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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