Therapy, Mozart, play zones: it’s a Spanish police dog’s life

Madrids police dogs to be given heated beds and music therapy to lower stress levels

Madrids 22 police dogs will be provided with heated beds and music therapy sessions designed to reduce stress when they move into their new kennel this week.

The three-month makeover of their home is designed to improve the animals health, a spokesman said. In what is described as the Mozart effect, dogs will listen to classical music at various times during the day to keep them calm.

Trials carried out by the municipal police have confirmed that exposure to music helps reduce stress in the animals. They will also be given toys.

Their new home includes a patio where they can lie in the shade during the summer months, a green play zone and heated beds, which a council spokesman said will reduce energy bills by 80%.

The type of music and the amount to which they are exposed will depend on what tasks to which the dogs are assigned. While all the dogs are classified as detectors, each is specialised in a particular field, such as detecting drugs, explosives and counterfeit money, while some are dedicated to rescue operations.

The Madrid dog section, which was established in 1983, is proud of the fact that some of the animals have been trained to have double specialties, such as rescue work as well as explosives detection.

Sgt Rafael de la Gndara, the officer in charge of the dog section, points out that the way a dog behaves when it discovers a substance is crucial.

For example, when a dog is looking for drugs, it digs up the ground, which obviously wouldnt be a good idea if it was looking for explosives, so it has to have another way of showing that its found something. Likewise, if its a rescue situation, it barks when it thinks its found someone.

Tests have shown that as well as classical music, dogs respond well to soft rock, jazz and reggae, whereas heavy metal increases their stress levels.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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