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What Type of Music Do Dogs Love Best?

A new study looked at different genres of music to find a canine favorite.


A study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior looked at dogs' reactions to different types of music that were played in a shelter in Scotland, The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It's been previously found that classical music played in animal shelters can have a calming effect on dogs but on the down side, dogs tend to habituate to it quickly and it loses its positive benefits.

In the latest study, the researchers played five different types of music to the shelter dogs over the course of five days, varying each type during that period. The goal was to see if changing up the type of music would handle the habituation effect found when you play the same type. They found that dogs laid down more during the music period though it had little effect on barking other than barking increased when the music was stopped.

In terms of musical genre, they tested the dogs' heart rate and found that soft rock and reggae led to the lowest levels of stress, compared to Motown, pop and classical music. All the genres did appear to have a stress-reducing effect overall, and varying the types across the five day period did seem to indicate that this could produce longer term benefits although research on longer periods of time is necessary.

So next time you and your dog are stressing over a run, consider pulling out the iPod and playing some Bob Marley to put both of you in a relaxed state of mind!

Source: Bowman A, Scottish SPCA, Dowell FJ, Evans NP. (2017) The effect of different genres of music on the stress levels of kennelled dogs. Physiology & Behavior. 171:15 March, 207-215.

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