A couple weeks ago, I was out walking my dog with a friend and her two dogs. One of her dogs is a sweetie, but the other is a real handful. As we discussed the behavior problems she was struggling to tame, she mentioned that she was using special music CDs for dogs.
"For dogs?" I asked.
"For dogs," she replied. "It's called 'Through a Dog's Ear.'"
"What will they think of next?" I chuckled.
"Don't laugh," my friend said, "One of their CD's is on the Billboard list of best-selling classical albums!"
OK, that got my interest. I tracked them down on the Internet and contacted Lisa Spector, co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear to find out more about this classical canine music.
BJG: I recall that old RCA logo of a black and white dog listening to the horn of a wind-up gramophone -- their slogan was "His Master's Voice." That's what comes to mind when I read the name of your company, Through a Dog's Ear. Tell me more about music and dogs.
LS: I'm a concert pianist and I used to own a music school. In 2003, I attended a seminar on psychoacoustics -- the study of how sound effects the human nervous system -= with sound researcher Joshua Leeds. After that, I started applying those principles to my piano students. I learned how to use music to charge -- or discharge -- their nervous systems. I found it was extremely effective in helping them calm and focus.
About that time, I was also a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind and I was raising a very high-energy puppy. I began to notice that when I played the slowed-down, simplified, re-arranged, classical music I used to relax my piano students, my rambunctious pup would be snoozing in no time. The music I had used with my students also worked on this dog!
I began to wonder if the psychoacoustic principles I learned from Joshua would also benefit dogs, so I approached him with the idea of collaborating on creating music recordings to calm canines and relieve anxiety issues. We then went into two years of clinical testing. The results inspired us to launch Through a Dog's Ear, which currently consists of a book and a music series for dogs.
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