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Help! My Dog is Barking at Christmas Songs

Portable stereo (boom box)  on a yellow background with a Santa hat draped over one end

Christmas songs are very popular in the US and are played from Halloween onwards until Christmas. It’s quite normal for these songs to show a lot of variation. For example, they can have instrumental jazz music or even upbeat music in them. Although all these different songs can make canines bark, it’s not always the case. Read on to find out why your dog is barking at Christmas songs and how you can curb this behavior.

Why is My Dog Barking at Christmas Songs?

Dogs can react differently when exposed to different types of music. According to Psychology Today, classical songs have a calming effect on dogs while heavy metal music can make them chaotic or agitated. Likewise, pop music seemingly does not affect dogs.

Several reasons can instigate your dog to start barking at Christmas songs. The most common of these causes are discussed below.

High-Pitched Noise

Black and tan dog laying on its side with its paw over its snout

The Nest explains that certain songs have so many high-pitched sounds that your dog may confuse them with howls from other dogs. In this situation, your dog will bark just to respond to these ‘howls’. Some shrill mobile ringtones also have the same effect on canines. Therefore, if a Christmas song contains a lot of high-pitched notes, it’s quite likely to trigger the barking instinct of your pup.

Coincidence

Sometimes, the barking of your dog and the playing of Christmas songs are synchronized, coincidentally. This means that your dog is barking (due to some other reason), but the Christmas songs are also playing. It gives an impression (incorrect one) that these songs are instigating your pup to bark.

Although they are very much possible, these coincidences are few and far between. If your dog is always barking to a particular song, there is something in the music that is triggering it.

Pain or Discomfort

Jack Russell Terrier hiding under a blanket with its head sticking out

It is possible that the songs you are listening to have sounds that are causing your dog to be uncomfortable. In fact, certain shrill sounds can even hurt your dog.

Alternatively, if the music is being played in a very loud tone, it can make your dog anxious. Not only will it result in constant barking, but it can also condition your dog to bark whenever you play that type of music. This can also lead to several other behavioral problems if the issue is not managed appropriately.

Communication

Humans have bonded over music for thousands of years, and your dog may be trying to do the same. Barking is how dogs communicate, and your pup may just be trying to enjoy the Christmas songs you have played. After all, canines love to have fun with their owners.

Many people believe that this instinct comes from the ancestor of the modern dog: the wolf. The Happy Puppy Site mentions that wolves howl in packs to communicate with each other. Your dog considers you a part of his/her pack and tries to communicate with you by barking.

What Can I Do If My Dog is Barking at Music?

Hand turning the dial on a car radio

If your dog is barking at Christmas songs, the following are some ways to control this behavioral problem.

Desensitization

Desensitization is the gradual exposure of a trigger sound to your dog. This means that regular exposure to a sound that sets your dog off can make him/her get used to it. According to Cuteness, you can desensitize your canine companion by slowly increasing the duration your dog listens to a particular sound (Christmas song). In this way, the triggered barking can be greatly reduced because your pooch will slowly get used to that sound.

Counter-Conditioning

Medium sized dog taking a treat from someone's hand

In this method, you give a treat to your pup whenever he/she becomes quiet after barking at a particular sound. If you keep repeating this practice for Christmas songs, your dog will eventually learn to stay quiet during the song. In this way, this negative behavior can be corrected over time.

However, never overdo this because it will reverse the effect of this training. If you repeat it too often, your dog will consider constant barking as the method of getting treats. Therefore, it’s important to ensure proper balance to this activity. When your dog’s behavior starts improving, you can give him/her fewer treats until he/she learns to behave appropriately (without treats).

Consult a Professional Behaviorist

Both the above-mentioned methods work only if they are implemented properly. Therefore, it can be quite difficult for inexperienced owners to condition their dogs properly. For this reason, you may need to hire a professional to train your dog to avoid barking at music (Christmas songs).

ASPCA considers this a better alternative in the long run because professional behaviorists are masters of their job. They know how to do such things and can train your pup without conditioning any bad behaviors. We know that bad habits are incredibly hard to correct so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

First-Ever Christmas Song for Dogs

Small brown and white dog with long hair wearing a Santa hat, sitting on a rug in front of a Christmas tree

According to Tails, it’s only fair that the dogs get their own Christmas songs. This leads us to the world’s first-ever Christmas song for dogs, ‘Raise the Woof!’. It was made by taking into account proper scientific studies and is tuned specifically to cater to dogs’ ears. This song was designed for your pooch’s entertainment and it will definitely lighten up your pup’s Christmas.  

If your dog is enjoying the song, he/she will sit alertly with his/her head cocked. Likewise, your dog will try to find the source of the sound while listening to the song intently. Normally, wagging of the tail is the most obvious sign that your pup is loving this music (Christmas song).

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