All We Need is Love, Connection, and a Calm Dog | iCalmPet

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In 2003, I was approached by a concert pianist with a passion for raising Guide Dogs for the Blind. She asked if I could create a CD with calming music for dogs. As a sound researcher and music producer, I knew what she was asking for; sounds that would help calm the nervous system of both the animal and the owner. In 2008, the first few hours of Through a Dog’s Ear were published and that has grown into a catalog of 18 recordings for puppy-elderly canines and specialized calming music for cats (Through a Cat’s Ear).

How the Mammalian Auditory System Works

As I’ve studied the mammalian auditory system, I’ve come to understand that the auditory mechanism for people and their animals is similar. While we can’t move our human ears like our pets (dogs have 18 muscles per ear, cats/32!), humans, dogs, and cats still bring in sound vibrations through skin and ears, then processed in multiple areas of the brain.

People hear sounds up to 20Hz. Dogs hear up to 40Hz, and cats all the way to 60 Hz. So while all three of us mammals are indeed, hearing, we’re listening to different ranges and affix different meanings to the sounds we hear. There is something about sound, however, beyond the transference of alerting information of time and place. Many people believe that sound is also a major form of connection between people, and people and their pets. This is a major reason why sound is important.

Being Lonely is Unnatural

We live in a time of great cultural uncertainty now. Yet the mammalian brain prefers certainty and constancy (especially cats!). Because so much of our socialization has become online, there’s also a problem with basic connection skills in our culture. When you add uncertainty to lack-of-connection, humans live in a pretty stressed time and that impacts our pets.

People acquire pets to have some “one” to love and be loved by. The concept of connection is the same for dolphins, whales, monkeys, people… and dogs and cats! We all hang out in our tribes. None of us are meant to be loners. Being lonely is not natural.

What Happens to Your Pet When You Leave?

When you go away for the day, to work, etc., and your pet is left alone, the strands of connection are pulled. Your animals have learned and adapted to you. They learn that you will be back in 8-hrs, etc. They sense you. That’s why your dog or cat waits by the door – hoping/knowing that you are coming  back to connect, to feed, to play, to love them… and to be loved by them.

When it all works, it’s a lovely circle. When it doesn’t coalesce, it becomes a problem. Lonely dogs and cats don’t reason the way we do. They don’t read a clock or do yoga. Sometimes they become frightened. This is some of what contributes to separation anxiety. We can all relate to this.

But what do we do for our best furry friends? Here’s a list of five things you can start immediately to help calm your pet.

5 Ways to Calm Your Pet

  1. Your animals are wired differently. Their rational thinking and logic synapses are not the same as ours. You must be the adult in the room and anticipate from their point of view. What does your environment require for a calm dog or calm cat?

Solution: This is where calming music for dogs and cats helps create relaxed surroundings. Your pets will acclimate to the morning ritual of music being put on and you leaving. They will habituate and come to recognize this trigger of you putting on the music. To them, that means you’re leaving and coming back, because that’s what you always do.

  • Take a Sonic Inventory. If your pets appear ‘needy,’ it’s because they may have become afraid that you’re not coming back. While you’ve been out, they may have been looping with chronic sensory overload. This might include too many undefined auditory or other sensory cues that upset their nervous systems. Remember, dogs and cats are all different. By understanding what they are going through, you can make decisions to help them.

Solution: Take a simple sonic inventory of what is driving your pet nutty, and change any sonic irritants in your home. You can organically help your furry buddies by simply understanding what they hear. For information on how to take an easy sonic inventory: https://icalmpet.com/about/sonic-inventory/

The Other End of The Leash. This is a great book, written by esteemed animal behaviorist, Patricia B. McConnell. What can YOU do to keep yourself calm and collected instead of expecting your pet to provide you this state of mind? This is a paradigmatic shift… Our animals pick up our vibes. This is why it is important for us to calm ourselves in tandem (or before we interact) with our pets, understanding their sensitivity to our wierdnesses.

Solution: Get this valuable book and read it. The title says it all. The Other End of the Leash is about what vibes you put down that proverbial leash.

  • Through a Dog’s Ear – The Book! Co-author veterinarian Susan Wagner and I wrote this book in 2007 about the remarkable effect of sound on dogs. It is a short read, timely, and packed with valuable information about how to help your animals live in a human-centric world.

Solution: Get this valuable book and read it. Available on Amazon or iCalmPet.com: https://icalmpet.com/product/through-a-dogs-ear-book-plus-starter-cd/

  • Be Kind. Your animals are on your ride. You chose them, you created their physical living space, and you decide how to support them. They are in the response position and will reward you with their companionship and adoration if you are kind.

Solution: By taking good care of yourself, you are being kind to yourself and your pet. This contributes to everybody’s well-being.

  • iCalmPet Music. The music of Through a Dog’s/Cat’s Ear has been specially designed using unique processes of tone, tempo, and pattern. iCalmPet’s relaxing music for dogs and cats is also great for humans. This is totally organic acoustic sound. No drugs (CBD, etc.) or allergens. Used in clinics and pet households around the world. Also, you can find special training programs for noise phobias, separation anxiety, aggression, lazy cats, etc. https://icalmpet.com

Solution: iCalmPet Ruff ‘n Ready Speakers are blue and yellow, colors that dogs and cats can see. This helps trigger an understanding that you are going and coming back. https://icalmpet.com/ruff-n-ready-portable-speakers/

The Intricate Relationship Between Humans & Pets

We all know that there is an intricate relationship between humans, shared environments, and beloved pets. Through my extensive work since 2003 with Through a Dog’s Ear and iCalmPet, I’ve come to understand the therapeutic potential of specialized music in connecting, alleviating stress, and fostering emotional well-being. The therapeutic potency of sound is a great tool for all pet owners.

I advocate for a compassionate approach to pet care, emphasizing the importance of understanding the unique needs of our furry companions, let alone ourselves. By integrating calming music for cats and dogs into daily rituals and embracing the potency of connection, we foster an atmosphere where pets flourish, and both sides of the leash are enriched with steadfast devotion and affection.

Joshua Leeds is an authority on the therapeutic applications of music and sound. He is the founding director of Through a Dog’s Ear and iCalmPet, and arranger/producer of all iCalmPet soundtracks. His published books include Sonic Alchemy, Through a Dog’s Ear, The Power of Sound, and the upcoming Soundwork on a Hot Rock. Further information: JoshuaLeeds.com and iCalmPet.com.