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Dogs in animal shelters were less likely to bark and more likely to sleep to classical music than heavy metal, music specially formulated for animals, or no music, according to a new study by a Colorado State University associate professor.
Lori Kogan, who is in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a licensed psychologist, played different music within at a shelter over the course of four months while recording dogs’ behaviors. Music selections were played for 45 minutes with behavioral observations recorded every 5 minutes. Each music selection was followed by a period of silence, resulting in thousands of behavioral recordings.
Kogan’s study suggests that heavy metal induces more nervous shaking in dogs. Playing classical music appeared to calm dogs more than other music selections or no music at all, according to the study, which appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
Kogan suggests that since dogs in shelters can be impacted by the music played within a facility, this gives shelters a way to create a more positive environment for dogs for relatively minimal cost and effort.
She suggests that shelters refrain from playing heavy metal music because of the detrimental impact it may have on dogs’ stress and anxiety levels. Instead, it is suggested that shelters play classical music as a cost-efficient, practical way to enhance the environment and the welfare of shelter dogs.
Kogan plans to do follow-up studies exploring the potential for music as a way to soothe animals in veterinary clinics and for surgical recovery.