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Music to Inspire Human Creativity

“Lilacs” painted by Trudy Spector, while she listened to Music for the Canine Household

I am a sound sensitive human. When I walk into a restaurant, if the sonic environment is too loud, I often leave or ask to be seated in a quiet area. Just like a dog, I can easily go into sensory overload and shut down when I am in an environment with sound sources coming from multiple areas. You won’t find me in crowded department stores or loud parties very often. Unlike a dog, I get to choose what sound environments are acceptable to me. I am well aware of how my physical and emotional response is affected by sound and when I have the choice, I just don’t enter sound environments that compromise my nervous system.

My home is an artist’s sanctuary, and the only outdoor sounds I generally hear are from wildlife. So I’m careful that the sounds I bring indoors add to a harmonious life. I wear ear plugs when I work out, while my fellow fitness classmates ask that the music be turned up. I play Music to Calm your Canine Companion for me and my dogs. It’s always playing at bedtime for me, even after Sanchez and Gina are asleep. If I’ve been out in an area with a lot of sensory stimulation for long periods, I’ll often play the simplified music when I come home. Or sometimes I choose total silence.

Lisa writing a blog with Sanchez However, when I want to inspire creativity, I listen to Music for the Canine Household. The recording includes piano, cello, english horn and oboe and the high frequency instruments keep me awake, while slowing tempos still keep Sanchez and Gina calm. In fact, I write most of my blogs while listening to Canine Household. Many artists, including my mother, paint to it. Her painting, pictured above, was created while the sounds of Canine Household played in the background, even though she doesn’t have a dog. Household cleaning feels effortless while listening to it and just sitting and having a cup of tea while listening is like taking a sonic, luxurious bath.

Music for the Canine Household… 33% off until April 20!!!

Between April 18-20, we’re offering Music for the Canine Household for only $9.99. That’s 33% off! Simply enter the code “HouseholdCalm” at check out and $4.94 will be deducted from your total bill. Click for full details.

Do you have music that inspires your creativity? Thanks for sharing your experiences 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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It Works So Good! Can I Have My Money Back?

At Through a Dog’s Ear we receive the most interesting calls and emails from customers. I am not making this up. The following is actual feedback from consumers. In one case, the purchaser almost asked for her money back, which we would have honored with our 30-Day Money Back Guarantee.

Customer 1: My dog used to get so excited when I came home from work. He’d bark, jump on me, and was so happy to see me. Now, he looks at me as if to say, “Welcome home, I’m going back to sleep now.” I miss his previous greeting.

My suggestion: If you want him to keep jumping up on you and barking when you get home, then stop playing the Calm your Canine 3-CD series when you are gone.

Customer 2: My dog ordinarily freaks out during thunderstorms. She drools, pants, whines, and shakes. But, when I play  “Thunderstorms” from the Canine Noise Phobia series with the clinically tested calming music underneath the sounds of thunder, she stays calm and peaceful, no matter how high I turn up the volume of the thunder sounds.

My suggestion: Keep playing the soundtracks from Thunderstorms. In addition, combine this with something that she associates as fun and enjoyable. For example, play fetch with her, teach her some tricks, or have chicken fall from the sky. Before no time, she will think that the sounds of thunder means great things are going to be brought into her environment.

Customer 3: I love your music. But, I never get to hear the entire CD. I put it on at bedtime, and all the two- and four-leggeds fall asleep. So, I’ve only heard a few tracks of it..

My suggestion: Our Calm your Canine Companion series is designed to start on any track. If you’ve only heard the beginning of one of these CD’s, try starting in the middle. Or start on track #3 one night, then track #6 the next, etc. By the end of the week, you will have enjoyed all the tracks of Calm your Canine Vol. 1. The next week, start with Vol. 2 and then Vol. 3 the following week.

Are you barking about Through a Dog’s Ear? We’d love to hear how your dogs are reacting to our clinically tested music. Thanks for posting your feedback in a comment.

Have you tried Sound Therapy for your dogs? Through a Dog’s Ear is the first 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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Surviving Pet Loss

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In the acknowledgments for Calm your Canine Companion Vol. 1, I wrote, “In memory of my beloved soul-dog, Byron. You remain forever in my heart.” While recording, I kept the above picture of Byron on the piano. I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately. Byron’s eight year memorial is tomorrow and he really inspired my enormous love of dogs. I wrote the letter below just hours before he passed away at the ripe age of almost 14, on May 28, 2003.

Dearest Byron,

Words can’t possibly express what a treasure and gift you have been in my life. 12 1/2 years ago I wrote an affirmation that brought you into my life. I posted it on my bedroom mirror and read it every day. Six months later, in June of 1991, I learned that a 21-month-old Golden Retriever named Byron needed a new home. I’ll never forget the first time I saw you. You were wet because you had been playing on the beach and your entire focus was on retrieving the stick. Once the stick was gone though and I walked you to your new home, you acted as if you just loved me instantly. Barry said we were just trying you out for awhile, but I knew from that moment, there was no going back. We were lifetime partners.

