When we leave home, even for a short amount of time, we worry about our dog. We want to make sure that our furry friend is comfortable and doesn’t get frightened, so we will often turn on some background noise.
For some of us, it means turning on the radio and allowing the DJ to visit with our pet for a while. For others, it could mean turning on the TV and letting them listen to one of our favorite shows.
It seems as if your dog does have a preference, and researchers from Queens University Belfast in Northern Ireland would like you to know about it. In fact, they posted information in Applied Animal Behaviour Science that shows us how to de-stress our pooch properly.
82 dogs were used as part of the study to see whether they were comforted more by narrative or music. The music that they chose was Mozart’s “Sonata in D for Two Pianos” and they used the audiobook “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” for the narrative.
They also had a control group of dogs that sat in a silent room while the owners left for a short amount of time. They then looked at the behavior of all of the dogs to see what worked well.
The dogs in the control group were able to sit still calmly in silence. That is defined in the study as lying down for over 30 seconds. The dogs that heard Mozart, however, seemed to be calmer than the others.
According to the BBC, researchers said: “Dogs exposed to classical music were significantly faster to lie down than animals in the audiobook condition and quicker to settle than animals in the audiobook and control conditions.”
Interestingly, the audiobook did seem to have an effect on dogs when their owners left. The problem is, it didn’t seem to have an effect on their stress level. This is likely because they could tell the difference between the speaker on the audiobook and the owner’s voice.
According to the paper, classical music provides a “moderately common effect” and there was no apparent benefit of playing an audiobook for your dog.
Researchers went on to say: “The research points to auditory stimulation having little value to dogs in situations of short-term acute stress.”