Study: Dogs Prefer to Listen to Reggae and Soft Rock

PetMD Editorial
Published: January 31, 2017
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Whether you're listening to music in your car, or cranking some tunes at home, your dog is listening right alongside you. And, it turns out, canines prefer certain genres of music over others, so you may want to adjust your radio dial. 

According to a recently published study titled "The Effect of Different Genres of Music on the Stress Levels of Kennel Dogs," researchers at the University of Glasgow—along with the help of the Scottish SPCA—found that canines, when given the choice of Motown, Pop, Classical, Soft Rock, and Reggae got the most enjoyment out of the latter two musical categories. 

In a statement, researcher and PhD student Amy Bowman said, "We were keen to explore the effect playing different genres of music had, and it was clear that the physiological and behavioral changes observed were maintained during the trial when the dogs were exposed to a variety of music." 

The study found that when kennel dogs heard the soothing sounds of reggae or soft rock, their stress levels decreased and their Heart Rate Variability (HRV) was "significantly higher." 

While the study found that no genre of music actually affected a dog's barking, "Dogs were found to spend significantly more time lying and significantly less time standing when music was played, regardless of genre."

So, if you need your dog to stay off his paws and relax a bit, playing some Bob Marley or Fleetwood Mac could do the trick. 

However, as Chris Miller, DVM, of Atlas Vet in Washington, D.C. points out, it's not just music that can help your pups chill out. White noise machines, he notes, have also been helpful with training or creating a calming atmosphere. 

Miller also tells petMD that even if your doggie does like music, volume is key. "It is important to remember that dogs hear a very wide range of frequencies and overall have much better hearing than humans. Playing music too loud can be uncomfortable for them and defeat the purpose of using music to help them relax," he says. "Making sure the volume doesn’t exceed 60 dBA will help insure the music isn’t uncomfortable to the dog and that there isn’t damage being done to the ear." 

Image via Shutterstock 

If you're still curious about the impact on music and sounds on your pet, check out these related articles: 

7 Ways to Naturally Calm Your Pet 

Music Therapy: What's Good for the Dog is Good for the Cat, Too

Scary Sounds: Understanding Noise Phobia in Dogs