If you have ever rescued a dog or even fostered a dog, you may have come across one or even many that are fearful. I’ve fostered dogs who have been fearful and have helped work with them many different ways. One thing I’ve always noticed that helped me get through tough situations is music. I figured if it works for me, why not try it with dogs too. Music can be life changing but one thing to remember is how sensitive dogs are to it, loudness wise that is. I’ve had my fair share of helping out fearful dogs.
Helping Fearful Dogs with Music
When we think of rehabilitating dogs we typically go straight to counter conditioning and mental enrichment. These are both great places to begin. How can you help though if you aren’t training? What about having no treats on hand? Severe anxiety can still happen regardless of the situation. Whether you are working on training or not. Your dog can become fearful or anxious in the middle of the night and you aren’t going to have treats handy most likely. This is when I will grab my phone to play some music for my dogs or foster dogs quietly to help calm them down. I feel music is a great way to calm a reactive dog.
There’s been a few times when bringing home a foster dog, they would cry and whine the entire trip home, even while being held. Singing softly while driving home did seem to help the dog a bit. Of course every dog will be different though. You want to pick calm music and help them have a positive experience with it. A few people didn’t think it was possible for music to calm a dog. I was a bit skeptical first but decided to try it anyways. It worked though and I decided to try it anytime I had a fearful dog, I kept noticing with the majority of the dogs, it was working.
Now you may not ever see the fearfulness and nervousness completely diminish but there is a high chance you’ll start to notice it going away or improving. You can try playing a few of your favorite songs for them, or even just play a few calm songs to see if it helps. You may need to keep trying for a few days or up to a week to potentially notice a different. Some days react immediately while others have taken a few days.
Some good songs you can try are:
- Bon Iver – Holocene
- Ed Sheeran – A Team
- Tokio Hotel – Something New
- Tokio Hotel – Run Run Run
Those are some that I notice help out the dogs I have worked with. There’s plenty of others but those are what I can recall off the top of my head.
Walking a Fearful Dog
Whenever I go to walk my dog who has fear issues, I always wish I can give them my headphone to listen to music while we walk. I know that it would truly help them. Just be sure to take your time and have plenty of patience as I never know if a new situation will create more fear in them. I want them to learn to enjoy life and not be so nervous and scared.
If music can touch the soul of a human, why shouldn’t it work for a dog? Seriously, dogs help us so much every single day. You don’t need a special dog for them to make you happy and you just need to show your dog love, compassion, and understanding. They will love you unconditionally no matter what.
How has music helped your fearful dog? What are songs that they enjoy listening to, to calm down?