New classical CD aimed at calming dogs

March 7, 2008 11:42:43 AM PST
Classical music can often calm our heart rate down in traffic, but can it also affect our dogs? A music teacher in Half Moon Bay has just released a new CD specifically targeting out of control canines.

The call of the wild isn't always welcomed indoors. You can't exactly tell that to Sanchez and his friends, but what if music can call the wild right out of them?

Music teacher Lisa Specter accidentally discovered that certain kinds of music she played seemed to bring the energy level down a notch in the dogs she was pet sitting, and also in her very energetic yellow lab.

"I noticed that when I played the piano and when I played certain kinds of music, that he would slow down, lie down and go to sleep within a very short period of time," said Lisa Specter, creator and composer.

She started leaving the music on when she left Sanchez home alone, and he never ate another pair of diamond earrings or destroyed parts of her piano again. Until one day when she couldn't find her CD and tried some different music.

"It was still slow and I thought 'oh this will work, it's really ok,' and I came back and pillows were torn apart and tissues from the trash were all over the place. He was not a happy dog," said Lisa Specter.

Now she realized she was on to something. So she took her discovery and her questions to psycho acoustic sound researcher Joshua Leeds. Four different CDs and 150 dogs later they zeroed in on the music that can calm our canines.

"When we reduced complexity and therefore made patterns very easily identifiable, the dogs like us again, completely chilled out laid down and went to sleep," said Joshua Leeds, psycho acoustic sound researcher.

"It's a combination of lower frequencies and simple sounds, which is what we now call it, and it's music that creates passive hearing, rather than active listening. I have to tell you even I was amazed, I was really amazed," said Lisa Specter.

The CD is now slowing down dogs across the country.

"Someone emailed me from Tennessee and said my neighbors thank you as much as I do, because my dog finally stopped barking," said Lisa Specter.

Vet clinics are even using the therapy. Casey was chewing up the mat inside her kennel at the Half Moon Bay Vet Hospital, until the staff turned on the CD. The chewing stopped and so did the barking from the other patients.

"It seems to really help lessen their aggravation and irritation while they're here," said Dr. Tiffany Newman, D.V.M., Half Moon Bay Vet Hospital.

They've also found that the slowed down versions of Bach and Mozart have a calming effect on the staff, proving that we all stand to learn a thing or two from our furry four legged friends.

The team behind "Through a Dog's Ear" emphasizes this is to work along with behavioral training, not in place of it. They now plan to study what kind of music will make cats happy. They have a hunch that this music may actually bore cats.