Ep #10 (transcript): How to Use Music that Relaxes Dogs the Right Way with the Pet-Calming Maestro

Have you wondered if your dog likes music, the right volume to play it, or what music is best for a relaxed dog?  On this episode with the Pet Calming Maestro, concert pianist and dog calming expert Lisa Spector, enjoy a private concert with the most relaxing music for dogs and learn relaxation solutions for your doodle!

Her music is played in over 1,500 shelters (increasing adoptions as the dogs are less anxious!) and is prescribed by veterinarians to help with general and separation anxiety.  Corinne The Doodle Pro™ plays this music daily in her home for doodles visiting for a Shed Free Stay™ in Denver, Colorado and is thrilled to spread the relaxation on both ends of the leash to doodle families all over the world with Lisa's dog calming piano music.

“I'll never forget this call from a shelter manager in Ohio and he was in tears and he said, Lisa, this i

Before playing a piece live by modern composer Zach Gulaboff Davis just for our podcast listeners, Lisa answers your questions including:

  • Does music calm down a dog?
  • How does dog calming music work?
  • Do dogs like the tv left on and does leaving the tv on help dogs with anxiety?
  • What's the best volume to listen to music to help a dog with anxiety?
  • Where can you find free music that relaxes dogs?
  • What sounds relax dogs?
  • Does dog calming music really work?
  • What is the most calming music for dogs during fireworks, thunderstorms or car rides?
  • Is calming music good for dogs?
  • What's the most anxiety reducing music for dogs?

Lisa gives our podcast listeners a streaming link to Dog Gone Calm, Vol. 1 along with a pdf with tips on using music to calm your dog's anxiety… separation, sound phobias, crate training, volume tips and more at myzenpet.com/tips.

Her Dog Gone Calm Club is opening it's doors for a short time in September, you may join the waitlist at myzenpet.com/waitlist. 

If you're looking for free calming dog music without ads on Alexa, Youtube, or Spotify, enjoy Lisa's  My Zen Pet's album Dog Gone Calm on all major streaming services. 

To join The Doodle Pro™ Society to enjoy bonus exclusives like Lisa's private concert or exclusive Q&A's with renowned experts, sign up for the waitlist at https://thedoodlepro.com/societywaitlist.

Want to learn more about helping dogs with anxiety?

If you want to bring your Doodle parenting to the next level, sign up for The Doodle Pro™ Society waitlist now! Members get exclusive access to The Doodle Pro™, Doodle training modules, and live Q&A's with world-renowned guest experts (that would usually charge $100's each to book a virtual session). Visit thedoodlepro.com/waitlist to be the first to know when doors open again!

Read transcript:


Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I am thrilled to share with you today. Lisa Spector, Lisa. Is Juiliard trained. Says her piano playing has gone to the dogs. And I personally play her music for doodles in my care daily with our Shed Free Stay™ care at The Doodle Pro™ and I'm excited to share her music and her expertise on how to help your doodles relax with music. Welcome Lisa. 

Lisa Spector: Thank you. It's such an honor to be here. I don't think I've ever talked to a group of all doodle owners.

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Oh, we are unique and fabulous. 

Lisa Spector: Because you're unique and fabulous. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Oh, you're too kind. 

Can you share with our listeners a little bit about your concert pianist background and your background with dogs? As I know you've worked with service dogs and you do some work with your present dog as well. Sure. I joke on my podcast that my ju degree has gone to the dogs because I did not plan on that when I went to ju no one goes to ju and say, I wanna play concerts for dogs, but that's what I do. And I I grew up on a piano bench, basically.

I've been playing since I was seven. And by the time I was 11 is at the piano three hours a day. And that's pretty much all I did all through my childhood and our family Cocker spaniel was always by my side. It was just so sweet. Even after she went deaf, I'd sit down at the piano and from upstairs, she'd find me at the piano was so sweet. Way back in 2003 when I was also a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind out here in California I had a very rambunctious four month old puppy Sanchez. Yellow lab. And when you meet trained guide dogs, they're calm and they're centered, or they're focused four months old, they're puppies, they're rambunctious..