You loved your new home and we so loved having you with us. You hung out with me by the piano a lot, and I loved it when you rested your head on my pedal foot – your favorite position. Although I loved you a lot then, I think we bonded more after we separated from Barry. You became my Rock of Gibraltar at that point. I knew the day that I left our home that if I had you and my piano, I would be happy. Your mission was to take care of me, and mine was to take care of you and have you by my side as often as possible. Every day, you came to work with me and became the school mascot at my music school. People passing us on the street would often remark, “Your dog is smiling at me.”

What a team we made – hiking Montara mountain, daily walks along the coastal bluff tops, frequent romps on the beach chasing sticks and footballs. You always made sure I got lots of exercise and kept playing retrieve with your beloved frisbee. We took summer vacations together. Swimming with you was my all time favorite activity we shared, and I’m pretty sure it was yours. The first summer we went to Oregon together, we swam in every lake and river to be found. One day, after swimming and hanging out at the river for 7 hours, you cried like a baby when it was time to leave. Summer Lake Inn was the best, and I’ll always cherish the photograph of us swimming together there last summer.

This morning, you looked at me intently and this is the message I felt you were communicating to me: “Thank you for all you have given me, for I am eternally grateful. It has been the best life a dog could wish for. Remember this moment always, it is all that truly matters now. I have taught you well that love is more important than anything and the present moment is all that exists. It is now your time to carry this message out to the world.”

My commitment to you is to carry on in the lessons that you have taught me about peace, gentleness, and love. You are leaving your body, but you are not leaving me. Byron, thank you for being a miraculous gift in my life.

Infinite Love,
Lisa

The look he gave me that last morning carried me through many following challenging days. When a pet is part of your family, losing him/her can be a very painful experience. If we choose to have pets in our lives, pet loss is an inevitable part of the experience.

As I remember his passing eight years ago, I am reflecting on the support I received that helped me through that difficult time. And there are even more resources available today than there were then. Here are a few that you may find particularly helpful:

  • PetLoss.com – A pet loss grief support website, including personal support, thoughtful advice, The Monday Pet Loss Candle Ceremony, Tribute Pages, and healing poetry.
  • Tufts University Pet Loss Suppot Hotline – Callers speak one-on-one with staff members (trained by a psychologist) for as long as they wish.
  • 10 Tips on Coping with Pet Loss by Moira Anderson Allen,  M.E. – Very helpful tips covering everything from coping with feelings to deciding whether to stay with your pet during euthanasia.
  • ASPCA Pet Loss Support – Includes advice on everything from end of life care to tips on helping you decide if it’s time for euthanasia.
  • Care2 Pet Heaven eCard – Furry, fluffy, and fantastic. Not only are these cards sending a healing message, all Care2 eCards generate donations to great organizations.

Altar – After Byron passed, I created an altar in the area he used to eat. It included flowers, pictures of him, his dog bowl, collar and favorite toys. Having reflective moments in that sacred space proved to be very healing for me.

Rainbow Bridge:

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Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

(Author unknown)

What has helped you cope with pet loss? Thanks for clicking on comment and sharing your stories.

As co-founder of Through a Dog’s Ear, I am offering my 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.

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.
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If Toto and Dorothy had Listened to Through a Dog’s Ear Music on their way to Oz!

From 2004 to 2005, Through a Dog’s Ear music was tested on over 150 dogs with many common anxiety issues – separation anxiety, sound phobias (including fireworks), excessive barking, digging, etc. Since Through a Dog’s Ear launched to the public in 2008, people have been testing it on their own dogs with a huge variety of anxiety issues, beyond our original testing. To be completely honest, even I was shocked when I read this comment on Facebook from Dogtopia of Bayonne, New Jersey’s co-owner Donna Marie Ostrowski… “Music to Calm your Canine Companion really helped the dogs during that really bad tornado and thunderstorm that hit us on Thursday night too. Can’t wait to get the gorgeous new counter top display for our lobby at Dogtopia.”  While Through a Dog’s Ear music has helped many dogs during thunderstorms, this was the first report I heard of it keeping dogs calm during a tornado!

We also didn’t specifically test on dogs with an absence of one of their senses. A blind dog seems to have a continued immediate relaxation response to Through a Dogs’ Ear music. Jude Tuttleby, owner of Life Lessons on Leash in Australia, posted this on Facebook, “I was minding a friends 18 month old blind greyhound, Macey, the other day and put the calming CD on shortly after she arrived as she was having issues settling. Within only 2 or 3 minutes of it playing she had come over to me, lay down near my feet and was sound asleep! I leant the CD to her owner to try at home as she has been having a few issues with Macey becoming difficult with a couple of clients’ dogs (she is a dog sitter). She tells me that once she puts the CD on, literally within a minute Macey will stop harassing the dog she was annoying, walk over to her mat and go to sleep. She is ecstatic with how it works on Macey.”

