Dogs and Music: Calming Your Furry Friend
Some pups have no chill. When they're stressed, restless, or hyperactive, they may need help bringing it down a notch. If this describes your doggie pal, take heart: Help might be as close as your favorite music app.
Does music calm doggos? The short answer is yes. When it comes to dogs and music, though, your entire playlist may not be up to the task. Here's what you need to know about how to calm your pup with music, including why it works and the most soothing jams.
Why Music Makes Dogs Relax
Researchers are still exploring the science behind dogs and music, and why it calms them. They've uncovered that — much like their human companions — certain types of music can help ease dogs' stress. Music can also affect the brain's limbic system, the part of the brain that regulates emotion, and the autonomic system, or the signals that tell your pup when it's time to be alert or rest. In other words, your furry friend's reaction to music may be similar to your own. She can benefit in the same way that you might when you turn on a chill playlist to unwind after a stressful day.
Some genres of music can lower your pupper's heart rate and make it easier for her to settle down and relax.
Bonus: It can also make her less vocal. If you've got an incessant barker or whiner, playing the right music may keep her quiet — and lower your stress, too.
What Kind of Music to Play
The types of music that have the most calming effect on dogs are classical, soft rock, and reggae. Faster beats, heavy bass, and loud sounds tend to make pups more agitated. That means hard rock, pop, dance beats, and hip-hop are out. A rousing marching band overture with a firework-worthy finish also isn't ideal, especially if your furry friend fears loud noises.
Use Music to Calm Your Dog
While it's an easy solution, don't rush to put on the radio for your buddy. Commercials and unpredictable programming may not calm her at all. Consider creating a playlist for her or find one on a streaming service, which have entire channels devoted to music for calming dogs.
Whatever you play, you'll want to mix it up. Playing the exact same music — or even the same genre of music — for her over and over will desensitize her to it.
If your pal has separation anxiety, it's important to play music at different times of the day. If you only turn it on when you're headed out, she'll learn it means you're leaving, which may cause her more stress. Instead, teach her to associate music with relaxation by playing it both when you're home and away.
Here are some other times it might be helpful to play music to calm your dog:
You want to quiet her barking or whining
You're helping her adjust to a new environment
It's time for her to relax or go to sleep
She won't sit still
There's a thunderstorm or fireworks
She goes on car rides
She's at the vet or groomer
When you have a dog who's stressed out, it can put you both on edge. Music is a handy, take-with-you-anywhere solution that can help calm your bestie and soothe your own frazzled nerves, too.