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Music And Dogs

[Oct. 24, 1891.]

Dogs, as well as horses, can recognise tunes. Many years ago a friend,
during a short absence from our station on the Kurrumfooler, lent my
sister a pet dog. Cissie was constantly in the room while playing and
singing went on, without taking any notice; but whenever the temporary
mistress began singing one favourite song of the absent mistress's, the
dog would jump on a chair by her side with evident pleasure.

O. H. G.

[Oct. 24, 1891.]

I have read with much interest your correspondent's letter on the
capability of animals to distinguish tunes. I had a small dog who, when
first I got him, would have howled incessantly during singing. This,
however, he was not allowed to do, except to one tune, which he soon
knew and always joined in, not attempting to "sing" other songs. We
tried every sort of experiment to see if he would recognise his own
tune, which he invariably did, and would whine if the air was hummed
quite quietly.


[Oct. 24, 1891.]

Anent "Orpheus at the Zoo," the following facts may interest you. Of two
dogs of mine, one showed a great fondness for music. She (though usually
my shadow) would always leave me to go to a room where a piano was being
played, and the more she liked the music, the closer she crept to the
player, even if a stranger to her. If, however, one began to play scales
or exercises, she would get up, walk to the door, sit down, and, after
waiting a bit, go away out of sight, but not out of hearing, for she
soon appeared again on the resumption of music to her taste. On the
other hand, mere "strumming" very quickly obliged her to go right away
out of hearing. I confess that I have many times plagued the poor dog
by thus sending her backwards and forwards. Her looks were often very
comical. The other dog evidently hated music--would try to push a player
from the piano, go out of hearing, and show other unmistakable signs of
dislike. A band would draw one dog out to listen, while the other rushed
away to hide. In one house the dog first mentioned had, for some reason
or other, a particular objection to the room where the piano was, and
never willingly stayed there. Music would bring her in, but only to sigh
and moan, evidently in great pity for herself at being obliged to listen
under such (to her) trying conditions. From these and other observations
I am convinced that there is the musical dog as well as the unmusical,
just as with human beings.


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