Have you ever wondered if dogs are scared of specific musical instruments? Why do they howl when you play certain instruments? Let’s dive into this topic and find out everything you need to know!
So, are dogs actually scared of musical instruments?
Yes, they can be scared due to their strange, instinctive behavior, fear of loud noises, and bad previous memories. But fear not, there are solutions to help your furry friend overcome their fear. Letting them explore the instrument, using positive reinforcement techniques, starting to play far away from the dog, playing softly at first, and slowly drawing them closer are all possible solutions.
As a responsible dog parent, it’s important to consider playing musical instruments without bothering your dog. In this article, we’ll explore six different reasons why dogs can be scared of musical instruments, as well as some typical instruments that may cause fear. Let’s enhance our understanding of our furry friends and ensure they feel comfortable and safe in any situation.
Do dogs actually scare of musical instruments?
Some dogs are afraid not only of musical sounds but also of musical instruments. It depends on the dog, situation, and many other factors.
However, with regards to my dogs, Bella and Roxy, they don’t even nearly take care of what I’m doing when I play my acoustic guitar.
When I brought my guitar a few years ago, it was a bit strange for them. Actually, It was like they were terrified by my guitar. However, I was able to handle the situations, and now they are super calm when I play my favorite musical instruments.
It’s evident that dogs cannot bear up with high-pitched noises. So, It really makes sense to have a dog afraid of the sounds of some musical instruments, including the piano, guitar, or violin.
But why would they’re supposed to become scared when some musical instrument isn’t just even playing?
Therefore, we are going to understand the possible reasons why a dog would show such an off-the-wall behavior and what you can do about that.
Reasons why do dogs scared of some musical instruments.
Here are the common reasons why this could happen.
1. It’s strange to your dog.
A dog that isn’t properly socialized could easily get terrified by strange items that can make wired noises (Dog’s perspective), especially this can often be seen among young puppies.
These dogs are usually afraid of fireworks, thunder, and other similar stimuli. so, it’s better to connect the dog with the musical instruments using the positive reinforcement techniques we cover in this article and other proven methods.
2. An instinctive behavior.
Dogs tend to howl when they hear high-pitched sounds, including sirens, vacuum cleaners, crying babies, and some musical instruments. Some may believe that this happens due to fear.
As hundreds of researchers have proven over the several decades, this is an instinctual behavior for canines given by their ancestors.
Usually, when a wolf gets lost, it howls just to inform other members where he is currently. Then he waits for the reply howl from the pack, and it gives this lost wolf the correct direction and navigation to return its pack.
That being said, it doesn’t necessarily only for navigation purposes. Their howling has many other meanings, including communicating the positions of prey, upfront informing regarding predators.
So, back to our concern. In general, dogs don’t have any understanding of music whatsoever just because canines don’t have verbal language as humans do.
However, they are instinctively designed to respond to howlings and other sounds similar to their howling, especially musical instruments.
Have you ever seen a dog howls when two or groups of people sing, especially when singing high-pitched songs? That’s because it pretends the dog’s brain this singing like social behavior.
3. Dogs are afraid of loud noises.
Usually, dogs are afraid of loud noises. So, whenever you play whatever musical instrument you have, your dog may find it unbearable for its ears, resulting in some sort of scare at specific musical instruments.
If you need to practice an instrument, it’s imperative to ensure the dog’s comfort. Frankly, their ears are unimaginably sensitive, and exposure to loud noises regularly could be caused to happen permanent damages to their inner ear down the line.
So, consider following the solutions I’m gonna walk you through in this article.
Generally, any musical instrument that produces bass notes, vibrations, and higher notes, is threatening from the dog’s perspective. This may be somewhat similar to why puppies are afraid of dogs barking.
4. Possessiveness or jealous.
Some dogs are highly attached to their owners, and they might feel jealous of the new musical instrument as the owners spend a lot of time on a strange thing.
5. Dog has ear problems.
Even your dog is entirely OK with musical instruments; it might be scared of them because it is prone to an ear infection.
Especially, you need to check whether he tries to cover his ears with paws, tilt the head to a side, whenever you play the musical instrument, or when the television is on.
