Is your dog more than averagely musical?

Is your dog more than averagely musical?


norman lebrecht

January 28, 2017

A study from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the University of Glasgow finds that dogs change their behaviour most when soft rock and reggae music are played.

Classical just doesn’t wag their tails.

That can’t be true, surely….

Read more here.


  • Steven Holloway says:

    The key point missing here is that the response to classical music will depend upon what works are played to them. It’s exactly the same as in music therapy for humans. The first thing the therapist has to do is assess the patient to determine what modes of classical music may help them. Soft Rock and Reggae do not pose this question for they do not have an immense gamut of modes. In short, did they treat the dogs to Bach or Prokofiev, Mozart or Bartok? And so on. I’m willing to bet this vital factor was not included in their research model.

    • John Borstlap says:

      My three afghans – I’m speaking of dogs not refugees – only react, and positively, to the Livre de Clavecin by François Couperin. They were quite expensive, I think that’s why. But I just read last week that research at the Tenerife Institute of Technology has discovered that dogs, because of their much more differentiated hearing sense, suffer traumatic nervous stress when hearing music performed in the well-tempered tuning system: they hear the slight deviations from the natural tuning frequencies which fall into more perfect wave length proportions. According to TIT, people listening to Bach’s Wohltemperierte Clavier at home should first have their dogs removed from the room; exposing them to this ‘unnaturally-tuned work’ should be considered animal torture. On the other hand, some findings seem to indicate that dogs are entirely indifferent to avantgarde works, like those by Pierre Boulez, which are also in well-tempered tuning. An explanation is sought in the suspicion that dogs don’t consider it music.

      In general, according to TIT, dogs are quite musical and – with some persistence – can be trained to perform, as the well-known early duo of Glenn Gould and his pet demonstrated. Recent evidence dug-out from the archives of the Viennese Schoenberg Center reveals that Schoenberg’s dog Witz was taught to bark in the 12-tone system, but always failed to finish the series, breaking-off around the 7th tone (to the great irritation of the composer).

  • Cyril Blair says:

    Dogs should be listening to Henry Cowell’s “The Banshee.”

  • Jim says:

    My dog used to run up to the speakers and bark back at the dog bark in Walter Piston’s ‘Incredible flutist’!