It’s said that “Music has charms to soothe the savage breast.”* Does it? If so, what kind of music? And for how long? And how savage a breast can be soothed?

I know, that’s too many questions. So let me distill that into: Can music really calm a dog that’s upset?

Do share your experiences on this topic.

*Yes, it’s breast, not beast — I would never call Frankie a beast, though he’s not nearly as civilized as the pup in the picture — and it’s William Congreve (from The mourning bride, 1697), not Shakespeare:

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.

17 thoughts on “Friday Focus: Music to their ears?”

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  2. There seems to be some research saying that it can. My favorite dog psychologist Stanley Coren also seems to think so.

    I couldn’t say I saw it working per say, I imagine it might depend on the degree and type of upset (psychological or physiological reasons). However, I do have some nature sounds tunes that I play to Jasmine and played those every night when she was after her surgeries – thinking if she couldn’t go out I’d bring the outside in at least a little bit.

    Not sure whether she truly appreciated, but if nothing else, made me feel better that I was doing something for her πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks, Jana. I’ll report back on the research, including Stanley Coren’s. And I think you’re right about the placebo effect — on us, i.e., feeling we’re doing something, if not on our dogs.

  3. I dunno. The only reaction I got from my dogs triggered by music was a startled jump when “Fanfare for the common man” starts…

    1. Lol Shoshannah…I don’t blame your dogs, I kinda jumped myself when I watched the video of “Fanfare For The Common Man”. πŸ˜€

  4. When our pups were born I played the a cd of children’s nursery songs (example London Bridge) set to the actual beat of a dog’s heart. I played it for them every night at bedtime. When they were about four weeks old I discovered that if I started the cd during the day, they would all stop whatever they were doing and walk into their crate and go to sleep. They looked like little Stepford pups. I continued playing the cd at night till it finally wore out. I need to get another one.

    1. Sue, is that a commercial CD you’re talking about? Please share the name if so — it sounds wonderful!

  5. Hmm, Tashi seemed to really like the Celtic Christmas video I had up on the blog, or maybe he was just laughing at me enjoying the music:) I’ve had nature type music on and have had dogs go to sleep listening to that. I think music changes something in us and dogs pick up on that. I also think it can be used as more than a soporific.

    1. Do send a link to that Celtic Christmas video, Mary; it’s getting hot here in Tucson and we could use some pretend travel to a cool place…

  6. Well, I wouldn’t say they were “upset,” but my puppies Agatha and Christie used to settle down from crazy playing upon hearing Bach organ music.

    Our local radio station played Bach at 10 p.m. every weeknight. At first, I thought it was a coincidence since it was time to sleep anyway. But when I played another station, it had no effect on them whatsoever.

    Dogwise.com sells calming music for dogs. It was recommended by a behaviorist who spoke at my local SPCA recently.

    But since you bring it up, I’m starting to wonder about the effect of all the Metallica and Ronnie James Dio I’ve been playing around my puppy lately?!!!

    1. Love your dogs’ names and, what with you listening to a station that plays Bach, it would seem that you’re providing them with a very soothing, cultural environment. Maybe you’d better put that inner heavy metal rocker back in πŸ˜‰

    1. Yes, I’ve heard wonderful things about them — and in fact I’m squirming out of my posting duties on Friday with a guest post that Bridget Smith is doing on Through a Dog’s Ear (based on an article she wrote). Yeah!

  7. My wife is a Buddhist and when she chants in the evening our dogs will come hang out around the alter. They love it.
    I am not a Buddhist. I do not have the mind for such concepts. I am still contemplating why coke created the new coke and that is hard enough for me.

    1. I know what you mean, although I did once chant Nam Yoho Rengi Kyo (sp?) to try to get a parking spot.

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