Can Music Calm Down a High Strung Puppy?


Dog calmly listening to music

When humans get a little thrilled about something, it’s fun to turn on some tunes and dance around the room. The same thing for when we get agitated, we like to play some mellow music and chill out. Is this also true for dogs? Can music calm a high strung puppy?

Why Are Some Puppies High Strung?

Just like some humans, many dogs, including puppies, do not rebound fast when placed in stressful situations. Also, what makes one dog stressful cannot be universally applied to all dogs. While fireworks tend to upset a lot of dogs, it’s untrue that they bother all dogs. Some puppies can sleep through most anything, including fireworks. But, open up the refrigerator and the little puppers comes running. Here are some reasons why a dog may be high strung:

Specialty Breeds

Simply put, some dogs have historically been bred to flock, herd, or to meet other high-active needs. This means it’s in the dog’s DNA. Selective breeding (breeding in or out specific traits), is a tricky, intentional, science, and takes nearly 10 generations to completely alter a trait. These types of ‘working’ dogs were not meant to be cooped up in a house all day long. Or, if they are, they should go for a run every day. A long, long run. If your puppy falls into this group, it’s likely they’ll have a little extra activity requirements - even at a young age.

Thin Nerves

Many dog trainers use this term. ‘Thin nerves’ is just a different way of saying ‘high-strung.’ Whatever you call it, some dogs just can’t take life with an easy-go-lucky attitude. Dogs with thin nerves respond to unpleasant events (loud sounds, physical discomfort, or a bad experience like being left alone) with a flight response. All of these can create anxiety and nervousness in a thin-nerved dog. Treatment can help, so never fear if your puppy falls into this group.

ADHD?

While dogs can be diagnosed with ADHD, most do not fight that clinical definition and instead are found to be hyperactive. A high stimuli dog, also known as hyperkinesis, display frenetic actions coupled with short attention spans. Only a specialty vet can diagnose a dog with ADHD - as doing so requires close monitoring due to medication and diagnostic testing. But, if your puppy has hyperkinesis, while challenging, help can be found through impulse control training.

Can’t You Just Snap Your Puppy Out of It?

Nope! Just like your Chatty Kathy girlfriend or Gabby Greg boyfriend, some dogs are just born that way. Negative reinforcement will only make high strung puppies and dogs even more high strung. So, no snapping out of it. Like with the two friends mentioned above, you just have to learn coping techniques. Kathy and Greg can’t help it, and after all… They are fabulous. Just like your puppy! Okay, but how do you cope with it?

Does Music Really Help To Calm Your Puppy?

We recommend two things to help deal soothe a high strung puppy. First is plenty of exercise. Walk, run, trot, ski, whatever it takes - do it. A tired puppy, like a tired child, is a good thing. No trouble ever came from a tired dog. Second, music is an excellent way to calm a high strung Fido. Think about how you enjoy getting relaxed with whatever music you love. A dog has the same response. Need some proof?

Research

In 1996, a researcher (Frith) proposed, based on a study, that music takes one out of oneself and puts us somewhere else. Thus, a means for escape (source). But do dog’s minds really delve into escapism? We think so. But there’s even more research. 

A team of researchers (Kogan, Schoenfeld-Tacher, and Simon) found that playing classical music increased the amount of time dogs spent sleeping. While also decreasing barking, etc., (source). They conducted this study by comparing classical and heavy metal music. You guessed it, the heavy metal sounds increased their trembling and drooling. So, no Metallica for high strung puppy.

Don’t Like Classical Music?

Don’t worry. A more recent study conducted by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) found that dogs also like soft rock, reggae, pop, and Motown music (source). Now, these Scottish dogs have good taste! The researchers studied kennel dog’s heart rate, cortisol levels and generally accepted behaviors that signify stress (barking, etc.,) to identify the genres of music. 

Put On Some Bob Marley and Chill Out With Your Puppy!

It stands to reason that a high strung pup like a hung strung person will benefit from listening to some music that soothes their soul. It also doesn’t hurt to have your dog eat high-quality, nutritious meals. Research points to a lack of minerals and amino acids as a potential cause for anxiety in dogs. It takes so little to upset the balance of these emotional, loving creatures.

Go ahead and give it a try. Even if you don’t have a high strung puppy. If you are like us and have a typical, normal energy dog, you’ll find that a little music puts them in a lazy mood. And, on the weekend, there’s truly nothing better than melodious tunes and snuggling with your fuzzy buddy.


Rebecca Sanchez

Rebecca Sanchez lives in Seattle with her husband and three dogs and is a published author, and nationally recognized leader in the pet industry. Known as The Pet Lifestyle Guru™ Rebecca firmly believes “we need animals as much as they need us!” Rebecca specializes in researching and writing about holistic dog health and nutrition, and develops DIY recipes designed to enhance a pup's well-being.


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