Music Studies

Abstracts and Links to Music studies with animals (This information is also downloadable as a pdf.)

Dogs detect sounds as low as the 16 to 20 Hz frequency range (compared to 20 to 70 Hz for humans) and as high as 70,000 to 100,000 Hz (compared to 20,000 Hz for humans), and in addition have a degree of ear mobility that helps them to rapidly pinpoint the exact location of a sound. Eighteen or more muscles can tilt, rotate and raise or lower a dog’s ear. Additionally, a dog can identify a sound’s location much faster than a human can, as well as hear sounds up to four times the distance that humans are able to.

1.The influence of auditory stimulation on the behaviour of dogs housed in a rescue shelter 
Authors: Wells, D.L.; Graham, L.; Hepper, P.G.
Source: Animal Welfare, Volume 11, Number 4, November 2002 , pp. 385-393(9)This study explored the influence of five types of auditory stimulation (human conversation, classical music, heavy metal music, pop music, and a control) on the behavior of 50 dogs housed in a rescue shelter. The dogs were exposed to each type of auditory
stimulation for 4 h, with an intervening period of one day between conditions. The dogs’ position in their kennels (front, back), their activity (moving, standing, sitting, resting, sleeping), and their vocalization (barking, quiet, other) were recorded over 4 h at 10 min intervals during each condition of auditory stimulation. The dogs’ activity and vocalization were significantly related to auditory stimulation. Dogs spent more time resting and less time standing when classical music was played than when any of the other stimuli were played. Exposure to heavy metal music encouraged dogs to spend significantly more of their time barking than did other types of auditory stimulation. Classical music resulted in dogs spending significantly more of their time quiet than did other types of auditory stimulation. It is suggested that the welfare of sheltered dogs may be enhanced through exposure to appropriate forms of auditory stimulation. Classical music appears particularly beneficial, resulting in activities suggestive of relaxation and behaviors that are considered desirable by potential buyers. This form of music may also appeal to visitors, resulting in enhanced perceptions of the rescue shelter’s environment and an increased desire to adopt a dog from such a source.

2.Effects of harp music therapy on canine patients in the veterinary hospital setting. The Harp Therapy Journal, 8(2), 1, 4-5,15. Boone, A., & Quelch, V. (2003)
[Three groups of 32 canine patients received 60 minute sessions of harp therapy (Group 1: hospitalized less than 8 hrs.; Group 2: hospitalized longer than 8 hrs.; and Group 3: post-surgical patients). Visual measures of discomfort: restlessness, anxiety and respiration rate; all decreased during the harp therapy session. The control group displayed no such decrease and, in fact, continued to increase in all three measures. The harp therapy group demonstrated a gradual decline in respiration rates over the one-hour in contrast to the control group – which remained unchanged during the same period. Both groups demonstrated a shallow trend in reduction of heart rate.]

3. The effects of sound and music on our patients and workplace (Proceedings), April 1, 2010 By: Susan O. Wagner, DVM, MS, DACVIM
Sound is an important part of an animal’s surroundings, and should be considered when taking a history on an anxious or reactive pet. Many owners don’t realize the significance of sound in their homes, and most veterinarians are not cognizant of the sonic environment their hospitalized patients are exposed to.

4. Psychologists’ trials find music tempo affects productivity June 2001 No. 67
Dairy cows produce more milk when listening to REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ or Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral Symphony’ than when subjected to Wonderstuff’s ‘Size of a Cow’ or the Beatles’ ‘Back In The USSR’ a new study by music research specialists at the University of Leicester has found.
Their milk yield rose by 0.73 litres per cow per day when they were exposed to slow music rather than fast music. The results revealed a three per cent increase in output when slow rather than fast music was played.
Scientists Adrian North and Liam MacKenzie from the Music Research Group at the University of Leicester School of Psychology exposed cattle to fast, slow and no music at all over a nine-week period.
The trials, at LCAH Dairies in Lincolnshire and Bishop Burton Agricultural College in Humberside, involved playing music to the cows for 12 hours a day, from 5am to 5pm.
Dr North said: These results are statistically significant they reveal that milk yields could be increased by 3% simply by playing certain types of music to the cows.
We have found that cows respond to a pleasant auditory environment by producing more milk. It seems that slow music had the effect of alleviating stress and relaxing the animals which resulted in greater milk yields.
Liam MacKenzie said that the research was an extension of the School’s ongoing study into the effects of music on aspects of human behaviour: Most theories of music preferences are based on humans.
We were testing whether the theories, which had been proven with humans, would also hold true of other animals. We found that slow music improved milk yields perhaps because it relaxes the cows in much the same way as it relaxes humans.

