Last updated March 8, 2017 at 10:58 am
Does your dog need to chill out? Tried everything you can think of? Maybe crank some Bob Marley and see what happens.
Researchers working with animal shelters in Scotland have discovered what they claim to be dogs’ favourite music – reggae and soft rock. However, it didn’t please all dogs, just like humans they might have personal preferences.
Six-hour Spotify playlists were pumped out into the kennels of animal shelters whilst the behaviour of the dogs, their heart rate and stress hormone levels were monitored to find out what effect the music had. The genres used were pop, soft rock, classical, reggae and Motown. The dogs were generally less stressed when they were played any music, with more time spent lying down and a calmer heart rate, signs of relaxation.
While there were some differences between individual dogs, suggesting that some dogs might prefer different types of music, overall the relaxation effect was strongest when played reggae or soft rock.
Given that animal shelters can be quite stressful for dogs with their noise and unfamiliarity, these findings could be quite important for ensuring dogs remain as comfortable as possible. As a result of these findings the Scottish SPCA is already working on plans to install sound systems into their kennels in an effort to reduce stress levels.
If they begin playing music for dogs, they may need to keep the playlist fresh, as previous research by the same research team found that dogs played classical music become accustomed to it, and the reduced levels of stress began wearing off by the end of a week.
For the research team however, the studies will continue to work out what it is about the music that dogs like. Is it particular sounds, pitches, tempos or repeating melodies? If they can crack the code, we may one day have artists making music specifically designed for dogs, which would be quite a way for struggling bands to make some money.