Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Musical Canine

Nope - the title isn't about farts.

Some animal psychologists suggest that your dog might be able to respond (ie. like or dislike) to your music. According to this article, research has been a little wishy-washy in that department, but some folks swear their animals can really dig certain types of music.

To test this fascinating hypothesis, I took to my iTunes for a little research of my own. I plunked Azi by the stereo and played some Springsteen at a normal range of volume. Then I turned it up, because frankly, there was an awesome sax solo happening at the time. Then, I turned it down low, until it was barely audible. In all three instances, this is the response I got: 

Dog, jamming to the Boss.
Ok, that didn't really happen. I listen to different types of music at different volumes and the dog doesn't seem to notice much at all. With one exception: certain "pitches" of musical instruments do catch her attention. However, her response usually has more to do with interest rather than pleasure or displeasure. A high-pitched flute note can cause her to perk up her ears and stare at the speakers, as if there might be an animal trapped inside. Not exactly what the musician intended, I bet.

Do you leave classical music on for your dog when you leave the house? I do sometimes. While there has been loads of research done on the effect of music on other animals (human fetuses included!), dog-specific research is sort of sparse. Deborah Wells, from Queen's University in Belfast, led a study that was quite unique. It found that dogs who listened to classical music were more relaxed and well-behaved than when listening to metal or pop. I can relate.

Does your dog seem to show a preference for certain types of music? Got a furry ABBA fan on your hands (I'm not talking about your father or uncle)?

While you think about conducting your own research, let me inspire you with an excerpt from "Classical Music For Dogs". With a video that has 88, 995 YouTube hits and counting, maybe they're on to something ...

No comments: