For a dog, spending time in a kennel can be a life-altering experience. The isolation and lack of significant social contact can create high levels of stress, which in turn can produce social or behavioral anxiety.
So what can owners do to relieve the strain on their pooches?
A recent study done at Colorado State University and published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that classical music relaxes dogs and generally produces more restful behavior.
The researchers studied 117 dogs of various breeds from a single kennel. Of those 117 canines, 83 were boarders and 34 were rescued dachshunds. Over four months the researchers produced thousands of randomly-timed assessments, exposing the dogs to 45 minutes of three different genres of music -- heavy metal, classical and simplistic psychoacoustic. The researchers periodically analyzed levels of barking patterns, restfulness, body-shaking and activity.
The study's authors found that heavy metal music appeared to increase anxiety and unrest while classical music was linked to relaxed and restful behavior.
"[I]t is suggested that shelters play classical music as a cost-efﬁcient, practical way to enhance the environment and, therefore, the welfare of shelter dogs," write the study's authors, Lori R. Kogan, Regina Schoenfeld-Tacher and Allen A. Simon. "Classical music can reduce dogs' stress levels and potentially increase the likelihood of adoption."
These findings are contrary to some contemporary thinking, which suggests that more simplistic music, like the kind found on Pet CDs, is better for relaxation.
For the entire study, see here.