5 Surprising Ways to Reduce Stress in Your Canine Household

Hear no Evil

April was National Stress Awareness Month. As humans we have a multitude of choices regarding ways to reduce our overall stress level, including taking yoga classes, drinking green tea, meditating, keeping a gratitude journal, etc. But, how about our dogs? We love them and bring them into our human environment, with all of its crazy sounds and sights, and we say “adjust.”

Some do.

Many don’t.

Sound researcher Joshua Leeds and veterinary neurologist Susan Wagner co-authored Through a Dog’s Ear, the first book to examine the powerful effect of the human soundscape on canines. They suggest taking a “sonic inventory” of your environment. Sound is like air. We rarely notice these two common elements unless the air suddenly becomes polluted or the sound becomes chaotic. This sonic inventory is one way of becoming aware of the noise in your pet’s environment.

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What is a sonic inventory?

  1. Sit quietly for 30 minutes, pen and pad in hand.
  2. Tune into the sounds you hear inside your home and outside on the street-the hum of the fridge, the cycle prompt of the dishwasher, the beat of a dryer, the alarm clock, hair dryer, vacuum, television, computer sounds, text alerts, traffic, car alarms, children playing, music, etc.
  3. Notice your dog’s behavior. Does he actively respond to the sounds? Is there a lack of reaction, or an overreaction to sounds you take in stride? When TV, radio or music is playing, does your dog move closer to the source or away from it?
  4. Rate the sounds from one to ten, ten being the most disturbing, one the least noticeable. Use two columns-one for your pooch and one for yourself. The goal is to have the lowest numbers you can.
  5. Ask yourself how you can make your home a calmer, more peaceful place. Which sounds can you change? Which can you avoid, turn down, or mask? Often, just by listening, we become more sonically aware, an important first step.

Personally, I consider it my responsibility to be considerate of Sanchez and Gina‘s sound environment. I play music for them daily that is designed to calm the canine nervous system. When I occasionally want to blast my Zumba playlist, I make sure they are outside. I put them in a quiet room with a treat when I vacuum, and I don’t take them to public places with loud music playing.

Those of us who love our pets often assume that our environment is the best for them. However, sometimes it requires a different way of thinking, to assess whether what works for us, works for our beloved pets as well.

Are you committed to becoming a sound aware dog lover? Thanks for posting a comment below and sharing some ways that you can improve your household sound environment for your dogs and cats. Ultimately, the 2-leggeds in your household will also benefit.

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5 Responses to 5 Surprising Ways to Reduce Stress in Your Canine Household

  1. Tammy says:

    There has been an overwhelming amount of stress & chaos in my life for far too long. Which means even more for my dogs who not only deal with their own but sense mine & everything else! Today I have had Through A Dogs Ear CD’s playing non stop for all of us!!! The 4 of us, (me & 3 dogs), have a calm stillness that we haven’t had for awhile!! I always make sure I have the CD’s playing non stop for them when I am away. Thank you for giving us all calm!!!! Loyal customer for life!!!! Tammy, Asgard, Mickala,& Dandi

    • Lisa Spector says:

      Thanks for your wonderful feedback Tammy. So glad to hear how much Through a Dog’s Ear has helped your entire household. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lora Nowak says:

    Thank you for sharing the music series. I have always known both of my dogs fear thunderstorms, fireworks and most loud noises. It never dawned on me the effects of every day household noise has on my babies,until the last several months. I have started noticing that both of them get very nervous when we may be watching a baseball game or something similar and raise our voice in cheering for our team. This article has been very helpful and I plan to take inventory of the noise that I hear in a 30 minute time frame and see how they react to various noises. My oldest dog, Ariel doesn’t quiver like my baby, Sebastian however, she has always been terrified of any loud noise, especially weather related. Sebastian wasn’t bothered by these noises for his first few years but then I think he saw his sissy’s reactions, our reactions to her fears and then decided he wasn’t so happy with the noisy stuff after all. I am going to look for more music that will help my dogs be calm, as I can only shield them from what happens in our home.

    • Lisa Spector says:

      Hi Lora – So glad you found the post helpful. I’d be curious to know what you experience when you take a sonic inventory.

      We have an extended line of music available for all age dogs that has been very helpful to thousands of sound sensitive dogs. While there is no one thing that helps every dog, we have found that the more sound reactive the dog is, the more that Through a Dog’s Ear music has helped.

      More info here: http://throughadogsear.com/music-to-enjoy/

      Let me know if you have any questions.

  3. Jan says:

    We live under the take off flight pattern for the airport. There are some flights that Passover our home, that send my dogs running from the room. These are older and heavier jets with a rumble. The noises coming from the neighbors courtyard and front door are stressful – I find myself calming my pups after they are alarmed by the stress noise. I will now try to be more proactive by prewarning them about the noise. You suggestion to put your dogs out when you do Zumba made me think I should do the same when I watch dog training tv shows – stressful dogs on tv effect my dogs. Also the doorbell on the swifter TV commercial. I have city sounds and weather CDs from you- I leave them in when I leave the house. I wish there was a way to make my own with own own noise issues!

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