It's still a puppy lab.

Lisa Spector: Exactly. And I also had a group of four year old kids, human kids, and they'd come in crazy wild and screaming and yelling. And I wanted to figure out how to settle the kids and get them to focus for their class time for their music class. And so I started studying what was out there in the world of music for children to get them to come and focus.

And I found the right prescription of classical music and. Like 30 seconds flat the right Mozart or whatever it was. I was playing on the stereo and CDs back in those days, they'd be centered and focus in no time, which was great. And then I looked over at my four month old puppy and he'd be snoozing. And I'm like, oh my God, I think I'm to something.

I wonder if anyone has ever created music for dogs and that's how it all began. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Oh, that's amazing. 

And then I know that you had an unfortunate injury that then led you on this complete new path. Do you mind sharing that story? 

Lisa Spector: Sure. Unfortunate and unfortunate in many ways. Yes, of course. At the time it felt very unfortunate.

Five years ago, in 2017, I fell and injured my right hand. So severely. Seven fractures needing four surgeries, a million alternative therapies and a medical professional early on told me I would never be playing piano again. Oh, and of course it was devastating. I proved her wrong because even when my hand was in a cast, I started playing music for left hand only.

And then now five years later, I'm playing full concerts. Not only dog music, but on and off and chop and sonatas and big works for two hands for people as well. Oh yeah. However, I also realized early on when my hand's in a cast and I play music for left hand only, and I had a ten year history career of creating music for dogs.

So in 2003, when had that idea and then it developed into research with a veteran neurologist and then a launch in 2008 and then 16 albums and so forth. And I stayed with the original company I co-founded for 10 years left them. And then during, my hand recovery was really thinking about.

My left hand is playing lower frequencies. So for non-musicians what that means is lower frequencies are middle of the piano and lower base. Now not all instruments have access to lower frequencies. Violin does not. Flute does not. OBO does not. Higher frequency instruments just they're beautiful.

They just sound different. So I thought about all the research I had been involved with, and I also read that worked for dogs, playing music for them compared to control groups with no music compared to TV, compared to classical heavy metal, jazz and so forth. And one of the things that all the research had in common is that lower frequencies have been proven over and over to calm the canine nervous system.

And I'm gonna put this really simply for your doodle listeners. It's nighttime, let's say, and you're it's just sweet. Time is quieter in the house. The kids are asleep and you kiss your dog goodnight and you say, good girl, good boy. You just don't even think about it, but you instinctively drop your voice to a lower volume, probably volume also, but lower frequent, lower register. And you're using long Lagado sounds. You would generally wouldn't say good. you'd just say, good girl. Good boy. If your dog is about to cross the street and you wanna get his or her attention really fast because there's a car coming, you're gonna instinctively go into high, pitched short staccato, high frequency notes, Fido here!

You're just gonna do that without even think about it because the Fido here is not gonna get him moving really fast because the higher frequency charges your dog nervous system, the lower frequency with the slow down lower long Lagado lines in music terms calms the canine nervous system.

So that's what I do in music. And sometimes, no, not all the time, but sometimes I do that with my left hand. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Amazing. 

And for our listeners stay on until the end of the episode, Lisa is going to play live for us, a special piece that she knows helps really relax your dogs. And apparently children too.

Yeah, for my house of boys, I will be sure to be making sure that they listen to this song, as well as the rest of your music I'm always streaming. And I'm gonna watch to see when I'm playing it for the dogs if they're calming down too. I know that your music is used all by pet professionals and shelters.

Where is your music being played now for dogs to be helped to relax? 

Lisa Spector: So when I was with my first company, I co-founded, I was volunteering in shelters. Probably so many of us have done that or do that. And we all know that the dogs who are anxious generally don't get adopted.

Yeah. Cause they're not always wanted. So I knew if I could do something to really relieve their anxiety that would improve their chance of adoption. So this was way back in 2008, when everything was in CD format, I personally started reaching out to shelters and put something on the website saying we have free music for you.

Would you like us to send you a CD, us meaning me stuffing envelopes in my home office. The dogs to the post office, myself from the dogs, but it was all worth it because. I'll never forget this call from a shelter manager in Ohio and he was in tears and he said, Lisa, this is the first phone call from my desk.

I have been able to make in 10 years because it's finally quiet in here. Because your music has stopped the dogs from barking. Oh, and let me tell you about Trello. Trello has been in here a year. And finally, when he heard your music, he settled down and he got adopted and he is in his forever home now.

And I just knew I had to get this out more. So I applied for grants and got a grant from Bay Area Animal Health, who I personally stuffed 500 envelopes to get those into shelters. And then they added a thousand. So last I know I'm not in touch with the company, but last I heard it was playing in 1500 shelters..


And now it's so much easier for us as listeners and pet parents. We don't have to reach out to you and ask for a hand mailed CD. So what I do I use, I'm not gonna say it loudly, cuz then it'll start playing, but I use my smart speakers. Bexa and I just say, play your music and it streams into my home. It's just so easy.

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So where could listeners find your music and what is the exact phrase of your album that they would look up? 

Lisa Spector: The album is called Dog Gone Calm I have just discovered alexa doesn't always quite understand that. So My Zen Pet is the name of the company. So sometimes that works better. In October, I'm coming out with an album that's actually taken from my podcast with which is meditating with your dog. Oh. And so that will be also under the title of My Zen Pet, the company title as well. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Wonderful. Yes. There's a soundtrack that my google home always thinks when I'm asking for that album, that it's like another Netflix soundtrack or something that has a similar name. So my Zen My Zen Pet I'll start saying that instead of Dog Gone Calm, cuz I over pronunciate each time to make it easy for myself. Exactly. And while people are playing music particularly yours, which is free when you stream it

When they're playing it, there's a lot of misconceptions about the best way to use music for relaxation. And I know you've studied this a lot. Some people will just turn on the TV and leave the house, or they'll turn the music really loud. Trying to mask any outside sounds, like other dogs barking or the garbage truck or something, or they turn it on right

when they're leaving the house. What are your tips and tricks to be able to maximize the relaxation of music like yours.

Lisa Spector: Good question. I have things I'm starting to really teach people. Sound is a thing it's just an invisible thing. So it's sometimes easy to forget as humans, but we have to remember that dogs hear almost twice the hertz range as we do. So what that means is they can hear almost twice as far and their frequency range from their base to their treble, the high is, more extreme than ours. So we're at 20 Hertz. If we're, let's say middle age or younger dogs are about 45 Hertz. If they haven't lost some of the hearing. Cats are by the way, are almost twice as high as dogs. So they may be hearing things you don't hear And so when people say to me, I know I'm aware of sound. I leave the TV on all day, I I would go bonkers if the TV is, and I only have half the hertz range my dog has, and you have no control whatsoever. What is coming on that TV? There might be gunshots. There might be construction noise.

There might be beeping. There might be traffic. There might be airplanes, anything that actually could cause your dog anxiety. I'd rather be home in silence all day than, TV going on. So also when people say I play my classical music station and classical music app. That's a fabulous start.

It really is. I commend them for their. Awareness that their dogs sound is really important, but again, you don't have control. Now I listen to classical music through streaming or through what used to be the local station. And now is a global app, which is the case in most places.

But let's say it's four in the afternoon when it used to be a station and it was local at four in the afternoon. Believe me, they are not putting anything on to discharge my nervous system. They're trying to charge my nervous system. So they might put on a molar symphony Barios test a piece with a hundred 20 to 140 piece orchestra that's loud and then has all the booming that may cause your dog anxiety. So when you use music, that's really specially designed for dogs that's based on research. That is what really makes you a really sound aware doodle pet parent. So that's really it's probably doodle pet parent 2.0, maybe Ooh.