5. The influence of olfactory stimulation on the behaviour of dogs housed in a rescue shelter
Lynne Graham, Deborah L. Wells, Peter G. Hepper Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 91, Issue 1 , Pages 143-153, May 2005 Abstract
This study explored the influence of five types of olfactory stimulation (control, lavender, chamomile, rosemary and peppermint) on the behaviour of 55 dogs housed in a rescue shelter. The dogs were exposed to each type of olfactory stimulation, through the diffusion of essential oils, for 4Description: a day for 5 days, with an intervening period of 2 days between conditions. The dogs’ behaviour was recorded on days 1, 3 and 5, during each condition of olfactory stimulation. Certain aspects of the dogs’ behaviour were influenced by the odours. Dogs spent more time resting and less time moving upon exposure to lavender and chamomile than any of the other olfactory stimuli. These odourants also encouraged less vocalization than other types of aroma. The diffusion of rosemary and peppermint into the dogs’ environment encouraged significantly more standing, moving and vocalizing than other types of odour. It is suggested that the welfare of sheltered dogs may be enhanced through exposure to appropriate forms of olfactory stimulation. Lavender and chamomile appear particularly beneficial, resulting in activities suggestive of relaxation and behaviours that are considered desirable by potential adopters. These types of olfactory stimulation may also appeal to visitors, resulting in enhanced perceptions of the rescue shelter and an increased desire to adopt a dog from such an environment.

6. Behavioral Effects of Auditory Stimulation on Kenneled Dogs – Lori R. Kogan, Regina Schoenfeld-Tacher, Allen A. Simon
Clinical Sciences Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.  2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Abstract: Dogs are kenneled in professional facilities for a variety of reasons; however, the kennel environment, even for short periods, is a potential psychogenic stressor for most dogs. Continual stress and the resultant anxiety are undesirable for both ethical and physiological reasons. One growing area of research pertaining to the welfare of kenneled dogs is environmental enrichment, including auditory stimulation. The current study investigated the impact of music (classical, heavy metal, and specifically designed/altered classical) on activity level, vocalization, and body shaking of 117 kenneled dogs.
Results suggest that classical music leads to kenneled dogs spending more time sleeping (F8,354 5 12.24, P . 0.0001) and less time vocalizing (F8,354 5 3.61, P . 0.0005) than when exposed to other music types or no music. Heavy metal music, compared with other music types, appears to increase body shaking (F8,354 5 96.97, P . 0.0001), a behavior suggestive of nervousness. It is suggested that playing classical music in a shelter environment may help mitigate some of the stress inherent for many kenneled dogs.

7.  Music Changes the Way You Think – Different music encourages different frames of mind
Scientific American Jun 24, 2014 |By Daniel A. Yudkin and Yaacov Trope
An article about music and how different note intervals affects us (our animals too)

8. Four Seasons’ in an animal rescue centre; classical music reduces environmental stress in kennelled dogs
Physiol Behav. 2015 May 1;143:70-82. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.02.035. Epub 2015 Feb 21.Bowman A1, Scottish Spca2, Dowell FJ3, Evans NP4

Abstract: On admission to rescue and rehoming centres dogs are faced with a variety of short- and long-term stressors including novelty, spatial/social restriction and increased noise levels. Animate and inanimate environmental enrichment techniques have been employed within the kennel environment in an attempt to minimise stress experienced by dogs. Previous studies have shown the potential physiological and psychological benefits of auditory stimulation, particularly classical music, within the kennel environment. This study determined the physiological/psychological changes that occur when kennelled dogs are exposed to long-term (7 days) auditory stimulation in the form of classical music through assessment of effects on heart rate variability (HRV), salivary cortisol and behaviour. The study utilised a cross over design in which two groups were exposed to two consecutive 7 day treatments; silence (control) and classical music (test). Group A was studied under silent conditions followed by 7 days of test conditions during which a fixed classical music playlist was played from 10:00-16:30 h. Group B received treatment in the reverse order. Results showed that auditory stimulation induced changes in HRV and behavioural data indicative of reduced stress levels in dogs in both groups (salivary cortisol data did not show any consistent patterns of change throughout the study). Specifically, there was a significant increase in HRV parameters such as μRR, STDRR, RMSSD, pNN50, RRTI, SD1 and SD2 and a significant decrease in μHR and LF/HF from the first day of silence (S1) to the first day of music (M1). Similarly, examination of behavioural data showed that dogs in both groups spent significantly more time sitting/lying and silent and less time standing and barking during auditory stimulation. General Regression Analysis (GRA) of the change in HRV parameters from S1 to M1 revealed that male dogs responded better to auditory stimulation relative to female. Interestingly, HRV and behavioural data collected on the seventh day of music (M2) was similar to that collected on S1 suggesting that the calming effects of music are lost within the 7 days of exposure. A small ‘9-Day’ study was conducted in attempt to determine the time-scale in which dogs become habituated to classical music and examination of the results suggests that this occurs within as soon as the second day of exposure. The results of this study show the potential of auditory stimulation as a highly effective environmental enrichment technique for kennelled dogs. However, the results also indicate the requirement for further investigations into the way in which auditory stimulation should be incorporated within the daily kennel management regime in order to harness the full physiological and psychological benefits of music. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.