Does your dog have a tendency to run around in circles and bite at the air? Is your house a cacophony of YAP YAP YAP BARK BARK BARK WOOF WOOF WOOF? Do you find yourself wishing you could slip your pup one of your Xanaxes?
Well science has a better solution: Play your pooch some Bob Marley and Bryan Adams.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow (in concert with the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) conducted a study to determine if music—and which genres—could help dogs relax. The scientists recorded shelter dogs’ stress levels (determined by heart rate, cortisol level, and behavior) as they listened to six-hour Spotify playlists from five different music genres.
The result? Dogs were less stressed when listening to music overall, and they showed a preference for reggae and soft rock. (The least popular genre was Motown.) This builds on a previous research that proved dogs prefer varied musical genres because it prevents them from getting habituated and bored.
While this makes a great argument to leave Phil Collins Pandora Radio on while you go to work, the findings could actually have a much larger effect on dogs in need.
“We want dogs to have as good an experience as they can in a shelter,” says Neil Evans, the study’s co-author and a professor of integrative physiology. Playing music can create a calming environment in shelters—which are often scary for dogs—plus, relaxed dogs have a higher likelihood of getting adopted.
Cue up “I Love My Dog” by Cat Stevens, please!
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