Can Dogs Listen to Music?

Dog owners often leave their dogs at home with a radio or TV so their pets can listen to music when they are away. There are many music options available, including Mozart, Jim Morrison and Brad Paisley.

Our dogs will likely enjoy the music that we play. Do dogs actually like music?

Signs Your Dog Likes Music

Is your dog emotionally responsive to your music? Based on their behavior, studies have shown that dogs can distinguish between different genres of music. Dogs respond to classical music with signs of relaxation, while they react to louder or more aggressive metal and rock songs with signs of anxiety. To determine if your dog is happy with the music being played, it is important to observe your dog’s behavior.

You can tell if your dog likes your music by looking at them as the music plays. How are their ears responding? If they like the music, they might raise their ears or tilt their heads in fascination. If their ears drop to the floor, it is a sign they don’t like your song choice. Dogs who don’t respond to music with their body language are not likely to be offended or impressed by it.

Dogs love music: The History

Studies have shown that dogs are fully capable of recognizing pitch and tone. Have you ever noticed that a dog howling along with singing humans tends to be a bit “off key?”

Your dog is not tone-deaf. The difference in pitch is intentional. Wolves will deliberately howl in order to gather their pack. Evidently, no wolf would want to be on the same note with another wolf in their pack. Researchers used recordings of wolves in order to determine whether wolves would change their tone if they heard howling from other members of their pack. They do.

However, does this translate into understanding the pitch and tones of howling?

Dogs like music: The Science Behind It

Research shows that dogs actually do share our capacity for liking music. Psychologist Deborah Wells studied this music appreciation by exposing shelter dogs to different music genres. The dogs listened to a selection of popular music (think Britney Spears, Robbie Williams and Bob Marley), classical music (think Beethoven and Mozart), or recordings of heavy rock bands (think Metallica and Slipknot). After observing all of the dogs’ behaviors, it was determined that the genre of music matters: The heavy metal music agitated the dogs, the pop music did not stir much reaction, and the classical music appeared to have a relaxing effect. While listening to classical, barking ceased and the dogs often laid down and got cozy.

Classic music is also a favorite of animal advocates. They claim that classical music calms dogs and stops them barking. Visitors stay longer, and adoption rates increase!

Charles Snowdon, an animal psychologist, further discovered that animals march to their own beat, even your dog. Animals enjoy what is known as “species-specific musicality”, which is music that uses the same pitches, tones, and tempos as animals.

Music that is within our musical range, that uses pitches and tones we understand, is music that appeals to us humans. Our music might not be easily recognized by other animals like our dogs because it uses tones and pitches that are different than what the animals are naturally able to understand. Different animals have different vocal ranges, and they aren’t wired for music that is meant to be enjoyed by humans.

Two songs were created by researchers specifically for monkeys in 2009. The monkeys’ vocalizations are three octaves better than ours. The songs were as unpleasant and shrill to us humans as they were to the monkeys. However, the monkeys seemed to love the music. The monkeys were visibly excited and active when the song was based on exaggerated monkey tones. Another song, which featured happier monkey tones and was slower, made the monkeys more social and calm.

It may be difficult to write a song for your dog because there are so many breeds of dogs. Researchers believe Labradors and Labradors have vocal ranges similar to adult male human humans. This means that they might be more responsive to our music.

Train your dog to like music

Whether your dog likes or even recognizes your type of music depends on the kind of dog. You can introduce your pup to music by playing your music softly while you are there. This way, you can analyze your pup’s behavior for any signs of discomfort. Since studies show that dogs prefer classical, it may be best to start with these relaxing tunes. If your pup seems relaxed and happy, this may be a sign that your pup likes your taste!

Because we don’t know how the environment can affect our emotions or feelings, it is best to limit how loud and unusual noises your dog has to hear. Dogs don’t always know where the sounds are coming form and why.

Other benefits can be gained by teaching your dog how to love music. Dogs learn new things to help them develop and expand their brain capabilities. It keeps dogs alert as they age, and it also increases the bond between you two.

Your pup will associate music with happy memories and being together over time.