Does music sooth the savage beast?

Some people leave the TV or radio running for their pup while they are out, in hopes of calming them and keeping them occupied by the sound, while other people don’t believe this to be necessary. We decided to look into the research, and see what had been found out about your cockapoo’s taste in music. Or if she has any at all! Here’s what we found.

There have actually been several studies into the music and dogs question, and they all seem to have similar results. One experiment of note was not a scientific study at all, but rather some dog lovers who were also composers and musicians. In 1980, a concert was created and performed in Carnegie Hall, called Howl. It was a musical work composed for 3 canines and 20 human voices. The composer was a pianist and he also wrote two more musical works before 1985, which incorporated dogs howls, barks, and yips into the presentation. Those were performed for humans, so we don’t really know how dogs would have felt about them, had they been part of the audience!

Since then, the studies that have been done involve dogs in shelters or boarding kennels mostly, although some research has been done in studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, by an animal psychologist named Charles Snowden. He decided that music could be created for dogs with different tempos from human music, due to the dogs having a different sense of pitch and different heart rate. The studies say that humans react to music in a different way than dogs, due to it being specifically tailored to beats and tones that the majority of humans recognize easily. Therefore, Snowden worked with a composer to create species specific music for dogs. Some of the beats were slowed or tones removed to sound more soothing.

Since that time, songs and entire albums have been made specifically for dogs. The most well-known of these CDs or MP3s is available on Amazon and is called Through A Dogs Ear. It is a collaboration between dog lover and musician Lisa Spector and sound researcher Joshua Reed. We here at have not experienced any of the CDs created by these two, but some people swear by them and use them daily.

So does this mean you should run out and find these CDs or download music made just for your cockapoo? Not necessarily. Other fairly in depth studies done on dogs in kennels and shelters yielded similar results, but did not assume that any special music needs to be created for your pup. The studies were done over several months with dogs of differing sizes. They played heavy metal music, slow classical music, and everyday pop music like you might hear on a Top 40  station. The studies consistently showed that the dogs were agitated by the heavy metal music and soothed by the classical. The pop music had about the same effect as recordings of people talking or everyday sounds.

Obviously, these studies were done in an environment where stress is more common, so your cockapoo might be okay with some of the harder stuff at home. People will often play the music they enjoy most for their dog, but you know your cockapoo’s mannerisms, so if you notice he slinks out of the room or gets more antsy when you play your Slipknot MP3s, you may want to switch to something a little slower and more soothing, if you want your pooch to be more calm and relaxed.

In general, the research we looked over had some good points, but nothing in-depth or scientific enough to make us think it is necessary for you to leave music going for your cockapoo. If you like to have some sound in the house to block outside sounds when you are gone, music is a good choice. If you have never really thought about your dog’s reaction to the music he hears, maybe do a little experiment of your own. Have some downtime with your cockapoo and play some different music genres. If you don’t have a wide variety of music at home, download some legal¬†MP3s. Maybe he will love some Johnny Cash or rock out to AC/DC. Maybe he just likes to chill out with some Lawrence Welk or Beethoven.

We would love to hear from our readers about what music you think your cockapoo likes, too!