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Dog Relaxed, Driver Alert



Introducing Through a Dog’s Ear: Driving Edition—Music to Calm Your Dog in the Car Produced by Joshua Leeds and Performed by Lisa Spector

Why do they really call it the dog days of summer? Summertime is vacation time, when many dogs take to the open road. In fact, 29 million Americans bring their pets—mostly dogs—on vacation each year with over 75 percent traveling by car, according to the Travel Industry Association. But, whether you’re headed cross country or across town, riding in the car is stressful for many dogs and in turn the driver and passengers. If your best friend can’t settle down for the trip and gets the shakes, pants excessively, or resists the car altogether—now there’s a drug-free solution: Through a Dog’s Ear: Driving Edition—Music to Calm Your Dog in the Car (Sounds True, May 22, 2008, $14.98, 74 minutes, available at retailers and through Compared to other canine music, Driving Edition is unique in that it has been psychoacoustically-designed to keep the dog relaxed and driver alert.

Produced by psychoacoustics expert Joshua Leeds and performed by Juilliard graduate and concert pianist Lisa Spector, the CD is the latest addition to the scientifically designed Through a Dog’s Ear music series and pioneering book by the same name (authored by Leeds and veterinary neurologist Dr. Susan Wagner) advocating sound therapy for improving canine health and behavior.

Driving Edition also includes a 17-page insert with specific sound protocols for varying degrees of canine automobile anxiety developed by an animal behaviorist. For dogs with extreme anxiety, the album includes Travel Prep—a special 20 minute track dogs listen to before getting into the vehicle that will help them change their negative associations with cars.

Psychoacoustics is the study of the impact of sound on the human nervous system. It has been proven that certain types of sounds and music can alleviate stress and therefore have a positive effect on human health. Through a Dog’s Ear applies the psychoacoustic principles of entrainment (the effect of periodic rhythms to speed up or slow down the brain, heart, and breath) and pattern identification (the degree of complexity of the music) to create modified classical compositions for the super-sensitive canine ear.


Through a Dog’s Ear project co-founders Leeds and Spector always knew the car would be their next frontier. They live in the San Francisco Bay area where getting around with your four- legged friend often requires four wheels. Pet travel is one of the fastest growing segments in the pet industry—up 33% to $20 million in 2004, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Even automobile manufacturers are spending millions re-designing their models to be more dog-friendly with websites like reviewing the available options.  


The real challenge for Leeds and Spector was to develop music that struck the ideal balance between keeping the driver alert and the dog relaxed. The first music CD in the series—Through a Dog’s Ear: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion (Sounds True, 60-minutes, $14.95, March 08)—was for the home environment and so calming for dogs with its slow tempos and simple sound patterns that when used in the car, it could put drivers to sleep. Clinical studies on 150 canines demonstrated that the music noticeably calmed 70% of dogs in kennels and 85% of dogs in their home environments. When the music was played for dogs with specific anxiety disorders—such as separation anxiety, excitement with visitors, thunderstorm and fireworks trembling—more than twice as many stressed-out behaviors were reduced with the psychoacoustically designed modified classical music compared to standard classical music programming played on a radio station. (Previous research had established that classic music was the most effective genre for calming dogs, but Dr. Wagner’s research demonstrated that not all classical music was equally successful.)


Driving Edition was designed using tone, tempo, and patterns to facilitate a state of awakened awareness in people while simultaneously providing a relaxation response in dogs. “After reviewing the original research, we spent months modifying the music in various ways, then elicited feedback from drivers who used it with their dogs,” say Leeds and Spector.


One question they are asked often is, “Does the music also work to alleviate motion sickness for dogs?” While Driving Edition is not designed to help dogs with motion sickness, there is anecdotal evidence that it will in some cases.

Dr. Wagner recommends, “If the dog is on medication for motion sickness, we suggest they continue with their medication and add Driving Edition to their car experience for the calming effect. The veterinarian should always be consulted before discontinuing any medication.” She adds, “For dogs with extreme anxiety issues, it’s highly recommended that they follow the protocol in Driving Edition and also play Travel Prep. The “classical conditioning” process can help their dog change negative associations with cars and improve their overall experience when in a vehicle.”

Through a Dog’s Ear: Driving Edition—Music to Calm Your Dog in the Car

Sounds True, May 22, 2008

Includes 17-page booklet, 74 minutes, $14.98

Available at retailers and through

Wholesale distribution to the pet trade by

UPC: 00835-13242


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