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Can Music Really Heal Your Dog?

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Four years ago, Sanchez was experiencing intense neck pain. My holistic veterinarian doesn’t have x-ray machines, so I took him to a neighboring clinic that does. I was told he would need to be sedated unless he could lay completely still on his back for the x-ray.  Not only was this a clinic that was new for him, but the veterinarian didn’t exactly have a calming presence. And, I wasn’t allowed to go into the x-ray room with Sanchez.

Fortunately, I had Through a Dog’s Ear downloaded on my iPhone. So, I asked if I could send in Sanchez’s calming music with him on my phone. The vet gave me a strange look, and then said, “well…. ok.” About 10 minutes later, he walked Sanchez out of the x-ray room and said, “We’re done. No need to sedate, he laid still and listened to the music. By the way, what is that magical music anyhow?”

I then realized the need for portable calming canine music and that experience planted the seed for iCalmDog. The clinically tested music in CD format was already calming hundreds of thousands of dogs at home and in shelters. What if dogs had a device that played their own music and could be taken anywhere? After all, people listen to their music on their mobile devices. What if Buster had his own specialized music on a player designed for him… sort of like an iPawd for dogs?

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It turned out Sanchez was diagnosed with a slipped disc in his neck. Fortunately, he responded very well to acupuncture treatment, and it literally saved his life. Little did I know then how much I would need him to lay still during treatment. Taking iCalmDog to the vet clinic became a routine for us. Well, until my vet supplied iCalmDogs in all of her treatment rooms, so I didn’t need to bring my own.

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More recently, Sanchez was recovering from E. coli. It was really touch-and-go for awhile, and I feared I was going to lose him. During that time, I was giving him subcutaneous fluids daily, cooking all his meals, and trying to never leave home alone. I was worried sick. My 13 and 1/2 year old Labrador seemed suddenly very old and frail. listening to calming canine music For a 3-week period, I was playing his favorite calming music, Elderly Canine on his iCalmDog almost around the clock. The soothing sound tracks were such a comfort to us both, I’m not sure who it helped more. And while he wasn’t up for his nightly bonding time through training, we shared some very tender moments together listening to music.

Sanchez Calm Dog

I’ll never know the full impact of music in his healing process, I’m just so grateful that Sanchez is just about back to his normal old self. And while we’re again training every night with yummy treats, we’ve also been enjoying some cuddle time together in the evenings while listening to his favorite music.

Has music helped heal your dog (or you)? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

(Aside note: I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to walk into a very quiet vet clinic, see calm pets, and hear nothing except music especially designed for dogs and cats. I gave up my concert career to create music for our beloved 4-leggeds, and this is one of the ways I’m reminded that it was worth it.)

 

 

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Tips for Keeping Dogs Safe on Halloween

Sanchez Great pumpkin

It can be very fun for children to dress up as ghouls and goblins. But, dogs don’t understand the concept and can be very fearful of people wearing masks and costumes. And the huge number of children ringing the doorbell and yelling “Trick or Treat” can cause excessive barking and put many dogs into sensory overload. In my early adult years, I had a small dog with a heart murmur that had a heart attack on Halloween and died. The constant activity was too much for him. If I knew then what I know now, I would have kept him away from the stress of all of the noisy activity and immersed him with canine sound therapy.

Tips for providing a safe canine Halloween:

1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day.

2. Keep your dogs inside while trick or treaters are out, preferably with human companionship.

3. Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat, away from the front door. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option.

4. Keep the curtains and windows closed.

5. Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar (especially if they have access to the front door).

6. Leave your dog something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats.

7. Add some Canine Sound Therapy: Through a Dog’s Ear available on iCalmPet.com is specially designed classical music clinically demonstrated to calm canine anxiety issues. Options for listening: Free listening samples, downloads, CDs, iCalmDog.

Gina the Rabbi and Sanchez the Bumblebee
Gina the Rabbi and Sanchez the Bumblebee

Should I Dress My Dog in a Halloween Costume?

While it can be very fun for humans to dress up their dogs, many dogs don’t prefer it, and some hate it. Please don’t force your dog to wear a Halloween costume if they don’t enjoy it. And, certainly, don’t dress your dogs in a costume that restricts their breathing or movement. While Sanchez and Gina don’t love wearing costumes, they are always extremely well paid for doing so. In addition to their favorite treats, when they dressed in costume for my annual student Halloween recital, they also received tons of affection from my piano students, something they absolutely loved.

