Owners have different tried and trusted ways of calming down excitable dogs – and one new project has hinted classical music could be the way forward.

Visitors to Crufts 2018 saw a performance by the Pawchestra, organised by sponsor Eukanuba, with musicians playing a five-minute piece designed to calm the pooches and enhance their bond with their owners.

Written by Birmingham-based composer Iain Jackson, the instrumental A Dog’s Tale is themed on the story of the life of man’s best friend, from puppyhood to old age.

The emotional piece was played by the group of stringed musicians at the Eukanuba stand at the world’s biggest dog show, held once more at the NEC in Birmingham, surrounded by a group of dog owners with their four-legged friends.

Kelly Ceccarelli, Eukunuba’s veterinary training manager, revealed what the company were seeking when they set out on the project – and the interesting results the experiment has generated.

“In science, there’s a lot of research going on about what impact music has on humans,” she said. “We wanted to see if dogs that people are looking after would be influenced by classical music.

“What we found is that it totally calmed them – when we did the live recording two weeks ago, we found their pulse rate dropped by about 22 per cent.

“We had absolutely no idea that we were going to show such an impact.

“And normally at Crufts, we can’t really hear ourselves think, but the dogs hear things at a much higher frequency and they could definitely hear Friday’s performance.

“The dogs were calm, happy, lying down and connected with their owners – they weren’t barking, they weren’t pacing and we were really pleased with the results.

“One lady came over to me at the end and said ‘my dog normally doesn’t stop barking, but it just laid down quietly and listened’.”

Iain visualised the piece as a soundtrack to the life of dog from its early years to its final moments. The music therefore is quicker in tempo in its early stages to reflect the bounciness of a puppy while slowing down for the dignity of an old and faithful pooch.

“Eukanuba got in touch with a string group who then approached me to put some music together,” said 38-year-old Iain.

“There were two elements to it, one to act as a calming influence for dogs, another to mirror the stages of a dog’s life.

“I saw it writing a soundtrack to a video montage of a dog’s life - going through junior and adult phases so I structured the music around that.

“In the recording, which was a much more controlled environment, you could see the impact it had. And at Crufts there is a lot going on but, in both cases, you could see just being around the music – the dogs seemed to relax and for a group of dogs which don’t know each other, that’s great.

“I can honestly say I’ve never written music about any animal or dog in particular, so this is a new experience for me!”

Photo credit: Flick Digital