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Canine Music
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Have you ever noticed how dogs respond to music? It appears that dogs feel the rhythm and harmony of music in their soul the same way that humans do. Dogs seem to relax to soft slow strains, and sometimes become agitated to loud, drum-based tunes. Queen's University in Belfast , Northern Ireland , and the Rehoming Centre of the National Canine Defence League in Evesham , England studied the effects of music on dogs and found this to be true.

Guide Dogs for the Blind training facilities tested music specifically composed by Thomas Schoenberger to calm pets. They were sufficiently impressed to endorse the CD called Doggone Songs for use in stressful situations such as separation anxiety, injury recovery, storms, fireworks, travel, destructive behavior and aggression. This CD is also touted as an aid in training. Considering that music helps memory, and stress reduction helps learning, it makes sense.

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Another album created specifically for dogs is called Ask the Animals: Songs to Make Dogs Happy! by Skip Haynes. Haynes created the album in conjunction with an "animal communicator," Dr. Kim Ogden-Avrutik, who served as a sort of translator during focus groups to test out the music. Among the revelations: Some kinds of percussion (too much like gunshots) and the word "no" (not popular among many species) are not popular among dog listeners. Notable titles on the disc include "I'll Be Back," "I Love Food," and what Haynes says is the album's No. 1 hit, "Squeaky-Deakey!" Haynes says that by being in the room when the album is played for the first two or three weeks, owners can create a positive association with the music that later calms pets down while the owner is out.

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Many animal behaviorists, veterinarians, kennel keepers and even pet owners now play music for their animals. Just one of several ways to deal with anxiety, the right kind of music can reduce stress, aid relaxation and alleviate depression.

Music can have an even greater beneficial effect on dogs if they associate certain tunes with a positive experience such as cuddling on the couch with their humans or enjoying a gentle massage. This can be another tool in easing your dog's stress if he suffers from separation anxiety.

So the next time your dog is stressing, try a little soft music. Whether you choose an album composed especially for dogs or one of your own favorites, it will soothe the soul with little expense and no side effects.

DogGone Songs--2 CD Collection includes:
Music to Soothe the Animal Spirit and Traveling Tunes for You and Your Pet
Available through www.amazon.com for $11.98 each (plus shipping)

Ask the Animals: Songs to Make Dogs Happy
Available through www.petcds.com for $14.95 (plus shipping)