Do your dogs enjoy wearing costumes? Thanks for sharing your stories and adding any safety tips of your own in a comment below.

Delivering Calm, four paws at a time…

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Calm your Canine Companion music series when you sign up for the iCalmPet / Through a Dog’s Ear newsletter and/or Lisa’s Blog. Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

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Nightly Rituals with Dogs

Truth be told, I am a late night owl and Sanchez and Gina aren’t. They usually go to sleep hours before me. By the time I retire, I listen to Through a Dog’s Ear music to help me fall asleep, not them.

However, our nightly ritual involves me playing the piano last thing every night, just before I go up to bed. While they have a choice of several dog beds, they always choose to sleep on their beds under the piano when I am playing music from the Through a Dog’s Ear 7-CD series.

I hope you enjoy a segment of our nightly ritual. The music is one of my personal favorites from our Calm your Canine series, Schumann’s “Kind im Einschlummern” from Kinderscenen (Scenes from Childhood). While the German really translates to “Child Falling Asleep”, I’d like to title it “Hunde im Einschlummern” or “Dogs Falling Asleep”.

Do you have a nightly ritual with your dogs? If you haven’t slumbered off into all zzzzzzzz’s watching the video, thanks for sharing your ritual in a comment below.

Delivering Calm, four paws at a time…

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from our Calm your Canine Companion music series  when you sign up for our newsletter and/or Lisa’s Blog. Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

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Healing with Holistic Veterinary Care

Sanchez was experiencing neck pain a few months ago. When I first noticed the problem, the symptoms were acute, appeared very suddenly after little activity, and were very worrisome. At the worst flare-up one weekend, pain management was so challenging that I didn’t know if I could keep him alive for the weekend. He had nerve pain going down his leg and both of us slept very little in a 48 hour period.

That Monday he was at Coastal Holistic Complementary Veterinary Services, where both of my dogs are patients. While Dr. Molly Rice and Dr. Kari DeLeeuw are both DVM’s, they are also certified veterinary acupuncturists and chiropractors. He responded extremely well to acupuncture treatments, even when he went into the office crying in pain. Their holistic treatments literally saved Sanchez’s life and I am grateful beyond words.

In the above picture, Sanchez is receiving electrostimulator acupuncture treatment, a form of acupuncture in which a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles. This form of treatment is particularly helpful in treating pain, in this case quite severe pain. An X-ray read by a radiologist revealed that he had a slipped disc in his neck and joint mice in his shoulder area.

Rehab was pretty intense. During the initial stages, when he was essentially on bed rest and pain management was challenging, I played Music to Comfort your Elderly Canine almost around the clock. Both of us benefited. The soothing sounds were so helpful when his meds started to wear off every few hours. The added component of frequency modulation – the addition or subtraction of targeted frequency ranges – makes assimilation easier for an already stressed, or weakened elderly canine nervous system. 

A few months have passed, and I’m happy to say that Sanchez is off all medication (except for an herbal supplement) and is showing signs of acting like a puppy again. He is nine years old and there are some ongoing lifestyle changes to consider. I’ll never attach a leash to his neck (only to a harness), he’ll always have to do a 15 minute warm-up walk on leash before he gets let off-leash, and he now uses a ramp to avoid jumping out of the car. But, that’s a small price to pay for having a healed, healthy, vibrant dog.

Both Sanchez and Gina also receive canine massage treatments from Dr. Cindy DiFranco. With the help of her instructional canine massage DVD, I’ve even been able to do a bit of canine massage myself with them.

I am grateful beyond words that Sanchez didn’t need surgery to recover. And this scare was also a reminder that every day he has left with me is a gift. I’m counting my blessings!

Have you ever sought holistic veterinary care and alternative treatments for your pets? If not, would you consider it in the future? Thanks for sharing your experience in a comment below.

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Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy.

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The Story Behind Through a Dog’s Ear

Have you ever noticed that the best conversations happen around the kitchen table? Joshua Leeds and I were recently sitting at my kitchen table having lunch. We started reminiscing about how our meeting nearly 10 years ago inspired us to create Through a Dog’s Ear, music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. We decided to turn on the video camera and make the conversation public. Sanchez and Gina get in on the action and, of course, steal the show!

Have your dogs taught you any life lessons? Thanks for sharing them in a comment below.

     Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

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Concerts for Dogs? Seriously?

Has my performing life gone to the dogs? You bet! I’m loving it, and dogs are barking for more! Combining my love of dogs with my music talent inspired the creation of Through a Dog’s Ear, music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Now, I’m combining my love of performing to a cross-species audience.

