Calm your dog with a canine friendly playlist

Classical music has a scientifically proven effect on calming dogs. We guide you to navigate this beautiful enrichment idea and to choose the perfect playlist to get your pup to mellow down at bedtime… or any other time.


This article is brought to you by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach and Frédéric Chopin. In a study conducted in 2002 in England, animal behaviorist Dr. Deborah Wells looked at the influence of auditory stimulation in dogs housed in rescue shelters. She tested them with four types of sounds – human conversation, classical music, heavy metal music, pop music – and found out that classical music had a significant impact on their behavior.

“Dogs spent more time resting, being quiet and less time standing when classical music was played than when any of the other stimuli were played” explains the study. Heavy metal was making them bark more and their bodies were more shaky, while pop music and human conversation had no effect.

A groundbreaking finding that gave Lisa Spector the idea to create music specially made for dogs while she was volunteering at a shelter in 2003. This pianist trained at The Juilliard School had no idea she would make a career of performing for dogs and cats. “It warms my heart and feeds my soul to use my music talents to help improve the lives of our beloved pets”. She co-founded Through a Dog’s Ear in 2008 and was called The Pet Calming Maestro by NPR during her time with the company. She is now launching a new dog music project, My Zen Pet. She gave WisePawz her tips to get the best classical music experience for your companion.

Not all classical music is created equal

Frequencies are important, and the lower frequencies work better at calming a dog’s nervous system. Associated with a slower tempo, they will relieve canine anxiety associated with sound phobias, excessive barking, separation anxiety or hyperactivity. Spector curates music to make playlists that fit those criteria, focusing on lower frequencies, sometimes played with her left hand only. 

Start practicing when dogs are quiet

To set them up for success you want your dog to associate classical music with quiet time, so it is better to start this exercise when your dog is already calm. “You don’t want to start playing classical music for the first time when there is a thunderstorm, because the next time you play it, they will wonder if a thunderstorm is coming”, explains Spector.

Be aware of the surrounding sounds

The ear canal of the dog is much deeper than the ear canal of humans, so it carries the sound to the eardrum a lot more, like a funnel. The average dog can hear about 4 times better than the average person. This includes sounds at higher frequencies that we can’t even detect. For this reason, environmental sounds that are no big deal for us are very distracting and possibly stressful to them. This can include the beep of your Bluetooth speaker, your fridge vibrating, your door bell buzzing. “I recommend to sit back and try to acknowledge every sound in the room when you consider it quiet. You will realize there is still a lot going on, and you want to try to lower that constant noise for your dog to better relax”, advises Spector.

Find the right playlist

You can Google it: playlists labeled “for dogs” are everywhere on the internet. But this does not mean that they have been curated the right way to provide your dog with peace. A tempo that is too fast or frequencies that are too high can be very counterproductive to calm our dog. Some playlists even include “nature sounds” on top of the music, which can be very confusing for a dog, because they can’t see or smell that bird, for example.

For this reason we recommend playlists that have been created with your dog in mind, and sometimes even rearranged to fit their needs.

  • “Through A Dog’s Ears” playlist can be found on Spotify, and the classical pieces are played by co-founder Spector, even though she is no longer with the company. 
  • We also recommend My Zen Pet, Spector’s new venture with an upcoming three-hour album soon available on streaming services. In the meantime, she offers a free 19 minute dog playlists on her website, Merlot, our Head of PupLick Relations, personally tried it and fell asleep in 3 seconds flat – see for yourself below – so we strongly advocate for it. You can also find her on Instragram.
merlot sleeping dog in front computer
Merlot, Head of PupLick Relations for WisePawz, approves Lisa Spector’s playlist.


8 tips to stop puppy biting

Nipping is totally normal for dogs up to 6 months old but can be managed using different techniques. Here are the eight most efficient ones.


Puppy owners are often easily recognizable by the scratches and bite marks on their hands, left by the 28 razor-sharp teeth of their new dog. The reasons can vary. Their little baby shark could be teething, trying to get their attention, or using their mouth to discover the world. However, it is important to teach a puppy at a young age that biting hurts and isn’t allowed, so they don’t grow up into dogs who think biting is an acceptable behavior. Those are proven techniques to train away this irritating habit.

