Study: Music Helps Dogs Relax And They Prefer Certain Types

One of their favorites? Bob Marley.

Dogs really are man’s best friend. Not only are they the most loyal and loving companions in the world—it turns out, they just want to chill and listen to music with you!

A study conducted with the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals showed that shelter dogs are more relaxed when music is playing. The researchers played an assortment of six-hour Spotify playlists to shelter dogs and recorded their heart rates, cortisol levels and behaviors to measure their stress levels.

They listened to everything from classical to Motown, and researchers found the dogs were “less stressed” on the days when music was playing. As for their favorites? Based on relaxation levels, the dogs showed a preference for reggae or soft rock.

See? You’re not the only Bob Marley fan in your house! We always knew dogs had good taste.

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“What we tended to see was that different dogs responded differently,” co-author Neil Evans, a professor of integrative physiology, told the Washington Post. “There’s possibly a personal preference from some dogs for different types of music, just like in humans.”


Interestingly, researchers saw that classical music helped dogs relax—but that the effects of it wore off after a week and dogs started to become restless. The conclusion? They were growing bored with listening to the same genre, just as we humans do.

Dogs are the only animals that benefit from listening to music, cows and elephants kept in captivity can also find calming effects from music.

After the findings in this study, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is doing what it can to help the dogs in its care benefit from a varied musical playlist.

“Having shown that variety is key to avoid habituation, the Scottish SPCA will be investing in sound systems for all their kennels,” according to a statement on their website.

And it sounds like the research on this front will continue, as researchers plan to look into what exactly dogs like or dislike in music, if they favor particular instruments, tempos and more.