We're always 

striving for that. We would like to parent like a pro. Yeah, 

exactly. Yes, exactly. That will get, you there. So there's what you're playing. There's the frequency of which you play it and then there's the volume. So don't let me forget volume. It's really important, but let's talk about by, frequency.

 It's how often you play it, I'm using that word differently now. We're alluding to you don't wanna play, if your dog is separation anxiety, you don't want to dogs are so smart. They're, watching us all the time. They're listening to us all the time. They're looking for patterns and everything.

And if they see a pattern you put on your shoes, you pick up your keys, you put on the music. They're like, it's panic time. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So we're always watching for those departure cues. 

Lisa Spector: Yeah, exactly. So don't add that to a departure cue. so when you asked earlier, where is it playing? It's also used in, homes obviously, but veterinary practices.

It was the music I originally recorded is a big part of the Fear Free movement Dr. Marty Becker's fabulous Fear Free movement. And so if you're using it at home veterinarians prescribe it 30 minutes a day. Listen together. It's music that's for both ends of the leash. Yeah, it is music that is just as helpful at discharging your nervous system.

And no matter what, if you have a dog who has any bit of anxiety, They will pick up on your anxiety around their anxiety. It's just continuous. So you wanna really address both ends leash, which is why veterinarians prescribe it 30 minutes a day. It doesn't have to be the same time of day, but because dogs are so good at patterns and it's a good nighttime ritual.

Just sit down together and have some quiet and your dog will be. Oh, thank you for this peace and quiet. And then you can use that as a bonding time with your dog too, during those couch snuggles. Exactly. Yes, exactly. They'll be snoring and you'll you can read a book it's, not as sleepy. I don't make the changes in the music because I'm basing it in more recent research than I originally did with an original company.

So it's very calming, but I haven't found that it's sleepy. That's what people will tell me. So, it's good for reading and just getting chilled together and for bedtime. So, volume, because I really wanna talk about volume. Most people, like when I walk into those one of those 1500 shelters and I hear my music playing, I cringe.

And it's too loud. Yeah, because it's not about masking sounds. It's about calming the canine nervous system. So it doesn't need to be too loud to calm the canine nervous system. And it wants to be really gentle volume. What is that volume? You wanna pay attention to your dog to find that out? But I would say play it at a volume that if you are home all day or for a few hours listening, what volume would

be comfortable for you that you could still hear other things. Be comfortable for you. And then just lower it, a tad, knowing that your dog is so much more sensitive to sound.

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: That's a great measurement there. And when you were discussing earlier about frequency by playing it regularly together, during happy, connected moments, you have divorced it from

those departure cues. Exactly. So now when the dog hears the music, your doodle isn't anticipating isolation or being alone. Exactly. The emotional connection they have to that music is something positive. And it's not the same as when they see you get at your shoes on, grab your purses, grab your keys where the anxiety level's rising.

Lisa Spector: Exactly. They're building their association, that the music means to be. All is good with the world. My person is with me and still don't play it right before you're leaving. If your dog has any bit of separation anxiety even if they don't, because it's just healthy for dogs. Anyhow play it an hour, half an hour before you leave and start to mix up that pattern as well.

But don't, play it right before you out the door. I tell you all this, and I'm gonna tell you the same thing. If it's a thunderstorm, if it's fireworks, if it's something your dog is thunder phobia. But I get emails every day from people say, my dog is thunder phobia. I've tried everything else.

