Music for Dogs
Ever wish that you and your dog could kick back and enjoy a few tracks off of your favorite album?
Well, as long as you're not into dissonant heavy metal, a recent batch of research out of Colorado State University (CSU) suggests that you may be in luck. Lori Kogan, an associate professor at CSU's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and her team published the study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
Kogan and her assistants took 117 dogs and played three different genres of music for them. The first was classical music of the sort you'd normally find in concert halls or on your Pandora station. The second was heavy metal, full of electric guitar, heavy bass rhythms, and shouted or screamed lyrics. The third was specially designed "psychoacoustic classic music," according to United Press International, specifically meant to soothe and relax animals.
The results were quite interesting. While a variety of dogs from numerous breeds enjoyed the classical music and found it more restful than the control group (which was exposed to no music at all), the heavy metal-listening dogs seemed agitated and uncomfortable. As for the psychoacoustic music that had been designed specifically for animals, Kogan reported that it had little effect at all.
Kogan isn't the only one interested in studies about dogs and music. CBS News reports that concert pianist Lisa Spector noticed that her own dog quieted down when she practiced her instrument. Sharing these observations with sound researcher, Joshua Leeds, the duo began making music specifically for dogs - perhaps some in the psychoacoustic vein that Kogan used during her experiments. "The vibrations that a piano brings on - I've never met a dog in my entire life who just doesn't totally love... those sounds," Spector told CBS' The Early Show.
One thing's for certain: music clearly doesn't have to be too simple for dogs to enjoy. While piano music is undoubtedly uncomplicated, most classical music is praised for its soothing qualities as well as its immense aural complexities. Perhaps dogs just know how to appreciate Beethoven and Bach a bit better than we anticipated! Hopefully a study on preferred periods (Baroque, Romantic, and Impressionist) will follow!