Sunday, June 6, 2010

My dog loves Fleetwood Mac

It's interesting what kinds of things you learn when you stay at home a lot. One of the coolest things about being around for me is that I'm getting to spend more time with my two dogs, Cody (age 7) and Chelsea (age 3.75) and cat, Misha (exact age unknown, but approximately 10 years). For example, I'm learning that whenever Misha spends an evening out hunting, she's a complete zombie for not just one but two days after. All she does is sleep on the futon in the library. She barely comes into the kitchen to eat. I guess that's what happens when you're chasing moles, voles, and field mice and trying to avoid raccoons and who knows what else all night long.

Cody was our first dog, and he is very much spoiled. This is partly for two reasons. One, since we'd never had a dog before, we simply didn't know how to train him, so we always treated him like a baby instead of a dog. Two, he has some psychological issues such as separation anxiety and fear of thunderstorms, storm drains, and men (seriously! He's so used to living in a house full of females, he really thinks he's the king. It takes him a LOT longer to get used to men than women.)

By the time we got Chelsea, we were very much aware of everything we'd done wrong with Cody, so as soon as we brought her home, the training began. Take crate training, for example. Chelsea spent her first night home in a crate, and she's spent every night since in a crate. She LOVES the crate, and truly does consider it to be her space . . . that she occasionally shares with her brother, who until Chelsea came along hated the crate.

I've noticed that during the day, Chelsea sleeps in her crate, but Cody follows me around wherever I go. I've taken to calling him "Velcro Boy" because he's always within a few inches of wherever I am. This worries me because I don't feel like he's sleeping enough, so sometimes I put him in the crate with Chelsea and just go work in another room so he can rest.

I've also been playing music during the day. I've got one of those iPod external speaker things, so I can just pop my iPod in and select whatever playlist I want. Sometimes I just put it on Shuffle mode and let the songs play randomly. This is where the fun begins, because I can observe how the animals react to the music. Here's what I've found so far:

  • Chelsea LOVES Fleetwood Mac -- particularly the older stuff like the Rumours and Fleetwood Mac albums. Doesn't matter if it's Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, or Christine McVie singing lead. She just likes it. She also likes Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" and pretty much the entire Eric Clapton "Slowhand" CD.  Oh, and she likes Bonnie Raitt.
  • Cody prefers classical. Doesn't matter if it's old or new. For example, he has a thing for Lucia Micarelli's "Nocturne/Bohemian Rhapsody" - but he also likes Mahler and Rachmaninoff. Because he likes Rachmanioff, he likes Eric Carmen's "All By Myself." And he seems to enjoy Suzanne Vega's soft voice - especially on "Ironbound/Fancy Poultry" and "Solitude Standing."
  • When she's not in her crate, Chelsea's cool with upbeat music. She especially seems to like European dance music, and some of the old disco music from the 70s. However, this type of music makes Cody a little bonkers. And Cody cannot stand hard rock or heavy metal.
  • Neither one of them like rap or hip-hop too much. Or country either, for that matter.
  • As for Misha, she seems to prefer smooth jazz combined with a little R&B on most days. And she loves Bob Marley's "Stir It Up." Whenever that song comes on, Misha wakes up and starts doing the cat dance around my legs.
Do your animals react to music? What do they like . . . or dislike? I wonder if anyone has ever done any serious scholarly study on this topic? Hmmm . . .