Teach the meaning of “yes”, “no”, and “leave it”

Puppies need to learn the most basic language to be able to understand what we want from them, and “yes” and “no” are the first steps for better communication between a dog and its owner. “Yes” can be taught by saying the word when rewarding a dog for good behavior. For example, if a dog sits when asked to, the treat should come with the verbal clue “yes”, associating the word to a good behavior. The same goes with “no”, that the dog will associate with a behavior for which he does not get any reward. “Leave it” should also be celebrated with a reward when the dog actually does leave what he is doing. Those simple words will be key to teach any behavior modification.

Offer an alternative chew toy

Keep a chew toy closeby at all times to be able to redirect the biting the second it occurs. When a puppy starts nipping at you, offer this option instead. If he bites at your feet or your ankles, stop moving and wave the toy in an enticing way, so your dog loses interest in your feet and redirects it to the toy. Only then, start moving again. Don’t forget to praise your dog if he actually substitutes biting you for this item, even if it is just for a few seconds.

Practice the cold shoulder

Your dog might be “play-biting” you because he is trying to get your attention and it was successful in the past. One very efficient way to change a dog’s behavior quickly is to turn your back on them when they show bad manners. We mean, literally turn your back on them. If your puppy bites you, stand up and leave the room. You might have to leave 20 times in an afternoon (hello, 10k steps a day!), but it will pay off fast. Your dog will quickly learn that this behavior equals losing your interest, which is the last thing he wants. This sort of “indifferent” treatment is a lot more efficient than negative reinforcement (like yelling) is, which should be avoided because it could make your dog fearful and more reactive as a result.

Start a training session

If your puppy has enough energy to play sleeves-tearer, it is the right moment to initiate a little training session. Grab some high-quality treats and make him earn them by teaching sit, roll, stay, or any other command you deem appropriate for his skills level. This will help ground him and refocus his attention toward a constructive task. He will leave your sleeves for a moment and learn something new. Everybody wins.

Help them calm down

Try to initiate some quiet time, depending on your dog’s personality. For some dogs, it could be going to their crate if they associate it with calm and sleep. However, it should never feel like a punishment. For other dogs, it could be a brushing session, a short potty break, or practicing the “sit” command. Some dogs will even respond well to classical music.

Let them know it hurts

Your puppy is not trying to hurt you, and he does not want to. Therefore, you will have to tell him that his biting is painful, something he would usually learn while playing with his littermates. An effective way to do this is to make a little high pitch sound of your choice, like a “oww” when your puppy bites too hard. We really mean little, not a yell. Think more of a squeak. 

Burn off some energy

Your puppy might have so much energy that he is taking it out on you and your fingers. Go for a walk, a short hike, the dog park, play fetch or meet with another canine friend. The more tired your puppy is, the less likely it will be to have the energy to ruin your wardrobe. That being said, make sure that you don’t over-exercise your puppy and give him the proper amount of activity, based on your dog’s age.

Wait it out

To a certain extent. We have good news: puppy biting is a totally normal behavior, it is a phase, and it should significantly lessen around 6 months old. In the meantime, the techniques above will greatly speed up the process.


Prevent dog theft by following those 7 steps

One-third of all dogs in the United States are reported missing in their lifetimes and more than 80% are never found. For those who disappear because of dognapping, there are ways to avoid it in the first place. 

Dognapping has been on the rise for a decade, but it exploded in 2020 with the high demand of puppies from people bored in the pandemic lockdown. Thieves steal dogs to “flip” them quickly on websites like craigslist or to pocket the reward dog owners end up offering to get their baby back. For this reason, expensive dogs like French bulldogs have been particularly targeted by those criminals. There are several steps a dog parent can take to prevent dog thefts, that we are listing below. We also can’t stress enough the importance of not buying dogs from a shady online seller, which encourages the market of dog trafficking.

Microchip and register

Dogs should be microchipped and you must register to that number. That way you make sure that if the dog is found it will be attached to your phone and name. Veterinarians, shelters and animal control always check for a microchip when a dog is brought to them. Make sure to keep those information updated so they know how to contact you. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Lord et al, July 15, 2009), dogs with microchips are returned to their owners over 52 percent of the time, as opposed to less than 22 percent for dogs without microchips.

