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Music for Dogs

Classical music calms shelter dogs.

It's well-known that being in a shelter can cause stress and anxiety for dogs. They may shake, pace, bark, whine, refuse to eat, and have difficulty sleeping. This nervousness can impact a dog's ability to be adopted because people may view him as anxious, ill-behaved, or hyper. Recently, after anecdotal reports from shelter workers, some researchers decided to study the impact of music on the behavior of shelter dogs.

Music's Effects on Shelter Dogs

Researchers looked at the behavior of 117 shelter dogs when heavy metal, classical, or no music was played. They specifically studied how much the dogs slept and monitored their vocalization frequency and body trembling.

Dogs that were exposed to classical music while kenneled slept more and vocalized and shook less than those listening to heavy metal or no music (Lori R. Kogan, 2012). In fact, dogs listening to heavy metal shook more. Researchers feel that playing classical music for dogs that must be kenneled can keep them calmer, which is good for the dogs mentally, physically, and may even improve their chances of adoption in a shelter setting.

When Music May Help

It's possible that classical music may help ease dogs' stress in other situations, as well, though they haven't been specifically studied. These include:

  • Dogs that stay in a boarding kennel while an owner is away.
  • Dogs that must be hospitalized in a veterinary clinic.
  • Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety while an owner is away from the home.

An added benefit to using classical music to calm dogs in situations that might be stressful to them is it may also ease the stress of the humans in the area.

Take a look at this wonderful CD of classical music for dogs. And if your local shelter isn't playing classical music in the kennel area, consider sharing this information with them. It may drastically improve the lives and adoption chances of some sweet canine cuddle bugs.

Works Cited

  1. Lori R. Kogan, R. S.-T. (2012, Sept-Oct). Behavioral effects of auditory stimulation on kenneled dogs. Retrieved from Journal of Veterinary Behavior: DOI:

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