As a concert pianist with a music degree from Juilliard, why am I playing concerts for people and their dogs when I could be filling concert halls with more traditional classical music? Because I REALLY love dogs! And I have chosen to dedicate my career to improving their lives by creating music that improves the quality of their life and provides them with sound therapy for improved health and behavior.

We love our dogs. We bring them into our human world and we expect them to adjust. But the truth is the human world can be very confusing for dogs. And our human soundscape is filled with chaotic sounds that they can’t orient. They are always on alert, wondering if any new sound is safe or not. Part of Through a Dog’s Ear mission is to provide dogs and their people with beautiful psychoacoustically-designed music that creates a healthy sound environment for dogs and their people. The concerts do that, and also offers a bonding experience between the two- and four-leggeds.

It’s an opportunity to share a deeply satisfying musical experience with your dog! Has your dog ever heard Chopin performed live? Have you and your dog ever listened to Bach together in a concert setting?

If you reside in the San Francisco Bay Area, I hope you can make it to one of my upcoming Canine Classical Concerts on October 6th and 7th. And you can meet my own dogs, Sanchez and Gina. As you can see from the photo above, Sanchez is practicing to be the page turner.

Have you ever bonded with your dog by sharing music together? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

Have you tried Sound Therapy for your dogs? Through a Dog’s Ear is the only music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system.

     Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

 

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10 Tips for Keeping your Dog Safe and Calm on July 4th

Lisa and Sanchez July 4

July 4th is around the corner, along with the fireworks that inevitably come with this holiday. Almost all humans with canines in the United States declare this day the worst day of the year for their dogs. Veterinarians say that July 3rd is usually the most trafficked day in their offices, with clients coming in to get drugs for their dogs.  A few years ago, I found a lost dog on the 4th of July. He was obviously a well fed, groomed, and trained dog that escaped his yard when he heard the fireworks. When I called our local Humane Society, I was informed that it is the busiest time of the year for them, as more dogs are found wandering loose on July 4th than any other day of the year in the U.S.

10 Tips for providing a safe July 4th for your Canine Household: (Please note that tips 9, and 10 require purchasing items ahead of time.)

1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day.

2. Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. If it’s hot, air conditioning will help. Bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea.

3. Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. (I once had a dog who climbed in the bathtub during windstorms.) If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option.

4. If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed.

5. Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar. (Dogs have been known to become Houdini around the 4th of July.)

6. Leave your dog something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats.

Using sensory enrichment to calm dogs:

7. Sound Therapy: Play Music to Calm your Canine Companion Vol. 1, 2, and 3 by Through a Dog’s Ear. It is most effective when you first play the music well before the fireworks start, at a time the dog is already feeling peaceful and relaxed. He will begin to associate the music with being calm and content. Then play the music a couple of hours before the fireworks start and continue to play through bedtime. The music doesn’t need to be loud to be effective as it has been clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Listen to free sound samples. Two years ago, I received a heart warming email from a woman who told me that it was the first 4th of July that she didn’t need to drug her dog, thanks to the music of Through a Dog’s Ear. On previous years, he had jumped out of windows. She said, “It was like Dog Ambien! Dambien!” Read the full story

8. Sound Therapy combined with Desensitization: The Canine Noise Phobia series (CNP) consists of four CD’s that can be used individually or as a set: Fireworks, Thunderstorms, City Sounds, and Calming. CNP is an innovative desensitization training tool that combines three distinctive elements for the treatment and prevention of sound-sensitivities and noise-phobias:

    • progressive sound effects (distant/close)
    • specially-designed psychoacoustic music (Through a Dog’s Ear)
    • reward-based reinforcement protocols (Victoria Stilwell)

Here’s what Nancy Weller said after using CNP Fireworks:

“I am preparing for New Years Eve. The most skittish of the greyhounds already went to bed. My boy is just game for everything. Tonight, we are relaxing to the Phobia Series Fireworks. He fights hard to stay awake. The subtle fireworks make him stare at the speaker. Then not. 75+ lb brindle boy, sleeping like a baby. Mom might have to curl up too.”

9. Tactile: There are two canine wraps on the market that reportedly help sound phobic dogs. The original Anxiety Wrap was invented by professional dog trainer Susan Sharpe, CPDT-KA. The patented design uses acupressure and maintained pressure to reduce stress. The thundershirt is also a wrap for your dog that provides gentle, constant pressure. Their website reports that over 85% of Thundershirt users see significant improvement in noise anxiety symptoms. Most dogs respond with the very first usage; some need 2-3 usages before showing significant improvement.