Be alert on walks and carry protection

Be aware of your surroundings and don’t be distracted by your phone while being on walks. Mix up your routine: don’t walk at the same time and don’t take the same way every day. Someone could ambush you if they identify what your habits are. Keep it unpredictable. Carry equipment with you that will help you attract attention, distract and disarm. Depending on where you live and your local law, you can carry a whistle, pepper spray, a walking stick, a loud rape alarm or a deterrent. 

Choose the right type of harness and leash

A collar can be opened in seconds by someone trying to steal a dog, so a harness is a better bet as long as it fits the dog properly and can’t slide. You can also choose a harness with an integrated leash, to avoid the risk of someone unhooking it. The leash should also be thick enough that it can’t be easily cut. Finally, some leashes have an extra strap that you can attach to your body, for extra protection. You will want to do your own research to find the product that is the best fit for your needs, with those options in mind.

Delay your social media posting

Celebrities have been doing this for years, and it might be time to apply this technique to dogs. Always delay your social media posting until you have already left the area. You don’t want someone to see your post or story, and decide to come find you because you showed them your location.

Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard

Unfortunately, a fence is not enough to deter thieves, so the safest place to leave your dog when you’re not home is indoors. In 2020, 52% of dog thefts happened in their own backyard. If your dog has to stay outside while you leave home it should be in a yard that is not visible from the street and your gate must be locked. Also, we would advise against signs like “Beware of the dog”, as this could attract thieves. Definitely do not specify what type of breed your dog is, which could make you the perfect target to those looking for this type of dog. Finally, make sure you secure your home with alarms and cameras.

Don’t leave your dog unattended anywhere else

It goes without saying, but tying your dog up to a pole in the street while you are inside a store shopping is a big no-no. Only go to stores you know are dog friendly, go with a friend who can stay outside to watch them, or leave your pup at home. Don’t leave them in your car either, as they could be easily snatched by thieves, or escape if someone breaks into your car to steal your GPS, wallet, or other valuables. 

Stranger danger

Be aware of who is around you when you walk, avoid groups, and be suspicious of the people who show interest in your dog or ask questions about them. Don’t answer and keep walking. Also, don’t let strangers pet your dog, as they could easily unhook the leash while they do so, and take off with your dog. “No” is a totally fine answer, and it is time to use it more.


The best apps to travel with a dog

Planning a trip with a dog needs a good amount of preparation. Is this hotel dog friendly? Where can I find a dog-sitter? Does this beach allow dogs? There are  apps for that.

Bring Fido 
Available: IOS

BringFido connects millions of pet owners around the globe with more than 250,000 pet friendly places. Users can seamlessly compare and book thousands of pet friendly hotels and vacation rentals directly on the app, all with no booking fees. And planning an epic dog-friendly road trip is a breeze using BringFido’s database of pup-approved restaurants, dog parks, hiking trails and shopping destinations.

Bark Happy
Available: IOS and Android

This app helps you find dog-friendly parks, restaurants, and lodging, to name a few. It is location based so you can just browse the best places around you. You can also get social and find events and playdates in your area.


Available: IOS and Android

This is a network of 40 000 dog friendly parks and businesses worldwide. You can even schedule playdate with dogs in the area you are visiting, find recommendations for a vet, a groomer, a dog walker or a dog sitter. You can search what the dog-friendly businesses are and in which park you can take your dog off leash. You can even create your own dog-related event and promote it through the app.

Available: IOS and Android

This very unique app connects dog owners with individuals who host safe off-leash private dog parks. Anyone can turn their yard or land into a doggy play field in a safe environment and rent it to dog parents for a small fee. We tried it in the Los Angeles area and the rate was from $4 to $20 per hour and per dog, depending on the quality of the land. Most were under $10.

Pet First Aid

Available: IOS and Android

Made by the American Red Cross, this app helps you with medical emergencies on the go. We would strongly recommend it to any pet owner at home too. With sections like “What is normal”, “Allergic reactions”, “Bleeding”, “Poisoning”, “Breathing problems”, “Burns”, “Choking” or “CPR”, and so many more, you will find answers for any type of crisis. Some sections even have videos to demonstrate how to give dogs the best care. This is not a substitute for talking to a vet and seeking help as soon as possible after an incident, but it can help when every second counts.

