I knew there had to be research somewhere that would unquestionably demonstrate the value of Beethoven over heavy metal, even for my dachshund Neo. Now I have the "proof." The Bide-A-Wee Animal Shelter in New York has discovered, reports the Christian Science Monitor, that classical music quiets and calms homeless dogs in a local shelter.
Researchers have long argued that music has a positive effect upon humans. Now shelter workers, dog trainers, groomers and boarding kennel operators are using music to calm their cannine friends. The vice-president of Bide-A-Wee says "Shelters are inherently a stressful environment." I guess, barking all day long does get old real fast even for dog lovers like me. But by playing Beethoven and Mozart not only is baby happier but dog noise levels can be reduced by 25%. And the pay-off, as the shelter vice-president notes, is that "Potential adopters are getting to see the dogs in a better light." Less and less homeless dogs sounds like a good deal to me.
And now we have some real science to prove a major conclusion about music I have always believed anyway. The School of Psychology at Queens Univesity in Belfast, Ireland, found in a 2002 study that classical music actually encouraged dogs to rest more and bark less. Whew! Now that is just what the doctor ordered for my house. You see, I work around my dog 24/7. And my little mini-dachshund barks way too much for my sensitive soul.
But wouldn’t other music get the same results as Beethoven? Pam Dennison of Positive Motivation Dog Training in Blairstown, New Jersey, says her dogs are more relaxed with the classical music. I believe her. That’s that!
But there is always someone to rain on these joyful new discoveries. Animal behavorist Nicholas Dodman, at Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, believes "separation anxiety" is the greatest problem in homeless dogs. He argues that what dogs really need are the sounds of a normal household. (What on earth are these sounds, given the state of most American households?) Dodman recommends that shelters play a tape of dishwasher noise, along with a television going in the background.
I conclude, now that I have my "scientific" proof, take the Beethoven and leave the extraneous noise for your dog if you like. Can there be any doubt that Neo will be a better behaved doxie if I play my classical music? I need to get her into the good music sooner than later I assure you.
I do wonder what great new survey will appear in tomorrow’s news informing me about how to better manage my life now that I know how to calm my little pal Neo!