How Does Music Help Dogs?

"When there are dogs and music, people have a good time."
-Emmilou Harris

If you are a pet parent, there are almost cent percent chances that they are your best pals, and who hasn't been overthrown by the magic of music in life? Music and dogs have proven to be man's best companions in times of misery and loneliness. Nothing can take the stress away like them; take the Covid-19 saga as an example!! What better if you get to know that music and dogs share a symbiotic relationship? Dogs respond to music as much as humans do. However, unlike humans, they do not have the aid of language to communicate their reception of music. Thus, their liking never came to the limelight. This topic continues to hold all the mystery, for it does not take much for music to become noise. On top of it, noise is subjective when it comes to homo sapiens and their doggo pals. So, what kind of music do dogs jam on? And how does music help dogs? Let's dive into these intriguing questions.

Do you also wonder how your dog gets to know about the coming of a guest before they even ring a bell or knock? Humans could never keep up to the sonic senses of a dog, not now, not ever. Yet, dogs boast a sonic anatomy, almost twice as good as a human. This is not a mere statement, it is backed by facts; while humans can only hear up to 20,000 Hz, but dogs can go on up to 40,000 Hz. Not only this, Sound waves travel for humans at speed four times slower than dogs. Humans hear up to an area of 20 feet, and dogs can hear up to an area of 80 feet.

So, are we saying that you and your best pals can never enjoy a good jamming session together? Absolutely no!

Dogs are a reflection of their hoomans. But, like everything else, our pooches eventually learn to develop the same taste, in this case, the same playlist as us.

It is just that, owing to their heightened hearing power, some sounds irritate them more than they could soothe them. In the puppy phase, the dog does not enjoy being around high-frequency sounds. Their physical structure, along with their sonic sensory system, is still in the budding stage. Exposing them to high frequency and intensity music can irritate them for a long time. It is best to gradually install music in their life at a lower intensity & volume and then roll in with their likings.

TRAINING

Since you involve music from a budding stage, it can be useful as positive reinforcement for a pet parent. A pet parent often uses music to give company to their pets when they are not with them. Once you associate staying alone with positive enforcements like music and good food, the process eases automatically. This process is called counter-conditioning, where dogs are made to learn how to live happily without their pet parents.

Various sounds are also used as a measure of therapy among our pooches. Sound therapy doesn't only pertain to human beings; it works equally well on our doggos, from improving the quality and quantity of their sleep to coping with their sense of longing. Music could play an important role in a dog's life if used effectively.

But again, the trigger alert remains the same; music cannot replace a dog sitter, especially for dogs dealing with severe Separation Anxiety.

SOUNDS TO COMMUNICATE

Dogs are believed to encode musical sounds to communicate with their pet parents and their fellow doggo pals. Have you paid attention to street dogs when a potential dog or thief is trying to get into their territory? All the dogs use howling and growling to gather an army of dogs to protect their territory.

Similarly, all the Instagram and YouTube trends that involve exposing the dog to a sound that makes them tilt their head or wag thrive on their ability to communicate through sounds.

This ability goes way back to their ancestors; the wild wolves use howling and roaring to call for meetings at the time of emergency. Your domesticated furry has learnt all the ways of your life, but some things are still intact to their ancestral characteristics, such as their ways of communication.

SLEEP

Sleep is the time of recovery and healing for any living organism. Of course, deep sleep is important for a dog, but due to its strong sonic senses, anything from a footstep to a truck horn can easily disturb their sleep.

How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night to witness the night owls in them? It is the lack of peace, for even a slight disturbance can affect them.

Factually speaking, disturbance from a deep slumber or normal sleep happens due to the change in the sound waves in the environment. This happens because the brain continues to perceive sensory stimuli even when the corporeal body is asleep. For a human, it takes a comparatively louder sound to bother, for they can not catch every Hz sounds, but our little pooches aren't that lucky in this case.

WHITE, PINK & BROWN NOISES

Although named noises, they do not have the same connotation of noises as we generally perceive. The knowledge of these noises has transformed the music system's history for dogs and can be put to work in many cases.

White noises are the noises that are supposed to work on an unknown frequency on the radio. These noises are like the white light that subsumes all the light in itself. It also works as stimuli for better memory, tinnitus, and concentration.