Only a few days later, I read a post on Facebook from canine consultant and dog trainer Dee Bogetti that literally brought tears of gratitude to my eyes, “One of our 5 Labs has a seizure disorder. She was showing signs of mild agitation this morning. After Through A Dog’s Ear had been playing for about 10 minutes, I checked on the furkids. Our seizure-girl was sleeping peacefully on her favorite chair. Thank you, Lisa. Your music is magic.”

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Thanks to Driving Edition: Music to Calm your Dog in the Car, a visit to grandmas turned into a snoozing car ride for Ginny, a Golden Retriever. Donna Hoef told us about Ginny on Facebook…. “We were bringing our dog, Ginny, home from “grandma’s” and she just wouldn’t settle down. I popped Through a Dog’s Ear music to listen to in the car and this is what happened (pictured above) ….instantly. Our jaws just dropped. Thanks for all you do!”

Are there unusual ways that you play Through a Dog’s Ear music for your dogs? Thanks for clicking comment below and sharing.

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How do you get to Blog Paws West? Practice!

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You know the old joke… How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Well, for me this is also the answer for “How do you get to Blog Paws West“. You see, in addition to being a concert pianist, an extreme dog lover, and  a canine music expert, I am also a pet blogger who often writes about all things dog. When I first heard about Blog Paws West from Roxanne Hawn, a fellow pet blogger who had written favorably about Through a Dog’s Ear, I inquired about playing the piano at the conference, assuming the Grand Hyatt had a grand piano. They do and I am.

I’ve been performing for people for over 30 years, recording for dogs for a few years, and now playing for a room full of pet bloggers for the first time, but hopefully not the last. Since Blog Paws West is pet-friendly, I’m told there will also be a few dogs in attendance. I’m looking forward to meeting the pets and their people who I have been interacting with on social media for the past year. I’ve read tweets joking about my fellow peeps snoozing by the piano when I’m playing, as my recordings of Music to Calm your Canine Companion have been known to make both dogs and people start snoring. Rest assured (pun intended), my music performance will keep you awake (I’ve been known to play very fast too) as well as keep you entertained and calm at the right moments.

If you are at Blog Paws West in Denver this week, make sure you come by and hear me at the piano at Saturday night’s gathering. And if your dog is with you, I’ll assume it’s his way of applauding when he starts wagging his tail.

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It’s National Assistance Dog Week

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Photo courtesy of AssistanceDogWeek.org

National Assistance Dog Week (NADW) is August 8 – 14.

The goals are to:

  • Recognize and honor hardworking assistance dogs
  • Raise awareness of assistance dogs
  • Educate the public about the work these specially trained animals perform
  • Honor the puppy raisers and trainers of assistance dogs
  • Recognize heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities

My seven year old Labrador Retriever, Sanchez, is a career change from Guide Dogs for the Blind and I was his volunteer puppy raiser. (OK, I took the word career change literally as he has since been an agility dog, an actor, and currently a musical canine freestyler.) I have seen first hand some of the training required for these devoted dogs and there is a soft place in my heart for service dogs.

We donated CD’s to Canine Partners for Life in Pennsylvania. Their mission is to increase the independence and quality of life of individuals with mobility impairments by providing professionally trained service dogs and support services. In their summer newsletter, they reported that visitors to their kennels often comment on the soothing music they hear in the background. We have also donated Driving Edition: Music to Calm your Dog in the Car to their dogs in training during transportation for working sessions.

I dedicated a recent blog to Freedom Dogs, a remarkable organization in San Diego that offers custom-trained specialty service dogs to wounded members of the military returning from armed conflict. Through a Dog’s Ear music is one of the tools that is helping Freedom Dogs accomplish their mission of creating a way to speed the recovery and enhance the lives of wounded military heroes.

Sending a big virtual gratitude hug to all service dogs and people who raise, train and care for them. If you are affiliated with a service dog organization, we’d love to hear from you and learn how we can provide your dogs with Through a Dog’s Ear music.

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8 Tips for Keeping Dogs Calm and Safe during Fireworks

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This is a repost from a blog I wrote for DogStarDaily.com a year ago.

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. Last year, I found a lost dog on the 4th of July. He was obviously a well fed, well groomed, and well behaved 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.

Eight Tips for providing a safe July 4th for your Canine Household:

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.

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.) 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.

7. Train with counter classical conditioning. Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., CAAB, has a very clear definition and tips here.

8. Sound Therapy: Play Music to Calm your Canine Companion Vol. 1 and 2. It is most effective when you first play the music well before the fireworks start, at a time the dog is already 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. Click here for free samples and downloads. Click here to purchase downloads of full CD’s. Last year, 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