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Music has a calming effect on dogs: Study

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Classical music has a calming as well as positive effect on kennelled dogs, a new study has found.

Two groups of dogs over two consecutive weeks were studied by researchers from the University of Glasgow at the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).

During the first week one group was observed in silence while the other had classical music played into their kennels at SSPCA's Dumbarton & West of Scotland animal rescue and rehoming centre in Milton, West Dunbartonshire.

The conditions were then switched in the second week.

Results showed that in both groups the dogs' stress levels decreased significantly after listening to music.

"Male dogs responded better than female dogs and both groups spent less time standing and barking when the music was being played," said one of the researcher Gilly Ferreira.

Although by the end of the week their heart rates and behaviour associated with kennel stress had returned to normal, the initial findings are very encouraging and show that classical music does have a positive impact on the dogs' welfare, it said.

It seems dogs, like humans, prefer to listen to a variety of music and not the same thing over and over again.

"We monitored the dogs' heart rates, collected saliva samples and observed their behaviour, meaning the research was non-invasive which was extremely important to us," said Ferreira.

A range of animate and inanimate environmental enrichment techniques have been employed within kennels to try to minimise the stress experienced by dogs.

Previous studies have shown potential psychological and physiological benefits of auditory stimulation, particularly classical music, said another researcher Amy Bowman.

The study showed a similar beneficial effect of classical music but it lasted only for a short period.

The study titled 'Four Seasons in an Animal Rescue Centre: Classical Music Reduces Environmental Stress in Kennelled Dogs', is published in the journal Physiology & Behaviour.

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First Published: Mon, March 02 2015. 13:22 IST