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Tuesday, 8 March  2005  Dog Music

Everyone has their own idea about what makes a good song. But have you ever wondered what kind of music dogs like?


MICHAEL SMYTH: OK, so most dogs don't walk down the street wearing headphones, let alone listening to Cliff Richard, but dogs do have an ear for music.

VIC HOLDER, CHILI'S OWNER: She likes a bit of everything, rock'n'roll.

She likes a bit of Elvis, bit of the Barflies.

MICHAEL SMYTH: Given her broad taste in music, we thought Chilli the Rottweiler -- who by the way is also an accomplished singer -- was the perfect pet to test a new CD of relaxation music for dogs called BARKarole.

She took it around to her friend Loretta's place for a listen, and the two dogs seemed to enjoy it, even if working the remote was a bit tricky.

LISA HOLDER, CHILI'S OWNER: When it came on, she walked over to the stereo and gave it a bit of a sniff, as if to say, "What's that?"

So she acknowledged that it was on.

MICHAEL SMYTH: The CD was composed by Adelaide broadcaster and musicologist Jaroslav Kovaricek.

It's a mix of new age music, natural sounds and barking, an album he says was inspired by his late dog Dora.

JAROSLAV KOVARICEK, COMPOSER: She would take me for a walk in the morning, then she would walk straight to the piano here and I had to play music for her, and that's how we used to start our day, and she responded so well, so then I started composing music for her.

MICHAEL SMYTH: So how does he know what dogs like?

After all, they can hear a much greater range of frequencies than we can.

JAROSLAV KOVARICEK, COMPOSER: They respond to nice harmonious sounds and they don't like a lot of contemporary music because of its high content of noise.

You see they really don't like drum machines.

MICHAEL SMYTH: Josie Eiffe has been breeding Rottweilers for 23 years and reckons dogs tend to like the same music as their owners -- after all they haven't got much choice.

JOSIE EIFFE, ROTTWEILER BREEDER: My old dog likes very sedate music -- country music, Vera Lynn-type music.

Not so much into Bach as Vera Lynn, maybe.

MICHAEL SMYTH: Some may be quick to dismiss the idea of relaxation music for dogs, but respected animal behaviourist Robert Holmes thinks there could be some merit in it, although he'd like to see some more research.

ROBERT HOLMES, ANIMAL BEHAVIOURIST: Yes, I think it is worth looking at. I would strongly suspect, in fact, that the effect that will be first identified is the effect on people, because if people are calmer then it's likely to be passed onto the dogs, and vice-versa, if people are agitated or anxious, the dogs tend to pick it up as well.

MICHAEL SMYTH: So next time you're choosing what music to put on, you might want to hand over the choice to Rover.

But Jaroslav says his music comes with a warning -- it's not suitable for cats!



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English Bites - Dog Music
story notes

let alone
The expression let alone is used after a statement to emphasise that because the first thing is not likely, the next thing is even less likely.

Example: She didn't even say sorry, let alone pay for the damage.

rock'n'roll
Of course, rock'n'roll is a type of popular music from the 1950s. It's literally rock and roll, but we abbreviate it and the two apostrophes show that we've taken out two letters.

more information: contractions

thought
The past tense of the irregular verb think.
more information: think

Rottweiler
A Rottweiler is a German breed of dog with a stocky body and short black fur.


took
The past tense of the irregular verb take.
more information: take

came on
started to be heard; began to play

Example: I had a radio that came on every morning to wake me up.
Follow the link for more meanings of the key phrasal verb come on.
more information: come on

gave
The past tense of the irregular verb give.
more information: give

late
We use late before someone's name or title to mean recently deceased or dead.

Example: The late Ronald Reagan suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

range
The word range refers to the amount or number of things between an upper and lower limit.

frequencies
In science, the word frequency refers to the number of times that a wave is produced in a second. High frequency sounds are high pitched and low frequency sounds are low pitched.

Dogs can hear sounds at very high frequencies, but the human ear can't.

harmonious
Here, harmonious means musically pleasing. If a sound is harmonious, all the parts of it fit together in a pleasant way.
It comes from the word harmony, which describes a combination of notes played together.

contemporary music
Contemporary music mean music made now, or music from the present day.

content
Here, content refers to the amount contained.
Follow the link and listen to another way of pronouncing the word spelled c-o-n-t-e-n-t.
more information: content

vice-versa
the opposite is also true

pick it up
notice and respond to it

Example: Some say that dogs can pick up your fear.
For more uses of the phrasal verb pick up, follow the link.
more information: pick up

you're
The shortened or contracted form of you are. Find out when to use the word pronounced the same but spelled your by following the link.
more information: your & you're
spotlight

This is definitely not a dog's breakfast.

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