Have you noticed your dog acting strange when you start practicing the violin? Or, you might be worried that playing next to your little pup might hurt his little ears, so you end up asking a very important question.
Do dogs like violins?
Dogs have certain preferences for the sounds and music they listen to rather than the instrument itself. Dogs prefer low-pitched classical music that promotes comfort and relaxation. Their sensitive ears fail to adapt to high-pitched noise and music.
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How Do Dogs React to Violins Being Played?
Dogs react differently to violins when they’re being played. Some common reactions include howling, funny facial expressions, falling asleep or becoming alarmed. Dogs normally have a positive reaction to lower pitched, relaxing music.
Start to Howl
Dogs don’t only howl to respond to other dogs howling. They howl to different sounds like the police and ambulance sirens, the doorbell, and some musical instruments.
When you play the violin, your dog might think you’re howling at him or that you’re trying to communicate. So, he might enthusiastically howl back!
What’s even more interesting is that some dogs can’t resist howling when you’re holding a long note on the violin or even while you’re singing. In this scenario, a dog tends to feel like he must join the ongoing fun, especially since a long note might sound like a howl to him.
Another dog will sit next to you and show interest as if the sounds coming out are speaking his language. Signs of his intrigue might include:
- Perking up his ears
- Reacting with his eyes and facial expressions as if you’re talking to him
- Wagging his tail
Better still, your dog might eventually snuggle up and sleep next to you.
Loud noises can be very annoying to dogs because they have extremely sensitive ears. Therefore, listening to a violin playing might not be soothing to a dog if it’s fast-paced and high-pitched.
A high note from the violin might frighten a dog, or it may get on his nerves. If that’s the case here, your dog is either going to run off to the farthest room from you or just sit and cover his ears with his paws.
Some other noises that may trigger the same reaction in dogs are:
- Loud vehicles
- Power tools
- Fire alarms, smoke alarms, and security system alarms
Show Complete Indifference
Your dog didn’t even look up? Some dogs just don’t care!
You can take them to the opera, and they’ll still be unimpressed with the tones and sounds. After all, reacting to music is a matter of preference when it comes to dogs and even people!
Some dogs might even SING! check out this American Bulldog’s cover of Tennessee Whiskey:
What Sort of Music Do Dogs Like?
Dog’s preferences are based on pitch, tempo, beat, and tone, and it’s usually music that won’t hurt their delicate ears.
Dogs could sometimes be more interested, or at least don’t get nervous, when it comes to classical and pop music. That’s because these types of music have softer beats and more gentle melodies, so they can have calming effects on the majority of dogs.
For that reason, you can always use pop or classical music as therapy for your dog by playing it when he seems anxious. This can be when you’re leaving the house, at the vet’s, or when there is a loud sound that you can’t control like thunder.
Even if your dog likes classical music, make sure you don’t play them too loud for a long period of time. Instead, set the volume to a level that is comfortable for your dog’s ears.
Music that scares your dog might have a detrimental effect. If you play it for a long time, it may stress and disturb your dog. Long-term stress can cause your dog to be aggressive or even depressed.
Which Violin Music Do Dogs Like?
As we’ve previously mentioned, dogs prefer gentle notes and soft melodies to loud and nerve-racking musical pieces. Therefore, your dog might enjoy listening to the following compositions which include violins:
- Symphony No. 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven
- Firebird Suite – ‘Lullaby’ by Igor Stravinsky
- L’onde by Ludovico Einaudi
- Prelude in E minor by Frédéric Chopin
- Air on the G string by Johann Sebastian Bach
How Does Dogs’ Hearing Compare to Ours?
Dogs have incredibly sensitive ears. Dogs hearing is far more sensitive than humans and they can hear higher pitches than us too.
The range of sound frequencies that we can hear is between 20 and 20,000 Hertz. Any sound above 20,000 Hertz is an ultrasound, which we can’t perceive.
Dogs, on the other hand, can astonishingly identify sounds between 60 and 45,000 Hertz. Of course, that’s a wide range of sounds that dogs are capable of hearing.
It’s believed that this hypersensitivity to high-pitched sounds was passed down from wild wolves to their domesticated descendants. See, these wolves needed it in the wild to listen to their prey’s squeaks, like those of rats and other rodents, and detect their whereabouts.
Dogs can also hear sounds from far away, with an ability to recognize noises that are four times further away than we can, which is almost 80 feet to a mile away.
If you’ve been wondering, that’s how dog whistles work. We don’t hear their sound because it’s in a frequency range of 16,000 hertz and 22,000 hertz. But dogs can hear them from as far as 1,200 feet.
Human ears have six muscles in each ear. They might have served a purpose for our ancestors, but for us now they are vestigial, so they no longer have a purpose.
On the complete opposite, dogs can move their ears; backward or forward, up or down, tilt them, or rotate them. They have 18 muscles to help them do that.
Dogs can also control their ear muscles to move and hear with each one independently. They could direct one ear to a certain sound and the other ear to a different one and hear both.
Why Do Dogs Whine When Instruments Are Played?
Your dog’s normal reaction to you playing an instrument might be to howl or bark. Yet, whining might be considered a problem.
If your dog is whining or whimpering in reaction to your violin, piano, or any instrument playing, that may be a sign of discomfort or stress.
You can help your dog overcome this fear with behavior modification. Still, you’ll need to consult your vet if your dog shows critical behavior, like trying to flee or any signs of aggression.
Plus, overly possessive dogs might be jealous of your given attention to the instrument. They may whine to attract your attention to them instead of the instrument you’re playing. Remember that behavior like this should be ignored, not rewarded.
However, since dogs can hear sound frequencies that we can’t, these reactions could be to sounds that we can’t even hear.
Do Instruments Hurt Dogs Ears?
Naturally, dog ears can tolerate high-pitched sounds. Yet, when your dog can’t stand the sounds of the instruments, that may be a sign of a bigger problem than discomfort or stress.
If your dog whines and whimpers, look for these signs, too, to see if the sound of the instrument is hurting his ears:
- Covering his ears with his paws
- Scratching his ears
- Tilting his head
- Burying his head under a pile of pillows
These signs mean that the dog is in pain and that he can’t bear the noise.
Most dogs can enjoy violin music as long as the notes are gentle, slow, and soothing. Fast and loud classical music pieces, as well as music from any other genre, could stress out dogs or even scare them off.
To make sure you’re not hurting your dog when practicing music, always monitor his reaction carefully. Howling, sleeping, and even indifference are all good signs while whining or running away mean the dog’s annoyed.