Second comes the Pink noise, which mimics the sound of rainfall and winds. As suggested in the previous blog, dogs love to be in the company of their natural environment. Therefore, sounds related to their natural environment is always a better idea than watching landscapes.

Pink noise is of relatively lower frequency than white noise; many people consider this to be a better option, for they find the white noise too harsh for their pooches.

The third is the Brown noise; this is the mildest of the above two. It involves the sound of the roar of river currents or strong winds. It is also a more 'rougher' form of sound.

The working of these noises is extremely important for dogs, for it helps to mask all other unwanted noises. At the time of Diwali, Guru Purab, or even Thanksgiving, when your dog is paranoid of the loud noises from outside, white noises can be used to calm the dog, as it will mask the loud noises of fireworks.

It also works brilliantly to provide trouble-free sleep. If your dog cannot sleep due to disturbances or any other reason, behavioural scientists suggest these noises provide a considerably stable sonic environment.

As you see in the above three distinctions, there is a descending order of frequency among the three noises, which takes us to the importance of frequency, beats, vibrations, volumes, and pitch.

FREQUENCY, VIBRATION, VOLUME, BEATS AND PITCH

To look at it, it is not new knowledge that animals, as a community, have been under the spell of music for ages now. Of course, we, humans, have incorporated lyrics in music to make it our own. But it is the beats that we tap our legs on; it is the frequency that soothes our soul.

A dog precisely looks for these attributes to work on its system. Sounds produce physical changes in them. Therefore, their brain waves tend to change with different kinds of sounds.

If beats are used to pep up a lazy dog, a lower intensity of the same beats can calm a hyperactive or fearful dog. The synchronisation of the molecular movement of a doggo with the frequency of music vibrates into a calmer doggo soul.

Thus, Dr Joshua Leeds proclaims music to work as a natural, organic sedative for dogs to acclimate stressful situations in their life.

GENRE

This brings us to the importance of knowing "their type". A plethora of genres suggests the subjectivity in the taste of music. Dogs are no different; the breed generally determines the choice. But primarily from the human playlist, dogs enjoy Reggae, Soft rock and Classical music.

This observation is the resultant of various experiments; one such is mentioned below. In addition, a paper authored by Brianna Aubin, Olivia Balduf and Ann Lambert from King Philip Regional High School, Wrentham, Massachusetts, on "Music's Effect on Dogs's Heart Rates" depicts that rock classical improves and maintains the ideal heart rate.

Another experiment by Guardian scientists represents the pacifying effect of music that lowers brain activity and heart rate. They exposed dogs to various musicians, and it was found that most of them were drawn towards Bob Marley the most. They also reasoned that his music has the same rhythm as a dog's heart. So, when the dog curls up in their human's lap with soft rock in the background, it reminds them of their mother. Music acts like their lost mother.

Such is the power and impact of music on our doggo souls and minds. The benefits do not pertain to themselves, but dogs share a symbiotic relationship with music. They have given back equally to music and musicians as they have gained from it. Some of the most successful musicians in the history of music have their dogs to owe their success.

The uncanny ability to identify the best among the many tones and pitches became the best critique for the musician. Richard Wilhelm Wagner used to play alongside his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He noticed that they would respond differently to different melodies depending on their keys. This led him to the discovery of the concept of matching music to emotions. The result was how he described his work, such as the opera Tannhauser. Peps little tail wags, tilted heads, barks and perking up led to some of the most amazing musical performances.

Similarly, a video from an open classical concert testifies the dog's approval for the musical tone, and the presence of this four-legged audience melted the hearts of many.

WRAPPING UP

"Music has no language!
 It just consists of emotions."
-Jay Shah

Nothing could justify the relationship between dogs and music better. It is the art of emoting without language that binds your doggo and music so well. The universality of music as an aid to almost every problem is an age-old Ayurvedic technique too. The secret behind subliminal music also lies in the mystery of music.

There is a very thin line between music and noise, which also differs from organism to organism. Thus, the trigger alert remains that any loud or abrasive noises can make the dog repel to those sounds by growling, howling and aggravating their anxiety for them. Dogs having personal trauma and dramatic life tend to be resistant to sensory stimuli.

Thus, the recurrent suggestion of consulting a Vet prevails! Every dog deserves sensitised individualistic attention and food. For the attention part, you and your Veterinarian are the best people, and for food, visit the online pet store to cater to their individualistic taste buds.