Saturday, February 16, 2008

In Review--classical music for dogs

Through a Dog's Ear CD
Music to Calm Your Canine Companion
Joshua Leeds & Lisa Spector
Sounds True

Through a Dog's Ear (book)
Joshua Leeds & Susan Wagner, DVM, MS
Sounds True

Two loves have remained constant throughout my life thus far--the love of animals and music. My human instincts and experiences have proven to me that animals enjoy music as much as humans. Certainly animals do not hold intellectual conversations about rhythmic structure and their understanding of music probably does not bode well in an academic setting. However, recent research has proven that animals' moods are affected by music and just like humans, sound healing concepts such as entrainment and resonance are just as true for dogs as they are for humans. According to authors Joshua Leeds (sound healer and researcher), and Susan Wagner (doctor of veterinarian medicine), in their book, Through A Dog's Ear, dogs have refined taste in music. They prefer European classical composers.

This will come as a surprise to many people who think of animals as extensions of themselves or as biological robots. But for people who truly pay attention to animals and are higher on the consciousness ladder, will say, "ah hah, I told you that my terripoo loves Bach." I encountered squirrels that would experience rapture listening to Rachmoninov's Piano Concerto #3, and I witnessed crows swaying on a telephone wire to reggae music. I have heard songbirds team up with Native American flutists and vocalists.

But for those who still feel skeptical about the relationship between music and animals, now a book and a CD, by the same title, Through A Dog's Ear which involves the team of pianist Lisa Spector, Joshua Leeds and Susan Wagner, will give skeptics a run for their money. As the press notes for the project cite, humans have been experimenting with alternative medicine with their pets which includes massage, acupunture, reiki, behavorial therapy and now, sound healing. Not only that, this new research raises our consciousness in regard to our pets, with an emphasis on dogs in that we learn to hear sounds (annoying and pleasant) through a dog's ear.

Yesterday, I sat down and I read the book cover to cover. As I was reading the book, I noticed a variety of annoying sounds in my environment such as trains passing, reving engines of trucks, people shouting, a vacuum cleaner, police sirens etc...I thought of how my own sensitivies were disturbed by all of this noise and the fight or flight syndrome that took place in my own body. Then I thought of dogs who can hear noise levels not perceptive to the human ear and they cannot analyze the sounds that they hear the way that humans can. Dogs are more sensitive to sound than humans and sounds we cannot even hear cause anxiety in dogs.

The CD features simple musical patterns played on piano. The music plays at 60 beats per minute, (slows the heart down through entrainment), thus relaxing an anxious dog. The music includes compositions by Bach, Rachmaninov (Vocalise), Chopin, Schumann, Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven. I found the music relaxing for myself since I have been experiencing the tension of the recent eclipse and the approaching one.

The book chronicles the research that led up to the production of the project and features stories of human-dog relationships without falling into sentimentality or anthropomorphism. A starter CD is also included with the book. I don't even think you need to be a dog owner to enjoy this book and CD, but a passion for animals is a must. Animal behavioralists, healers of all stripes, dog lovers, and dog caretakers would benefit from reading the pages of this book and the animals in their care would be permitted to enjoy some highly refined music on their own terms., Sounds True

I will be featuring one of the creators of this project on an upcoming Global Heartthrob Radio. Stay tuned for the exact date of the interview.