There is no shortage of memorable songs with dog-inspired titles, including Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog,” The Beatles’ “Martha, My Dear,” Neil Young’s “Old King,” Beggars Opera’s “Get Your Dog Off Me” and the vintage folk song “Old Blue,” which has been recorded by everyone from San Diego folk legend Sam Hinton and Valley Center troubadour JJ Cale to Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Byrds, featuring former Rancho Santa Fe resident Chris Hillman.
But chances are your dog is more likely to be a fan of Bob Marley and Fleetwood Mac’s music, according to a new study by Glasgow University and the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Researchers played a variety of musical styles for dogs, then studied their physiological responses and behavioral changes. They concluded that reggae and soft-rock are likely to be the favorites for Fido and Daisy.
“Overall, the response to different genres was mixed, highlighting the possibility that, like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences,” said Neil Evans, professor of integrative physiology at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine (UGIBAHCM).
“That being said, reggae music and soft rock showed the highest positive changes in behavior.”
So don’t be surprised if Bowser yowls in your living room when you play Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out” and The Who’s “Dogs, Part 2,” then mellows out to such Marley and Mac classics as “Three Little Birds,” “Buffalo Solider,” “Don’t Stop” and “Go Your Own Way.”
Strangely, the study did not examine if dogs have an audio preference for woofers over tweeters (sorry, had to fulfill my bad pun quota for the day). But the results of the study could impact the playlists dogs hear, at least in certain locales in Scotland.
"At present, both our Glasgow and Edinburgh centers are able to pipe music into their kennels,” said Gilly Mendes Ferreira, the Scottish SPCA’s head of research and policy.
“And in the future every center will be able to offer our four-footed friends a canine-approved playlist, with the view to extending this research to other species in our care."
Asked to comment on the study, San Diego Humane Society Communications Manager Kelli Schry said: “I can’t say we have heard of a preference or seen any other studies that would back that up.
“In our (shelters), we play classical music - not because of any study - but because we find it’s relaxing for the dogs.”
By coincidence a 2015 study by the University of Glasgow and the Scottish SPCA concluded that classical music was relaxing for dogs. Woof!