Millions of pet owners leave the TV, iPod, or some form of background noise playing to help sooth their dogs when they are not home. But have you ever wondered whether or not they prefer a specific genre?
Researchers in Scotland have! They played five different types of music to a group of shelter dogs and assessed their physiological and behavioral responses to see which they found most relaxing.
The genres included soft rock, Motown, pop, reggae and classical.
The Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow teamed up for the study and have since published a paper on the subject. Although there were two specific genres that garnered the best overall responses, each dog appeared to have its own individual tastes!
Neil Evans, Professor of Integrative Physiology at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine said:
“Overall, the response to different genres was mixed, highlighting the possibility that like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences.”
Evans and his team conducted their experiment by playing samples from each genre to dogs at a rehoming centre in Dumbarton. They assessed their level of relaxation by monitoring how much time the dogs spent standing versus lying down. They also measured their heart rates to see which types of music caused the biggest decrease.
The study suggests that dogs spend “significantly more time lying and significantly less time standing” when any music is played, regardless of genre.
But if you really want to play your pup a chill groove, researchers recommend reggae! Of all five musical varieties, the dogs were at their most relaxed when this laid back beach music was pumped into the shelter. Soft rock came in second.
In response to the findings, the Scottish SPCA plans to invest in sound systems for all its shelters. Gilly Mendes Ferreira, of the SSPCA said:
“At present both our Glasgow and Edinburgh centres are able to pipe music into their kennels. In the future every centre will be able to offer our four-footed friends a canine-approved playlist, with the view to extending this research to other species in our care.”
This simple change will hopefully reduce anxiety in shelter dogs and help them get adopted sooner!
So the next time you head off to work or for a night on the town, crank some Bob Marley – or maybe a little Phil Collins if reggae isn’t your thing!
H/T to BBC.com
Featured Image via Flickr/Jonathan Grado (Note:this image has been edited)