There are many methods that you can use to try to calm an anxious dog, from strapping them into an anti-anxiety vest to giving them medication.
There’s one method that you may not have tried, though, and it’s been shown to be quite effective at soothing fearful pooches: playing music.
You might expect that dogs would respond best to classical masterpieces from composers like Mozart and Beethoven, but research has shown that there are two genres that pups prefer over all others: reggae and soft rock.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of songs that should have your dog feeling good in no time.
1. “Could You Be Loved” — Bob Marley & the Wailers
This song from the group’s last album is notable for its wide range of musical instruments, including guitars, bass, drums, clavinet, acoustic piano, organ, and cuíca. The variety of calm sounds will keep your dog relaxed and engaged for the entire duration.
2. “Tequila Sunrise” — Eagles
Named for a popular cocktail, this breezy tune should be just as relaxing for your pup — just don’t let them drive afterward.
3. “Hey Nineteen” — Steely Dan
This song is supposedly about a middle-aged man’s disappointment with his young lover. Even if they don’t feel a connection to the lyrics, your dog will enjoy the gentle rhythm of this jazz-fusion hit.
4. “Real Love” — Jesse Royal
As the singer will remind you again and again, this song is about real love — and has there ever been a love more real than that between a dog and their human?
5. “I’m on Fire” — Bruce Springsteen
When the Boss plays, everyone listens — including dogs. The lyrics ask if your daddy’s home, and if the answer is no, just put this tune on. It’s fantastic for soothing separation anxiety.
- Related Read: 8 Proven Ways to Calm a Dog in the Car
6. “Yesterday” — The Beatles
Even dogs can be susceptible to feeling melancholy. This classic tune will have your dog reexamining their entire lives. Just remind them that once they get older, they’ll regret all the fire hydrants they didn’t pee on.
7. “Poor Fool” — UB40
A ballad about the working man, this song will resonate with any dog who feels like they’ve spent their whole life chasing their tail — and for what? If ever there was a song made to howl to, this is it.
8. “Row Fisherman” — Wailing Souls
Sometimes your dog needs a little encouragement to keep on keepin’ on, and this tune will provide just that. Then again, it’s about leaving an ungrateful woman behind, so maybe check to make sure your fence is secure before playing it for your pooch.
9. “Our House” — Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
This song is about domestic bliss, so maybe put it on when you want to encourage your dog to stop chewing up the furniture. Then again, it does mention two cats, so your mutt might want to listen to it for different reasons.
10. “Open Arms” — Journey
If your dog doesn’t appreciate the Journey version of this power ballad, it’s also been recorded by Mariah Carey, Barry Manilow, Celine Dion, and Boyz II Men. Then again, if your dog doesn’t like Journey, it may be time to get a better dog (kidding!).
11. “Johnny B Goode” — Peter Tosh & John Benitez
A reimagining of the classic Chuck Berry hit, this cover has a mellower take on the guitar prodigy. Your dog will love it, and it may even encourage them to behave for once.
12. “La Vie En Rose” — Grace Jones
You can soothe your dog and teach them a foreign language with this sensual tune. It’s about time that you taught your dog to speak French — after all, they already kiss that way.
13. “Wild World” — Cat Stevens
This gentle folk-rock song is about the end of romance. It’s a great song to play for your dog if you have to take their favorite chew bone away from them.
14. “This Is It” — Kenny Loggins
This Grammy-winning song is the perfect way to tell your dog about the meaning of life. Then, you can play them “Danger Zone” to teach them the importance of always going as fast as possible.
15. “Stealing Stealing” — Gyptian
The theme of this song is that love will sneak up on you when you least expect it. It’s similar to how your dog will creep up on your dinner the second your back is turned.
16. “Night Nurse” — Gregory Isaacs
This seductive tune is about a man who needs someone to warm up his bed at night. That’s a role your dog will be happy to fill — just don’t expect them to share the covers.
17. “Summer Breeze” — Seals and Croft
There’s nothing like a cool wind blowing through your hair on a hot day. That’s the idea behind this song and presumably, the idea behind your pup sticking their head out the car window.
18. “Wild Horses” — Rolling Stones
“Wild Horses” is a song about not being able to be where you want to be. Your dog can surely relate, as there have been many times when they’ve been unable to be where they want to be — namely, sitting in your lap and licking your face.
The Perfect Puppy Playlist
The songs above are a great way to keep your dog calm and relaxed, but this is by no means a comprehensive list. There are a ton of other songs that would make worthy additions, so keep exposing your dog to music and see what sticks.
Also, keep in mind that every dog is an individual, so what soothes one pooch may not work for another. Watch your dog to see how they respond to each song.
Ultimately, though, the human-canine bond is so strong that your dog will probably like whatever music you like. Well, unless you like “Achy Breaky Heart,” of course.
Featured image credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock
- 1. “Could You Be Loved” — Bob Marley & the Wailers
- 2. “Tequila Sunrise” — Eagles
- 3. “Hey Nineteen” — Steely Dan
- 4. “Real Love” — Jesse Royal
- 5. “I’m on Fire” — Bruce Springsteen
- 6. “Yesterday” — The Beatles
- 7. “Poor Fool” — UB40
- 8. “Row Fisherman” — Wailing Souls
- 9. “Our House” — Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
- 10. “Open Arms” — Journey
- 11. “Johnny B Goode” — Peter Tosh & John Benitez
- 12. “La Vie En Rose” — Grace Jones
- 13. “Wild World” — Cat Stevens
- 14. “This Is It” — Kenny Loggins
- 15. “Stealing Stealing” — Gyptian
- 16. “Night Nurse” — Gregory Isaacs
- 17. “Summer Breeze” — Seals and Croft
- 18. “Wild Horses” — Rolling Stones
- The Perfect Puppy Playlist