Why Dogs Prefer Bach To Britney
Suma is a long-time resident at the Zagreb Zoo. She was inconsolable because her roomie of ten years Patna had died in May. Suma stopped communicating and showed all signs of a serious depression.
Then a fortunate ‘accidental’ discovery occurred. The Zoo had organized a concert of classical music right opposite Suma’s dwelling.
When she saw the five musicians preparing for the concert, Suma got really nervous and aggressive. She peppered the intruders with little stones that she blew out of her trunk.
“But as soon as the concert started what we saw was really fascinating,” said Mladen Anic, head of the Zagreb Zoo. “Suma leaned against the fence, closed her eyes and listened without moving the entire concert.”
They have since found that Suma especially adores Mozart, but is also partial to Vivaldi and Bach.
Dogs also prefer Bach to Britney.
The New Scientists reports that they are more relaxed and well-behaved when listening to classical music, rather than heavy metal or pop. The researchers are telling dog pounds to play these soothing sounds to help calm their canines.
"We had no reason to think that dogs should find classical music more relaxing," says Deborah Wells at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who led the research.
Other studies report that cows produce more milk and hens more eggs when listening to calming music.
For the dog study, researchers in Ireland played either a pop compilation CD - including Britney Spears, Robbie Williams and Bob Marley, a classical CD - including Grieg's Morning, Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Beethoven's Ode to Joy, a Metallica album or a recording of human conversation. There was also a silent control.
You’ve probably guessed which music caused the dogs to make most noise – Metallica. Pop music made no difference to their behavior compared to silence. But classical music calmed them down – hardly any barking occurred, plus the dogs rested more.
Even the smallest mammals prefer classical music.
A high school student, David Merrell, whose won awards at science fairs, conducted an experiment with mice and a maze. He played hard rock to one group and classical to the other. The group subjected to the rock music did far worse navigating the course. In David's words, "I had to cut my project short because all the hard-rock mice killed each other. None of the classical mice did that at all."
What part of the body does any music affect first – the brain. And that includes human brains. Now it’s YOUR turn to switch on the sounds of relaxation and rejuvenation.
Tania Gabrielle French
P.S. Not just animals love classical music. Plants also thrive when exposed to these sounds - as you can read here.