Didn't know what to do. Saw your music and streaming. I tried it and it worked. Yes. So sometimes every dog is different. Sometimes it needs some conditioning. It needs some training. Other times it's like a pill and it just does work and every dog is different. So it's really about paying attention to your own dog and finding out, also pay attention to their, where they are in relationship to the source of the sound, do they go near the speakers? Do they go away from the speakers? If they wanna leave the room, let them leave the room. Yes. And also be careful of what other sound sources are in the house? Because you might have a TV, your husband might be watching a football game on one room, yelling at the game, yelling at the game, your yelling at this box, your dog doesn't know.

It's just Your teenagers listening to heavy metal in one room And you're put this on in the other room and your dog, because they're dogs, we love them because they love us, will put themselves in the middle of this cacophony of sound and as much as possible, create a quieter environment where they can just hear the music.

If that's conducive to your home environment? 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. My husband is a huge Cowboys fan and now that we have kids, he watches his language, but his temper is still there when his Cowboys are disappointing them and our dog Nestle wants to be with us more than anything. Yeah. Yeah. So he'll be there, but you can see some signs of anxiety, right?

Like licking yawning and him and I, don't really the yelling at the TV either. I enjoy football, but not at that level. And so Nestle and I will go enjoy a quieter space together. 

Lisa Spector: Oh, that's so sweet. That's so sweet. Or even do something like I, at four in the afternoon, I wanna put her on and I'm working.

I wanna put on music to charge my nervous system. Yeah. My Zumba playlist like gets me going, but I don't. And I might put it a little too loud. Yeah. For Gina, for my 13 year old black lab. But I'll give her the option. I'll give her a chew bone and put her if it's cool enough outside or somewhere where it's like, she doesn't cuz she always wants to be near me, but she's like really happy chewing her bones.

So it's is a good time to have some separate time too. Perfect. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So you talked about frequency and volume and then choice of music. Yeah. You were talking about like pitch. 

Lisa Spector: So lower frequencies, calm the canine nervous system, which is why I start my\ podcast theme music is left hand only.

I'm gonna play some left hand, only music for your members today. Yeah. And lower frequencies. Just are faster at calming the canine nervous system. The pace I'm going for a dog. So it's written for your dogs. Who's ever listening by a current day composer. It's not all left hand, but if you visually watch me and the nail, see if you listen, you'll notice many places where I right hand, which generally place higher frequencies crosses over and reaches for the lower base, the lower frequency notes.

So it's over and over that those come in. These they're quite prominent.. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Excellent. And listeners stay tuned because Lisa's going to be playing one of her favorite songs for you at the end of this episode. So we're almost there. So you get to hear what she's talking about. Lisa, you mentioned your podcast. So we already can stream Dog Gone Calm or My Zen Pet works better with the smart speakers

when you ask for them. We could already stream those for free. And then what is your podcast about? 

Lisa Spector: So my podcast is My Zen Pet is the name of the company. It is the first podcast with music for pet stress. So season one was a little different than season two. So season one was all micro podcast.

So short 10 minutes episodes, or less. This season two is I do three of those once a week, every Wednesday, Woof Wednesday. And then one a month, I do a podcast interview. So, I'm rotating a little bit in season one. I had meditations and those are turning into an album. And as a podcast host, we're always experimenting.

 But I combine a piece of music with something in the my Zen pet music system, some tip whether it's volume, whether it's frequency, whether whatever it is about educating people on the importance of creating a dog sound friendly home environment and what they can do for their dogs, anxiety, and also just for overall good dog health sound.

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I love it. And you described how vets can prescribe separation anxiety dogs listening like 30 minutes a day. And that could be like the 2.0 pro parent level. I can share one of our members in The Doodle Pro™ Society has a real phobia of fireworks, and those were just continuing and continuing in Denver on the 4th of July.

And I shared with them your album. and they went in the basement. So that gave them some kind of cover from the sound. And they said night two, cuz they kept going for a few nights of the fireworks night two was so much better and they saw different. 

Lisa Spector: Oh fantastic.

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. Keanu is the name of the Aussiedoodle. He's the most handsome boy, just like the celebrity!

