Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Through a Dog's Ear


by Terri Elkins Taming the Wildside Dog training

Last night as I turned off the television and looked at all six dogs lying down in various areas of the living room, I laughed as each head popped up and looked at me waiting for me to say, “Okay, let’s go to bed!” When those wonderful words were said, each dog jumped up and filed into the bedroom going to their favorite spot to rest for the evening. Two on their dog beds and four on the bed! Once they get situated they might move around one more time but then at 5:30 am all six are up, barking, licking my face and Glacier, my newfie/husky mix has jumped on the bed and is now laying his rather large head and neck across my face. My coonhound is sitting up, nose straight in the air and howling. I have tried to ignore them, to no avail, I have sat up and told them to, “Go to bed” which might work sometimes. I have just given in and gotten up, let them out, fed them their breakfast and then I have gone back to bed for another hour. Even I have to laugh some mornings, but as comical as it is, there are mornings I would love to sleep in or just be able to wake up slowly!

Knowing that I would go through this whole morning ritual in a few hours, I began thinking of what I should try differently to help my dogs sleep a little longer in the morning. Then I had this great idea! I got back out of bed and went to the office and grabbed the CD player. I returned to the bedroom and set it up on the nightstand. I grabbed the CD, “Through a Dog’s Ear” which I had picked up at Karen Pryor’s ClickerExpo inserted it into the player, pushed the repeat button and let this play softly all night. Well, thirty minutes into the CD, all the dogs were sleeping extra soundly. I too had a hard time staying awake! Seriously, the dogs did not shift at all last night and at 5:30 one dog raised her head, looked around, and as I held my breath she put her head down and went back to sleep!! The rest of the dogs were out cold! They slept until I woke up at 7:00 am and shouted, “Okay, let’s go!” All the dogs were up without all the barking and craziness, just very happy tails and out they went to use the bathroom. I was a very happy person!

What is “Through a Dog’s Ear?” It is music therapy, a cutting edge science on how dogs react to sound and how to use sound as a tool to manage your dog’s anxiety due to change of environment, separation, storms and so forth. I first heard about this piece of music on a special about shelter dogs. A particular shelter began to play it to see if it would bring the anxiety level down among the dogs. They began to notice that in the area of the shelter where the music was playing, the dogs began to come in from their runs and settle down nicely and would even sleep. After watching the program and doing a little research myself I began to ask a few clients to try it with their dogs that were dealing with some anxiety issues. Once again the results were very positive.

I highly recommend the book, it comes with the cd, and it is a great story on how the research came about, how the music works and it is very relaxing, even for people. I will try it again tonight and keep you updated on how we are all sleeping!!! Goodnight!!

The following is a video from the "CBS Early Show"

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