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The Power of Music in Easing Dog Separation Anxiety

If your dog suffers from dog separation anxiety, leaving the house can sometimes be just as distressing for you as it is for your four-legged friend. Our dogs are a source of comfort to us, and we strive to provide them with a sense of security and tranquility in return. Often, however, our pets become so attached to us that they have difficulties managing their behavior when we leave them home alone. They might bark, whine, or become destructive to our belongings or furniture. In extreme cases of dog separation anxiety, they might even become upset to the point of self-harm. This is obviously very upsetting to both our dogs and ourselves. Luckily, there are several simple steps that we can take to ease this behavior and help our dogs remain calm and relaxed when separated from their owners.

The most important thing we can do to relax our dogs and help ease their anxiety is to establish a calming routine that is synonymous with separation. This can be achieved by instituting and maintaining an air of peace and happiness in the moments leading up to departure and continuing through the first several minutes of our return home. Music can be very beneficial in creating and maintaining a tranquil mood for our pets. Many veterinarians and animal behaviorists strongly recommend the use of soothing music, such as the gentle harp music featured in Chill Dog, as a key tool in easing dog separation anxiety. Simply turn on the music, spend a few quality moments listening with your dog, then calmly leave your pup to enjoy the tunes alone. Upon your return, allow your dog to settle down from his initial excitement, then enjoy the music together for a few more moments. If you’re consistent, it will not only ease your dog’s separation anxiety, but add a little relaxation to your daily routine as well.

How To Treat Separation Anxiety In Dogs Using ChillDog Music

When we brought our Maltese mix into our lives we were prepared to make her life as full and happy as we could. She was a rescue dog, after all, and she needed to know that she was now in a home where she was loved!

From the beginning, she showed signs of being a very needy puppy. She was extremely attached to me, following me around from room to room continuously.

The worst part was when we had to leave her at home for any length of time. As we’d leave our apartment, we’d here scratching at the door and whining and barking. Our neighbors told us that she’d keep this up continuously whilst we were out. She would often have urinated whilst we were gone, too. On returning, she would be overwhelmed. She’d run around in circles barking, jumping up and extremely needy for attention.

Unfortunately, she was clearly suffering badly from separation anxiety, either from her time at the shelter or from abuse she’d suffered with her previous owner. Something had to be done, and we looked at various solutions that were recommended to us by friends and our vet, including giving her clothing with my scent on it.

It was only when I came across pupsnap.com that we got results. On this website, they offer a CD / MP3 download of soothing harp music, Chill Dog, especially designed to calm anxious dogs. I was a little skeptical at first, but when I sampled the tracks, I felt straightaway that this was a possible solution. She is used to music being played in the home, and we often snuggle together whilst it’s on.

It’s only been a short time, but there’s already been a marked improvement in her behavior. She’s calmer when we’re about to leave, and when we return. Music is soothing for us humans, and it seems for anxious dogs, too!

Barking Along!

There is no doubt that we are on the right track with this concept. Our gallery of photos is growing, so don’t forget to send us your favorite pictures and tell your friends and neighbors to do the same. I love hearing people tell me stories about their dogs and how they respond to the music. The Lange Foundation was playing the CD for their dogs when I went in to see how they liked it!  So many people tell me they are using it for their own relaxation and especially yoga, even if they don’t have a dog. That’s great!  Keep spreading the word!

Chill Dog Released!

Chill Dog has been available since May 1! It’s been a pretty exciting first week. We are assembling our team to get the word out – going to local pet stores, approaching dog groomers and walkers and telling all of the enthusiastic dog people we can find. Our goal is to also get the cd into larger pet store chains and to spread the word on social media. Already the response from people who have heard the disc is great! But as we knew, the music is relaxing in all kinds of situations. In fact my friends last weekend did their yoga and pilates to it every morning. Your feedback and ideas are always welcome. It takes a village! Please don’t forget to send us pictures of your pet (or yourself) chilling out and like us on Facebook! Every single person and dog matters!! –Marcia

Inspiration

The inspiration for Chill Dog comes from several places. The first thing I do when I am behind a harp is warm up. This includes a series of exercises and scales. When I warm up at work, often my collegues come to sit and listen. Some actually stay a whle because they find it relaxing. Over the years many people have said, “I wish I could take you home with me. You could help me sleep”

The second part of the inspiration are the dogs that I encounter around harps.  Our own dog Sadie loves to sit in my studio while I practice.  She usually finds her favorite spot in front of the window, lays down and lets out a big sigh.  I have seen this scenario played out over and over at students homes with their dogs.  They like to be close to the instrument.  It seems to lull them to sleep.

A major part of the enjoyment for me in making this cd is getting to collaborate with my husband, who added the sound design and all of the engineering for the project.  It was mastered by the best in the business, Bruce, who made the sound stage bigger than life!   We are people that live in the world of sound, and we wanted to create a high quality product.  I hope you enjoy it!

Healing

The harp is used as a healing instrument. It is very popular for music therapy. I have had the opportunity to play in hospitals where I can see the EKG machine and witness a patient’s heart rate decrease while I play. I’m going to give this cd to our local animal shelter to play. It would be interesting to be able to see EKG’s of the animals 🙂

Interest

It is amazing how many people are really excited about this project. It almost seems commonplace for people to play music on for their pets while they go away to work. This cd is different because it is acoustic music instead of synth generated sounds. Also, the pieces are original, not excerpts of pre-existing classical works. Check out the Dog of the Month story about Maggie and her owner!

What are Some Nightly Rituals I Can Do With My Dog To Help Him Relax Before Bed?

At the end of the day, many dogs may have difficulties calming down and relaxing with their families. Excited or anxious dogs may whine, pace, chew up furniture, or bark. To help signal the end of the day, pet owners should consider starting a nightly ritual of playing relaxing pet music.

Studies have shown that certain types of music can help to create an environment that calms dogs down and reduces their anxiety. Classical music featuring the harp has been specifically shown to calm ‘the savage beast.’ This type of music should be continuously played for a period of time, so that the dog can actually hear, listen, and be calmed by the music. An example of harp music specifically catering to a dogs ear is Chill Dog. This compilation of songs will prove to relax the dog and be pleasing to the owner as well.

Many owners may try to provide relaxing pet music through the radio or television. This action will be counterproductive. The constant changes in programming can prove to be a type of sensory overload for pets. In order to provide a relaxing environment, the music needs to be calm and soothing without abrupt changes in volume or type of genre.

Owners should incorporate specific actions into the dogs nightly ritual to signal that it is time to relax. For example, have the dog lay down in a certain spot every night while the music plays. The dog will learn through this type of training behavior that when the owner places him in this spot with the music playing that it is time to relax. The music will help to relieve your pups anxiety, while the placement of the dog will relate to their training. Owners may find that through playing Chill Dog and practicing nightly rituals that their pet will be calmer through the day.