Lisa Spector: And the nice thing is that member noticed. I'm sure you talk about this all the time. It's little by little, that's something I learned in my right hand, recovery. It's noticing the little changes. So night, two might have been a little bit better. Night

three is a little bit better so those little bit of improvements really do add up. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: They do. And I have different doodles visit me daily in my home for what we call Shed Free Stay™ here in Denver. And I don't have every day with them to spend 30 minutes to play your music, but we do play it consistently in our home.

And I notice a difference when we do versus when we don't. They're in an exciting environment. Like a shelter, not the same level of stress, but novel other dogs, new dogs. I want them to be able to access relaxation and it's the best. If you follow my Instagram, you always see like dogs, like totally laying on each other's.

Sleeping on the couch. I am often playing Lisa's music when that's happening. I might be doing my admin work while they're just dozing off legs. 

Lisa Spector: Oh. So sweet. And I'm sure they sense your energy around that too. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. Lisa, I know you've got a couple exciting things coming up for people who are listening now in September, you've got doors that are opening just for a short period of time.

Can you tell our listeners about. 

Lisa Spector: Yes. So I also have a membership called the Dog Gone Calm Club and in the club, it's where anxious dogs and their people de-stress with the, My Zen Pet music system. And when this airs you will have been a guest expert because I have once a month, I also have guest experts talk about, you're gonna be talking about fearful, barking and I've had separation anxiety certified trainers.

I've had veterinary neurologists who talks about. Energy healing and I've had animal communicators. I love just curating that. Yeah. And I ask my members what they'd like. And so the membership is often closed, but we're doing a big opening at the end of September. And you can join the wait list at myzenpet.com/waitlist. You can join the waitlist for that. And you'll be the first to know when it opens and we'd love to have you. So in addition to learning the, my Zen pet music system, which is all the things about volume and frequency in the order to do them in, I play monthly dog gone com concerts, where I invite you to put your doodle on camera. Yes. And tell, us about your doodle and, have that experience. So there's your prescriptive time listening with your doodle. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And I remember you did a 4th of July concert, right? And I loved watching all of those relaxed pets that were able to feel more calm with the fireworks that can really just terrify them. 

And for listeners who are listening at any time, I know you also have a freebie for them just for listening to our interview today. Can you share that? And I'll also share the link in the show notes. 

Lisa Spector: Sure. So it's tips on how to use music design for dogs for different behavior issues.

And you can find that at myzenpet.com/tips. 

Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Thank you, Lisa. We are going to enjoy a little medley from you. If you can share what it's called and then I appreciate your staying on just for our private membership, The Doodle Pro™ Society and playing a private show for them afterwards.

Thank you so much for sharing your skills. And I'm glad that your Juilliard training has gone to the dogs. 

Lisa Spector: Me too. So for your members, I'm gonna be playing something for left hand only for your podcast listeners. I'm gonna be playing a piece written for your dogs. This is called Nocturne for Dogs: Stillness of Night written by a fabulous present day, live composer, young live composer, Zach Gulaboff Davis he's American. And I met him in an agility field cause he's also, I'm an agility. Gina is a two time agility, champion 13, still running she's in the rock in the veterans class.

And so I met him when I was running Gina and he was judging an agility trial. So he's a professional composer and an agility judge. So he speaks dog in other words. So I was able to collaborate with him and. Educate 'em about the lower frequencies and so forth. And how do you apply that?

So it's just a beautiful, piece. And again, just listen for those lower base notes. If you're watching, you can see it with my right hand, reach over to the base it's short, but it's really, gorgeous. Thank you for playing us out, Lisa. Sure.

Lisa. I feel more relaxed already. 

This is the one time when I get snores as a compliment. 


Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: exactly. I will love it. even your voice afterwards was smooth and calm. Like I was listening to the classical station. Thank you. 

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have a pawsome day!


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I’m Corinne, The Doodle Pro™


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