Yelp and Tripadvisor
Available: IOS and Android

Those apps meant for humans offer a “dog friendly” option that you can check in your settings to filter restaurants, hotels, beaches, parks etc. With hundreds of millions of reviews on both apps, this is the most extensive “dog friendly” search you can get.



The full list of the foods dogs should not eat

You have probably heard about avoiding chocolate, onions, and grapes. But did you know that cinnamon and macadamia nuts can be toxic for a dog? We look over all the food they should avoid.


Toxic substances for dogs hide in our everyday food items and danger can come from the most unexpected places. We have listed them in alphabetical order for convenience.


Alcohol should totally be avoided as it has a huge impact on dogs, even in small doses. Dogs can not process alcohol and it can lead not only to intoxication like it would for humans, but also vomiting, panting, increased heart rate, fever, diarrea, nervous system damage and even death.


If they are not toxic to dogs per se, almonds are a choking hazard for dogs. They can block the esophagus or even tear the windpipe if not chewed fully.

Apple seeds

Apples are good for dogs in small quantities as long as the seeds and core are carefully removed.  The casing of apple seeds is toxic to them because they contain a natural chemical, called amygdalin, that releases cyanide when digested.

Avocado, especially the pit

Avocados contain persin, an ingredient that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and heart congestion. If a dog eats a small piece of it, it will probably be okay but it’s safer to keep it closely monitored. On the other hand, the pit of the avocado is the most dangerous part of the fruit, as it can be a choking hazard and is also full of persin, in quantities very toxic to a dog. A vet should be consulted immediately if a dog chews on one.

Bones, cooked

Raw bones are suitable for a dog, as long as you make sure that they are fresh and from a trustworthy source, so they won’t carry Salmonella or E. coli, which can be harmful to both pets and humans. Cooked bones, on the other hand, can easily splinter when chewed by a dog and create terrible damage, from constipation at best to perforation of the gut at worse, which could be fatal.


Caffeine contains substances called methylxanthines, which are very dangerous to a dog’s health. When ingested by dogs, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.


Sugar free candies are to be avoided at all cost as they can contain xylitol, a highly toxic substance for dogs See Xylitol in this list to learn more.

Cat Food

The protein and fat levels in cat food are too high for your dog. Feeding a dog cat food could lead to an upset stomach, obesity, and pancreatitis.Cherries
The flesh part of cherries is okay for dogs to eat but the seed and cherry plan contain cyanide, a substance highly toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, leading in your dog’s blood cells not getting enough oxygen. Cyanide poisoning will result in symptoms like dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums.

Chewing gums

Chewing gums often contain xylitol, a highly toxic substance for dogs. See Xylitol in this list to learn more.


All foods from the onion family are to be avoided. See onions to learn more.


This might be the most known “no-no” in the toxic-for-dog food list. Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, found in the cacao seeds, which are very dangerous to a dog’s health. When ingested by dogs, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. The darker the chocolate, the more methylxanthines it contains.


Cinnamon is not toxic to dogs per se but it can irritate the inside of dogs’ mouths. It can also lower a dog’s blood sugar so much that it leads to diarrhea, vomiting, increased, or decreased heart rate, and even liver disease.


Citric acid is present in the stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants. It can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. In small doses it is fine and should not present problems beyond minor stomach upset.


Coffee contains substances called methylxanthines, which are very dangerous to a dog’s health. When ingested by dogs, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.


Garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. It can create anemia in dogs, causing side effects such as pale gums, elevated heart rate, weakness, and collapse. The effects of garlic poisoning can have delayed symptoms so if a dog has eaten some it is necessary to monitor it for a few days.


Recently, veterinarians have discovered that grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs without identifying which substance is responsible for this reaction. Raisins should also be avoided for this reason also.

Macadamia nuts

Those are the most poisonous nuts for dogs. Consuming them can cause vomiting, weakness, depression, increased body temperature (hyperthermia), inability to walk, lethargy and affect the nervous system.


Nuts, including almonds, pecans and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even pancreatitis in dogs. Almonds are a choking hazard (see “Almonds” above) and Macadamia nuts are a huge no-no.

