When you share your life with a dog, there are several truths you have to accept. First: you will never, ever be as good a person as your doggie companion considers you to be. Nonetheless, try to live up to his or her expectations. Second: there is “dog time” and “people time.” I’m assuming that only humans are reading this, so I’ll further assume you’re familiar with people time. Dog time is different and is essentially of only three varieties: right now, in just a moment, and forever and ever. Forever and ever dog time is roughly equivalent to anything over 15 minutes of people time.
Separation Anxiety in Dogs
It’s common for dogs to experience loneliness when left alone; so keep in mind basically anything over 15 minutes might as well be infinity to Fido. Also keep in mind that the natural state for a dog is to belong to a pack, and you’re a two-legged member of this pack. When you leave for work in the morning, you might as well be leaving for Fiji for two weeks because you’re not taking the rest of your pack!
In addition to how differently your dog experiences time, he might also experience separation when you leave him alone for a period of time. Separation anxiety may occur more often in dogs that have rarely been left alone, are rescued dogs, or are insecure. Symptoms of separation anxiety include many behaviors that are often misdiagnosed as destructive or a lack of discipline, like scratching at doors, chewing non-doggie items, barking or bathroom behaviors in an otherwise house-trained pooch.
Positive Effects of Music on Canines
Two recent studies in Britain have identified the different ways in which dogs react to different kinds of music. Unsurprisingly, our canine companions respond to classical music and rock music in much the same way as we humans do. Vivaldi is soothing and relaxing to both species, while hard rock makes both agitated. Individual dogs also have been noted to display personal preferences in their musical styles. So, don’t necessarily assume that your pup might not appreciate a little country music as well — especially if he frequently wears bandanas and hears it at home.
Treating Separation Anxiety with Music
There are several ways in which severe separation anxiety can be treated. One type of training involves slowly reconditioning your pup to your absences by various methods that include: not underscoring departures or arrivals, playing relaxing music during your absences and beginning by varying the amount of time you spend away from home. Essentially, you’re familiarizing your four-legged friend with the concept that you’ll be home as soon as this song ends, or perhaps, in his vernacular, “two shakes of a dog’s tail.”
Don’t neglect to recall that your pup’s sense of hearing is extremely acute. While the volume does not need to be loud, the sensitivity of his hearing would naturally lend him to appreciating the sound quality from a Bose SoundLink system as opposed to a tinny AM/FM clock radio.
If you are a dog lover, but hate the way that your absence makes your pet feel, introduce him or her to the joys of music. Not only will this quell feelings of loneliness and anxiety, but it will also make the time that you are gone seem far less interminable and easier to handle. Your dog will thank you for it!