Should You Leave the Radio on for Dogs?by Angela Libal
You want the best for your doggy and her craving for your companionship can make time apart stressful for both of you. As you search for ways to make your separation more comfortable, background voices in the form of radio may come to mind. In a world where people sport career titles like "canine music specialist" this may seem like a no-brainer, but some facts about canine hearing are in order before you press play.
The frequency of sound is measured in hertz, or cycles per second. Most humans hang out in the auditory range of 20 to 20,000 Hz, which seems like an impressive spread until you get the stats on canine hearing. These particular furry friends can hear sounds up to 65,000 Hz on average. Some individual dogs have auditory acuity that registers sounds up to 100,000 Hz. They can hear these sounds up to 250 yards away, too -- 10 times further than you can, assuming you have average human hearing.
If you're debating leaving the radio on for your pup while you're away, your motivation is probably to create a calming environment. Consider your pup's auditory potential before you switch on the tunes. As loud as it sounds to you, it sounds 10 times louder to her. Your dog also is picking up any high pitched noises your radio or computer may be emitting outside the range of your own hearing, including both broadcast noise and sounds generated by the machine.
A good operating guideline is to watch how your pup responds to the radio before you leave one running in your absence. Make note of whether she seeks out the sound or takes evasive maneuvers. Watch for signs of sounds that calm her as opposed to ones that agitate her. Consider her range of hearing when you select stations or playlists. Avoid raucous music, loud conversation and jarring commercial breaks, and remember she can hear more in each sound than you can.
If after watching your pup you believe she may find radio calming, select a station or playlist you know will stay calm throughout your absence. Classical or ambient stations with sedate, consistent music are preferable to epic, jarring operatic or raucous pop music ones. Keep in mind that commercials usually are designed to be attention-grabbing and louder than music or talk shows before you select a commercial station. Consider making a custom playlist of music you know calms your pup. Finally, there are many CDs produced for pets and even some streaming radio stations targeted specifically to lonely and bored canines. You may find that your treasured pet is indeed the ideal audience.
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