Shelters across the world are humming “Hallelujah Chorus” and “Ode to Joy” to celebrate the calming effects the classical melodies have on the dogs. Being in the shelter is ruff on the fluff-butts, and shelter workers are always looking for more ways to help the animals in their care.
The music’s calming qualities definitely work on Leo, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier waiting for his forever home at a shelter in England. Upon noticing he was stressed, shelter staff decided to try the theory. Now Leo spends his days enjoying classical songs.
Bel Deering, a manager at the shelter says:
Whenever he gets stressed he likes to cuddle up under his quilt and listen to soft music.
Of course, Leo isn’t an unusual pup. Studies support the connection between classical tunes and calmer dogs. Research by the Scottish SPCA and University of Glasgow found that dogs’ stress levels — measured by heart rates, saliva and behavior — decreased significantly after listening to music. The dogs also spent less time standing and barking while the music was being played.
Colorado State University associate professor Lori Kogan played different music at a shelter over the course of four months while recording dogs’ behaviors.
She also found that classical music calmed the dogs, but the big meatheads aren’t quite metalheads. Heavy metal induced more nervous shaking. In her study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Kogan suggests shelters play classical music as a cost-efficient, practical way to enhance the environment and the welfare of dogs.
The Frederick County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center in Maryland took the findings to heart and plays classical music over the intercom for 14 hours a day, a new practice they say is doing wonders to help the dogs.
While the studies have been conducted mainly with shelter dogs, it couldn’t hurt to turn on some Chopin for your dogs at home. Perhaps playing some Beethoven during a thunderstorm or when you have to leave your pooch alone will help soothe your pup. If nothing else, you’ll have the most cultured canine on the block.
If you’re interested in adopting Leo the Staffy – and live in England – check out his adoption page on the West Hatch Animal Centre website. Just make sure you have some classical music on hand, because this guy’s a fan.
Featured image via RSPCA West Hatch Animal Centre