Is your dog anxious in the car? Here’s a playlist (supported by science) to calm them down

I’m fortunate in that both my English bull terriers love to go for ride in the car (unless it’s to the vet or the groomer; how do they know?) But many dogs get anxious in the car. Is there a musical solution to this?

Why, yes. Yes, there is. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the solution involves the Bee Gees.

Sam Sutton, a senior lecturer in music at the University of West London, has come with a doggy-calming playlist for the car. I quote from the site StudyFinds:

“A recent research study from the University of Glasgow suggests music can indeed affect dogs’ behavior,” Sutton says in a statement. “Dogs were exposed to a variety of sounds and styles to assess physiological and behavioral changes. The interesting thing they witnessed was that dogs displayed positive behavioral changes when exposed to certain music types. Reggae and soft rock appear to have been the canine tunes of choice.

“Perhaps the combination of pristine studio production and pleasing sound aesthetics contribute to what makes the dog’s playlist of choice,” the lecturer suggests. “Reggae is often associated with sunshine and chilling out, so perhaps this type of soothing emotional response is shared with our canine companions.”

Another thing to consider: 28% of dog lovers had no idea that music could upset their companion.

Here are your top tips for music to avoid:

  • AC/DC, “Back in Black
  • Led Zeppelin, “Black Dog”
  • Metallica, “Enter Sandman
  • Motorhead, “Ace of Spades”
  • Pretty much anything by Slipknot and System of a Down
  • Any song with high frequencies (they have better hearing than us, so this bugs them)
  • Any song with whistling (which could cause curiosity responses. Sorry, Peter Bjorn & John)

So what music should you play? Here’s where the Bee Gees come in. Dogs may be great but their musical tastes can be suspect.

  1. “How Deep Is Your Love” – Bee Gees
  2. “No Woman No Cry” – Bob Marley
  3. “(Everything I Do) I’ll Do It for You” – Bryan Adams
  4. “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner
  5. “Dark Side of The Moon” – Pink Floyd
  6. “One In 10” – UB40
  7. “Hounds of Love” – Kate Bush
  8. “Desperado” – The Eagles
  9. “Many Rivers to Cross” – Jimmy Cliff
  10. “Love is King” – Sade

Read more here.

BONUS: Schmooze, the elder bull terrier, once got a chance to meet bull terrier lover Kirk Hammett of Metallica. She, unlike other dogs, quite likes ‘Tallica in the car.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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