Can dogs hear music the way we do?

AI image of small brown and white dog with headphones on

Dogs like music. In fact, they dogs don’t just like music, they are emotionally affected by it. Music can make they react with behaviors like barking, howling, moving in circles, tail chasing or even relaxation. Your dog will either calm down or get excited depending on what you put on the stereo and how loud it is. Typically slow, soft wind instruments help dogs wind down, and heavier beats or faster tempos can get them excited or stressed out.

Can Dogs Hear Music?

It’s true that a dog’s ears are more sensitive than our own. So, they will be able to hear the songs that you play. But, it also means they can hear at higher frequencies than we can, so when you listen to music with your dog around, it’s important to remember this.

AI image of dog with headphones

A dog’s hearing range falls between 47 and 44,000 Hz. In comparison human hearing ranges vary from as low as 20 to 20,000 Hz.

Just like humans, certain types of music can calm your dog while others can hype them up. And, many dogs show preferences for certain types.

Do Dogs Like Music?

Perhaps the unsurprising answer to this question is yes! Dogs do enjoy music. And not only do they enjoy it, they have musical preferences unique to their own personalities!

Many people that play music for their pups notice changes in their behavior, which leads us to make assumptions about their feelings towards the music.

Reactions can calming, agitation, barking, howling, and more. In fact, howling is one of the most common ways that dogs react to music.

But, different dogs will react differently.

Dogs That Howl To Music

There are hundreds of videos online of dogs howling along to various songs. As soon as a certain song is played, owners see their dog leaping to their feet to join in with the singing! Dogs have a sense of pitch and the reaction can appear to be singing if we humanize it, but it’s not known why the reaction occurs.

Whereas you may think that howling is a sign of pain, sadness, and agitation in a dog, that’s not always true. Wolves, for example, howl deliberately at a pitch different to that of other wolves. By ensuring they are not in tune, their voices stand out. And dogs are known to howl in the same way.

The music that induces the most howling seems to be music ripe with wind instruments such as flutes. So, if your dog is howling along to some music that you’re playing, they may be communicating through their own type of verbal cues.

What Kind of Music Do Dogs Like?

Shelter dogs who listened to heavy metal or grunge music began barking and showing signs of agitation. On the other hand, when classical music was played, their moods shifted and they were much calmer and more relaxed. When the dogs were exposed to pop music like Britney Spears or played recordings of humans talking to one another, they had little to no reaction at all.

This theory that classical music is most relaxing for dogs has been supported by many other studies.

Dogs have mixed reactions to different types of music. So, look at your dog for cues as to whether or not they are enjoying the music you’re playing. Soft rock and reggae genres were indicative of lowest stress levels in dogs studied, although all musical genres studied had a positive effect.

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