with applicable data protection laws. Contact details of participants will be recorded and, if they wish, can be used to invite you to participate in future research studies.
“This study is organized by Queen’s University Belfast and has received ethical approval from the
Music therapy is popular in treating humans and is said to help lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, and even relieve pain. And we know that music is played by some farmers to suckle cattle, especially water buffaloes. But now the research on the issue of music helping our dogs is gaining momentum.
And the world leader in animal behavior, Dr Deborah Wells, supervisor of this year’s QUB study, found in his 2002 study that classical music helped calm shelter dogs, encouraging them to rest more and bark less.
His study explored the influence of five types of auditory stimulation, human conversation, classical music, heavy metal music, pop music, and behavioral control of 50 dogs housed in a rescue shelter.
And she found that dogs’ activity and vocalization were significantly related to auditory stimulation. Dr Wells found that dogs spent more time resting and less time standing when classical music was played than when any of the other stimuli were played.
But exposure to heavy metal music has encouraged dogs to spend much more time barking than other types of auditory stimulation. Dr. Wells’ study suggested that the welfare of protected dogs can be enhanced by exposure to appropriate sound forms, and classical music has been found to be particularly beneficial. She also found that classical music can appeal to visitors as well, resulting in a better perception of the shelter environment and an increased desire to adopt a dog.
Videos designed specifically for dogs are also made for commercial purposes, with some companies creating videos with graduated colors specifically for the sight of dogs, others focusing on nature videos including grazing horses, bird watching or a virtual dog walk. These videos tend to move at a smooth pace, they don’t have a lot of action, and tend to be accompanied by relaxing music.
If you are interested in learning more about the Queen’s University Dog Study, you can contact Rachael Kinnaird at [email protected]