Can Music Relax Dogs?

Did you know that music can help relax dogs during these noisy holiday times?
Can Music Relax Dogs?

Last update: 19 February, 2021

There’s a lot of evidence that music can have an effect on different living organisms, including plants. But can music really help relax dogs and other pets?

Home life can be quite noisy at times, and these stimuli and new events can be very stressful for many dogs. Some of them can suffer from anxiety that can be really dangerous for them. Here are some tips on how to use music as a relaxation method for dogs.

Can music relax dogs?

According to scientific studies that took place in facilities like kennels or animal shelters, classical music seems to pacify animals the most.

Is it possible to cure a dog’s anxiety by playing classical music? Unfortunately, the answer is no. If you add a new stimulus to a nervous and stressed dog, things will only get much worse.

However, you can train a dog to relax when listening to certain types of tunes. Of course, this won’t take place overnight. It takes time and dedication from the trainer.

Music can help relax dogs.

Throughout the year, training should start in situations in which the dog is already very relaxed. The owner should select a set of melodic songs in a low key and, in the meantime, pet the dog and spend some time with it.

All this makes the animal relate the various sounds with a soothed state of mind. It’s important to always use the same songs at the beginning and, little by little, increase the repertoire.

While using music as a form of relaxation training, you can also use other types of activities. For example, while listening to music in the background, sniffing games help your dog to focus its attention on a task at hand – for example, looking for treats or its own food around the house.

By doing this type of training throughout the year, music can be a great help when your dog gets into a state of acute stress caused by noise during the holidays.

Do all types of music relax dogs in the same way?

No. Different sounds influence the dog’s nervous system differently, just as they do in humans. Empirically, research has shown that heavy metal increases stress and anxiety levels in dogs, for example.

On the other hand, if a owner’s favorite music is this genre, the pet will probably like it, too. This is because, when the guardian listens to their favorite music, they’ll be happier, more relaxed, and calm. Of course, the canine knows this and, for him, this kind of sound will mean that his human companion is okay.

Of course, this isn’t always the case. In fact, there may be animals that can’t tolerate any kind of music or excessively loud noise coming from an electronic device that they don’t understand. In these cases, desensitization therapies conducted by certified trainers often work very well.

How to use music when the holidays arrive?

Once the dog has been trained for weeks or months, it’s time to test whether it’s had any benefit. While music can help relax dogs, it shouldn’t be used on its own.

As in any other stressful situation, it’s best to prepare a shelter where the animal can take refuge and feel safe. Closing doors and windows to keep out sound from the street also helps.

Once this is under control, you can turn on the music. It’s very beneficial for the guardian to sit close to the animal, pet it, cuddle it, talk softly to it, and even cuddle it if the dog likes to be cuddled.

A woman sitting on the couch listening to music with her dog.

Some people think that touching a dog when it’s nervous or stressed is worse because it reinforces that state or emotion. This is a big misconception, as emotions and moods can’t be reinforced, only behavior.

If the bond with the animal is healthy and strong, go ahead, sit next to them, and reassure them so that they understand that they’re not alone when they’re afraid. Little by little, albeit slowly, the dog will improve and their anxiety levels will decrease.

It might interest you...
Tips on How to Calm a Dog with Anxiety
My AnimalsRead it in My Animals
Tips on How to Calm a Dog with Anxiety

Dogs and humans experience similar feelings. For both, negative experiences from the past and stressful situations can trigger anxiety attacks. Kno...

  • Bernardini, L., & Niccolini, A. (2015). Does music calm the dog?. DOG BEHAVIOR, 1(2), 13-17.
  • Engler, W. J., & Bain, M. (2017). Effect of different types of classical music played at a veterinary hospital on dog behavior and owner satisfaction. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 251(2), 195-200.
  • Ramekar, U. V., & Gurjar, A. A. (2016, January). Emperical study for effect of music on plant growth. In 2016 10th International Conference on Intelligent Systems and Control (ISCO) (pp. 1-4). IEEE.