"Music has charms to soothe a savage breast."
Poor William Congreve. Has anyone in history been more misquoted or misattributed? At least science is getting closer to confirming his theory.....um, with dogs, that is.....
I've always believed that my Basenjis shared my taste in music. Doesn't Clover Four Leaf always baroo along with Joan Jett? And haven't we had some amazing sing-a-longs to Barry Manilow and "South Pacific"?
Alas, it seems that dogs may not respond to music in the same way as humans. It has something to do with their lack of relative pitch, which humans easily recognize, but canines do not grasp. According to Charles Snowdon, a recognized expert on animal music preferences, "I have found that animals have very good absolute pitch, but they don't have relative pitch. [To that extent], we understand music in a different way than animals do."
That doesn't mean that our Basenjis don't like music at all; it's just that they appreciate music differently. They also seem to respond well to a very specific kind of music. Research is ongoing, but psychologist Deborah Wells (Queens University Belfast) has determined that canines can differentiate between genres of human music, but are more likely to relax to Mozart than to Motorhead. "Our own research has shown that dogs certainly behave differently in response to different types of music, e.g., showing behaviors more suggestive of relaxation in response to classical music and behaviors more suggestive of agitation in response to heavy metal music".
So....what to play for the furbabies the next time you leave the house? We have done our own unofficial research, and here is a Basenji-approved playlist that has stood the test of time and 3 unique baroo hounds:
"Sunday in the Park" and "Peaceful Playground" by Pet Music (available Amazon)
"Mozart for Meditation" by W.A. Mozart (duh!) (available iTunes)
"Liquid Mind VI: Spirit" by Chuck Wild/Liquid Mind (available Pandora and everywhere else).
A few wild cards that Clover insisted I tell you about, because they are naptime favorites:
"Breathe" by Blue Stone and "The Nine Worlds" by Achillea (available iTunes and Amazon).
"Don't disturb this groove!"