Have you ever noticed that when you play your favorite song, your dog starts howling along? It’s a common phenomenon that has been captured in numerous YouTube videos. But have you ever wondered why dogs do this?
It’s in Their Genes
One reason why dogs howl to music is their ancestral connection to wolves. In the wild, wolves use howling as a way to communicate with each other. They howl to indicate their location, warn off intruders, and establish their pack identity. This explains why when one dog in the area starts howling, others often join in. Your furry friend may not even know why they are howling, but this behavior is deeply ingrained in their genetic makeup.
Research suggests that dogs also have a sense of pitch. Just like wolves, as more dogs join in a howling session, each one changes their tone. Recordings have shown that each dog howls a different note. Dogs can even differentiate between pitch and tone better than humans. They can pick up higher frequencies that are beyond our range of hearing. So when your dog howls along to a song, they might be adding their own unique touch by howling at a different pitch or note.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs don’t howl to certain songs because it hurts their ears. If your dog was in pain, they would likely run away or hide from the sound.
Do Dogs Prefer Certain Types of Music?
Deborah Wells, a psychologist at Queens University in Belfast, conducted a study to find out if dogs have musical preferences like humans do. She played different types of music to dogs in a shelter and observed their reactions. The music genres included pop (Bob Marley and Britney Spears), classical (Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” and Grieg’s “Morning”), and heavy metal (like Metallica).
The dogs responded differently to each type of music. Pop music didn’t seem to have any effect on them. However, heavy metal caused the dogs to become agitated and start barking. On the other hand, classical music had a calming effect on the dogs. They stopped barking, became calm, and even settled in one place.
“It is well established that music can influence our moods,” says Wells. “Classical music, for example, can help to reduce stress levels, while grunge music can promote negative emotions. It is now believed that dogs may be as discerning as humans when it comes to musical preference.”
So if your dog has a favorite type of music, why not let them join in on the fun? You might find that you and your furry companion are in perfect harmony.
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