Following best practices to maintain its ear health at an optimum level is the best thing to do. However, take him to a vet as soon as you figured out such an infection from your dog.
6. Previous memory.
Do you own an adopted dog? If so, something might happen in the former life that can make him feel scared of musical instruments.
However, some technics can help your dog to be comfortable with such instruments.
How to play musical instruments without scaring dogs off?
If you own a dog that is so scared of musical instruments, it’s pretty challenging to handle as you have to keep practicing the instrument you like in the home without scaring the dog off.
Nonetheless, I’m going to give you a handful of solutions that worked me like a charm, and I hope you will also find them helpful. Without further ado, let’s head over to the solutions.
1. Let the dog explore musical instrument.
As soon as you bring a musical instrument home and find the dig is quite scared of it, don’t attempt to turn on or play the instrument.
The very first thing you wanna do is, let the dog sniff and explore it. Then cuddle him for 10 minutes or so, and let the dog immediately associate with the device. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what the device is.
2. Use treats.
High-value dog treats are mighty and can be used for pretty much any kind of positive reinforcement.
If your dog is still scared of approaching near to the musical instrument you got, place some puppy treats here and there nearby the instrument.
For instance, if the dog is scared of a piano, dropping treats under the piano will help your dog associate with the device. Also, don’t forget to use verbal encouragement while showing a decent level of affection.
Make sure not to move the object while this process is being happened in order to keep him getting startling.
Remember, you haven’t played the instrument yet.
3. Start playing far away from the dog.
When the dog is entirely comfortable to hang around the new instrument, start playing it far away from the dog as much as possible you can.
Maybe, you can try playing it when the dog is playing in the backyard with another family member.
Of course, the dog will hear the sound. But, he is currently enjoying the outdoors, and that music is just another sound to him at the movement.
4. Start playing something soft.
Whenever the dog is engaged in an outdoor activity with someone else, try playing something with something soft instead of loud just because it’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable for the dog.
So, playing a genre something calm and gentle at the initial stage of training the dog is much more critical to help him not become scared of musical instruments.
Do this for 3-4 days. Please make sure not to play it whenever the dog is inside.
5. Slowly get the dog closer.
Start to play it whenever the dog is outside and engaging with something else. The dog should hear the music for sure.
After around 10-15 minutes, you started to play it, ask someone to get the dog inside and hang it in another room. Possibly your partner can redirect its attention by showing the dog’s favorite toys and treats with nice verbal attraction.
Conversely, you can tell someone in the family to play the device for you, and you can take charge of dog training from the beginning of step 2.
You gotta keep progressing gently day by day. The following day, keep the dog next room and play the instrument. Make sure to continue to do rewarding, praising in order to redirect the dog.
Eventually, consider taking the dog near the instrument whenever you feel he is entirely comfortable with the device, and he doesn’t care what you’re doing with that “ODD” thing.
If you follow the guidelines correctly so far, your dog won’t be scared of musical instruments after step 6,
6. Provide a playtime prior to playing the intrument.
It doesn’t matter how comfortable the dog with the musical instrument is; you gotta make sure to provide a good playtime before playing the device.
In that way, your dog will be super calm, and he won’t be super enthusiastic about howling or messing against the instrument.
7. Record while you play and use it.
Try recording the music you play. Then take the dog inside and start cuddling and playing with him. Meanwhile, play that recording and just have some chill time with the pup when music is being played in the background.
Slowly increase the sound and continue playing with him. You will be amazed how loud the music will get with your loving pooch isn’t reacting.
8. Hire a dog trainer.
Usually, a dog trained is specialized in doing this stuff. So, consider hiring a professional dog trainer if you find it challenging to train your dog not to become afraid of musical instruments.
9. Consult a vet.
As we discussed earlier, perhaps the reason could be an ear infection. So, take him to a vet and ensure to follow the best practices to keep his ear health at a healthy level.
Frequently asked questions.
Do dogs scared of Guitars?
We’ve commonly discussed whether dogs are scared of musical instruments.
