I have been very lucky to work and train in rescue shelters all over the world and as part of my continuous research and development into the world of rescue/shelter I thought I would dedicate a page to the work that is being done in the rescue shelters I am associated with. The idea for this page is to give information and share ideas for the promotion of training a dog for its new life with their new owner, based on research and ingenuity. I will be posting information and film over the next year or so and developing the page organically to form a "HOTSPOT" of ideas for others to think about and learn from.
May Music Be The Food Of Love
Some research into kennel welfare and prevention of unwanted behaviour concentrated on calming the dog while in a kennelled environment, allowing for easier management and encouraging a more relaxed behavioural repertoire deemed desirable to some future adopters. The playing of classical music, for example has been found to evoke calmer behaviour in kennelled dogs and increase resting time (Wells et al. 2002b). However, the latest research by Bowman et al. (2017) suggests that dogs may rapidly habituate to the same style of music. The study found that stress rates in kennelled dogs reduced when particular genres of music were played to kennelled dogs, with Reggae and Soft Rock producing the best results. The study concluded that different dogs have different music preferences and also suggested that a variety of music genres may help to minimise habituation to auditory enrichment. Brayley & Montrose (2016) argues that the use of audiobooks when compared to several music genres produced significant decrease in stress in kennelled dogs, increasing resting behaviour and decreasing sitting and standing behaviour.
Interestingly, the studies produced a correlation with regard to potential adoptees positive perception of the shelter leading to an increase in the desire to adopt. This could possibly be due to the combination of dogs displaying calmer behaviour in the kennel and the influence music has on the human psyche (Dingle et al. 2015, Gagarina and Pikturniene, 2015).
How Can This be utilised when you adopt a dog?
According to the above research when you are leaving your dog (for short periods of time to start) investigate what music has a calming affect on the dog, may I suggest that you also experiment with the volume of the music as some dogs, similar to humans have a preference. Don’t rule out those radio stations that just talk and finally look at what you like to listen to, as the chances are this will have a calming influence on your dog too.