Music Therapy Linked to Increased Shelter Adoptions

If you’ve ever visited the Adoption Center at the Cedar Bend Humane Society, you probably already know that you can hear our adoptable dogs before you can see them.  “Just follow the barks,” our adoption counselors will say cheerfully, as folks walk in asking to see the dogs we have available for adoption.

While barking is a healthy, normal part of being a dog, it can also be a sign of stress. Even the best shelters can be stressful environments, especially for new dog residents. There are many sights, sounds, and smells to get used to, and a whole new routine. Sometimes a bark can simply mean, “Hello! I’m so glad to meet you!”  But other times it can mean, “I’m scared and don’t understand why I’m here!”

Here at Cedar Bend, we employ many techniques to help keep our pet residents at ease, many of which involve the help of volunteers and service groups. Kennel enrichment, treat puzzles, chew toys, rawhides, and plenty of trips outside are a good start…but what about the noise?

One of the most effective ways we’ve found to combat stress barking is music.

Classical music is widely known among animal behaviorists to be calming to the canine ear. Low, slow sounds are less harsh to their ears than other kinds of music, and offer a soothing, relaxing effect.

Many shelters who practice “music therapy” with their adoptable pets find that, as a result, adoptions are on the rise.   A quiet, relaxed dog is more inviting than one who is barking and bouncing off the walls from stress. A potential adopter will equate an animal’s behavior at a shelter with its behavior in their home.   When soothing, classical music is playing, the cats are less “catty,” and the dogs bark and howl less. As a result, shelter visitors want to stay longer, ultimately resulting in more adoptions.

Even if you aren’t able to adopt a pet from Cedar Bend yourself, you can still help them get adopted by helping reduce their stress.

Monetary donations may be made here to help us fund our animal enrichment efforts. Or, pay a visit to our Amazon Wishlist, found here and send the gift of relaxing stress relief right to our shelter! You’ll see–making a difference in the life of a homeless pet, and helping one find its way home, is as easy as a song .

References: “Music Therapy for Dogs & Cats,” Michelle C. Hollow, March 5, 2015 “The Influence of Auditory Stimulation on the Behavior of Dogs Housed in a Rescue Shelter.” Wells, D. L., et al. 2002

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