A dog may be scared of guitars because it’s an odd shape, dog’s instinctive behavior, loudness, and bad previous memories. Letting the dog explore the guitar by encouraging dog treats & praising, avoiding noisy genres, positive reinforcement, playing similar background music are possible solutions.
As my experience goes, my dogs were afraid of loud noises, even for guitars. However, when I did the exact same thing as mentioned above, they became more comfortable and easygoing.
There is no difference compared to the earlier 7 step process when training a dog to get familiar with guitars. So, consider following the same steps.
Do dogs scared of Violins?
A dog might scare of violins due to their strange shapes, high-pitched music, dog’s instinctive behavior, ear infections, and bad previous memories. There are possible solutions to avoid high-pitched genres, letting the dog explore the violin, positive reinforcement, and playing violin background music.
Do dogs scared of Flutes?
Your dog might get scared of flutes due to their high-pitched sound, ear infections, jealousy, possessiveness; it triggers the dog’s instinctive behaviors and bad previous memories.
The very first thing you wanna do is follow the 7 steps we’ve discussed earlier. Then consider executing the below essential points in order to get your dog comfortable with flutes.
- Since associating the dog with smell and sight of the flute is crucial, cuddle the dog a bit with the flute on your hand while offering treats.
- Then hold it to the lips and attempt to play. But, don’t play it actually.
- If the dog seems anxious and restless, go back to very first step. Do this couple of more times.
- Use the mobile phone and take a recording while you play the flute. Of course, downloading flute music will also work. However, ensure to get one that is quite similar to how you usually play.
- Initially play it in a low volume while cuddling with your dog. Then slgradually increase the volume up to a certain point where it’s quite audible.
- Continue with treating, praising, cuddling.
- Again hold the flute up and attempt to play. But now, you gotta blow it or second or two.
- Observe the dog’s reaction and praise.
- After a minute or so, blow it again for about three seconds. Likewise, slowly increase the time playing.
- Again, don’t forget to follow the guidelines that we’ve discussed above 7 step process.
Do dogs scared of piano?
The piano is a considerably large musical instrument, and there is nothing to wonder if a dog is scared of this strange, wired-looking, noisy, and huge thing.
A dog may be scared of a piano due to its strange size and shape, high-pitched noise, bad previous memories, instinctive behavior, jealousy, and ear infections. Positive reinforcement methods, letting the dog explore the piano, initial soft playing, slowly draws him closer are possible solutions.
Again, be sure to follow the 7 steps that we’ve covered earlier. Meanwhile, here are some of the essential things that are worth considering.
- Initially, don’t attempt to play the piano. Let the dog sniff it.
- If the dog is still scared of the piano, drop handful of treats under the bench.
- Then sit on the floor nearby the instrument and cuddle the dog and spend some quality time there.
- Whenever the dog is comfortable being nearby the piano, just touch one key. Ensure not to touch a bass one.
- If the dog is still calm, mark it and praise. Use verbal appreciation to encourage him to stay with you without being scared.
- After a minute or so, do steps 4 and 5 again. Then continue to do this around 5-7 times.
- If the dog gets anxious, please start again from the first or second step.
- Next day, start by doing the step 4 and 5 for about two rounds.
- Then switch gears to tough two keys.
Remember to observe the signs of distress like trembling, restlessness, lip-licking, yawning, and attenuated whining. Consider gently getting one of its paws and pressing one key.
Always use a happy voice, treats to keep him on track all the time. Recording the piano or just downloading and playing it as background music in the places where he hangs around most of the time will help him get comfortable with the piano sound.
Things to be aware of.
Here are some of the essential points you need to be aware of.
- This is a time-consuming process. So, being patience during the process is extremely important to get the maximum result out of it.
- We’ve seen even ear infections can make a dog scared of musical instruments. So, NEVER EVER skip regular veterinary checkups.
- Be sure not to play deafening music that isn’t appropriate for dogs.
- Follow all the guidelines. You won’t get expected results by skipping one or two steps.
Most people are curious to know why some dogs are scared of musical instruments. Well, that can be influenced by 6 main reasons, and we’ve discussed 7 step process to solve that issue. Moreover, the frequently asked questions will be beneficial for every dog parent. Hope you found this helpful.