Persimmon, Peach & Plum Pits

Pits and seeds from peaches, plums and persimmon have cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs.


Onions, leeks, and chives are part of a family of plants called Allium that is poisonous to dog, and most pets, and should never been consumed in any formed (cooked, raw, powder…). They can lead to red blood cell damage, making them rupture. In less severe cases a dog can also experience vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea. Signs of illness can appear several days after consumption and dogs should be monitored if you suspect they ate any.


See Grapes.

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener

Xylitol is a type of artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free products, from candy to nut butters. It creates an insulin release in dogs, which can lead to liver failure, blood clotting, seizures and brain damage. Always check the label for anything claiming to be “sugar free” or “no sugar added”, as this is a clue for the possible use of Xylitol in a product.


Yeast will expand in a dogs’ stomach the same way it rises in bread. It can lead to gas, lots of farting, and discomfort. In the worst cases it could rupture their stomach and intestines. Also, yeast can ferment in the dog’s stomach and create alcohol, leading to alcohol poisoning.


How dogs see the world

Do dogs perceive colors the way we do? How well can they see in the dark? Is there such a thing as a canine having 20/20 vision? We have the answers.


Dogs see colors differently

The key difference in color perception between dogs and humans lay in their retinas. Those are composed of two types of cells. The rods, that are sensitive to movement and catch the light in dark environments; and the cones, that control color perception et manage bright light. Turns out, dogs have more rods than cones in their retina, when people have the opposite. Therefore, dogs see the world like a color-blind person would because they are missing the green-red cone. For this reason, blue and yellow are the main “bright” colors a dog sees almost like a human does.

A chart of the dog eyes color spectrum

Red, green, orange, purple, or pink will look more like a brown or a khaki. Something to keep in mind when choosing a dog’s toys – remember that obsession for tennis balls? It is also the reason why those potty training pads are lined with a blue border: to help the dog localize them more easily.

Dogs see better in the dark

If dogs are not the best at seeing colors like their humans, they compensate with an impressive night vision thanks to three key elements. The extra rods in their retina allow them to distinguish light from shadow and lets more light in; they have larger pupils to catch any ounce of light; and they have an extra mirror-like membrane (scientific name: tapetum) at the rear of their eye that allows the light not absorbed by the rods to rebound to the retina. This is this “mirroring” feature that makes your dog’s eyes shine in the dark. The phenomenon is known as eyeshine. As a result, a dog can see in the dark with 5 times less light than a human would need. A pure product of the evolution, when dogs were nocturnal hunters because it was safer for them to catch their food at night.

Dogs have a larger field of view

Because their eyes are on the side of their head, dogs can see at a 240° angle when humans are limited to 200. But this comes at a price, as their “binocular vision”, the zone in the center where both eyes can see, is smaller than it is for people. Unfortunately, this binocular vision plays a key role in seeing depth and distance, so dogs are at a disadvantage in this area. Their nose is also often in the way which makes this center view area a challenge.

Dogs detect movements more easily… maybe

The rods in the retina are sensitive to motion, and dogs happen to have more of them than humans. Therefore, in theory, they would detect much smaller movements and would sense someone coming before we do. However, a study published in 2017 by the Scientific Reports on Nature Research noted that those findings were not proven in practice. “To the best of our knowledge, studies about the sensitivity of detecting coherent motion in dogs are lacking”, explains a group of five scientists from the Psychology department of the University of Padova, in Italy. So they conducted their own research. Their conclusion: “Dogs are not better than humans at detecting coherent motion”. They think that “canine domestication” might be to blame, because it has “relaxed pressure on the need for a visual system highly specialized in motion detection”.

Dogs can’t see too far

Dog’s vision is roughly estimated to be 20/75. It means that he would need to be 20 feet away from an object to see it as clearly as a human would from 20 feet away. This is due to the lower concentration of cones in their retina, which gives them a visual acuity of 4 to 7 times lower than people, depending on breeds. Labradors are known to have the best eyesight of all breeds, sometimes close to 20/20, which is the reason why they are often used as seeing-eye dogs for people with a vision disability. But for most breeds, they see the world with a slightly blurry lens compared to humans.


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