10. Scent: Canine Calm, an all-natural mist from Earth Heart™ Inc., can help dogs relax and cope more effectively with loud noises and other stressful situations. Directions on their website say to spray Canine Calm onto your hands and massage the dog’s outer ears or abdomen. Or lightly mist the air behind your dog’s head, inside the travel crate or car, or directly onto bedding or clothing.

Do you have any additional tips for helping keep dogs calm and safe on this noisy holiday? Thanks for clicking comment below and sharing your suggestions. Also, feel free to share how your dogs have acted during previous July 4th holidays.

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

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Are Senior Dogs More Sound Sensitive?

Dreamstime_senior_dog

As I approach the big 50, I notice that I don’t have the same tolerance for loud environments that I did 20 or even 10 years ago. You rarely find me in Costo, clubs, or even loud restaurants anymore. Partly due to the crowds, but mostly due to the loud sound environment. I go into sensory overload and shut down quickly, meaning I can’t focus, feel stressed, my body tenses, and I’m quickly looking for the exit sign to a quieter environment where I can breathe peacefully. Similarly, if I’ve had a very stressful day, I want to come home and either have complete silence (except for the sounds of the wildlife in my remote home setting), or turn on music with simple sounds, such as the music from Through a Dog’s Ear.

Currently, I have two dogs, both Labrador Retrievers. Sanchez is nearly eight years old and Gina is approaching 2 years. When I observe them, I notice that Sanchez doesn’t have the same tolerance for noise that he used to when he was younger. Growing up as a puppy in training for Guide Dogs for the Blind, he was socialized a great deal in public places and exposed to a wider variety of sound environments than most pet dogs. During my year as his volunteer puppy raiser, I brought him to six San Francisco Opera performances, and seven San Francisco Symphony concerts. He snoozed through most of it, except for a few startling sounds coming from the opera stage. When he was five years old, he acted the part of Helen Keller’s dog in the play “The Miracle Worker.” Although most people were impressed with his well-mannered talents on stage, what I found more remarkable was his calm, focused, confident demeanor back stage during the food fights and throwing of dishes on stage. Due to his breeding and early training, this just didn’t phase him. A few years later, I’m not sure I would say the same.

At 22 months, Gina is a bundle of happy energy and I’ve never seen her go into sensory overload, although there are many dogs her age that could and certainly do. I still reward her when she stays calm and focused on me during loud man made sounds, i.e. ambulance sirens, motorcycles, etc.; I can expose her to more stimulating sound environments without worrying about stressing her nervous system.

In writing this blog, I reflected on first conceiving the idea for creating music to help improve the quality of dogs lives (and their humans). It was during the final weeks of Byron’s life. A Golden Retriever who took his last breath a few months before his 14th birthday in 2003, he was my soul dog. Byron brought me into the dog world and I would have done anything for more time with him. Although Through a Dog’s Ear wasn’t yet created, it really was his passing that opened up the space for its birth.

Two years of clinical testing took place before we released our first CD, Music to Calm your Canine Companion Vol. 1. We’ve added an additional four CD’s to our music series since then, and dog lovers world-wide have played Through a Dog’s Ear music for their senior dogs. It has helped calmed dogs pre- and post-surgery, as well as aided in their healing process during recovery from an illness. Even dogs that have lost some of their hearing later in life, lie down and breathe easier when the music is playing.

Through a Dog’s Ear music is psychoacoustically designed to support you and your dog’s compromised immune or nervous system function. When the immune or nervous system is heavily taxed, as it so often is in senior dogs, a natural reaction is to self-limit the amount of auditory or visual stimulation coming into the system. That is why senior dogs will often shut down in over stimulating sound environments. The “nutrients” of sound are needed the most when life energy is at a low ebb or when neuro-developmental (including sensory) issues are present. To facilitate maximum sound intake while conserving energy output, we have created the method of “simple sound”.

Have you noticed a change in how your dogs react to sound as they mature? Thanks for clicking comment below and sharing your story.

I am offering my blog readers a free download from our latest release, Music to Calm your Canine Companion, Vol. 3. Simply click here and enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy. Click here to listen to sound samples.

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, canine music expert, and Facebook coach. By combining her passion for music with her love of dogs, she co-created Through a Dog’s Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to relieve anxiety issues in dogs. She shares her home and her heart with her two adorable “career change” Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa’s blog here.