But, is “For All the Dogs” actually for the dogs?
Sure, the album’s title is most likely a play on words for the term “dog,” which often refers to a friend or, in some situations, a romantic partner who is less than loyal. And yes, Drake has mentioned dogs in his lyrics before, and included audio clips of dogs barking, too.
Drake, after all, is a bit of a dog guy — having been spotted hopping around New York City in a dog mask or showing off his dogs in album promotional art. He’s mused about dogs in his songs before, too. On the 2015 bop “Company,” he sang, “I only text her, man, I never call/I’m still a canine at heart, I’m a dog.” And on his 2022 hit “Wait For U” with Future and Tems, he solemnly rapped, “Supposed to be your dog, but you done put me in a kennel.”
Though representatives for Drake declined to comment when asked if the album was produced with dogs in mind, or if Drake had any comments on dogs in general, research shows that softer and more melodic tunes — like those you’d find on a typical Drake album — might be a good fit for pups.
“Ultimately if a track makes you, the dog’s owner, happy, sad, hopeful, your mood will be picked up by your dog,” said Anna Webb, an animal behavior expert and host of “A Dog’s Life” podcast.
Music is often seen as therapeutic for dogs, according to the American Kennel Club, which shares research about canines. Calmer music can ease their anxiety and keep their energy low.
A dog’s ears are more sensitive than humans’ so they can pick up on more sounds, which is why softer tunes make them feel more at ease.
Webb said that rap and hip-hop are “not good for dogs” because it often moves faster than classical or reggae, which have the same rhythm as a dog’s heartbeat. Generally, she said, music that appeases canines the most has a similar or slower beat than a dog’s heart rate, which is around 80 to 120 beats per minute.
Most rap falls outside those parameters with about 140 beats per minute, she said. But some Drake songs, like his older hits “Find Your Love” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home” would be fine for dogs because of their slower tempo.
Scroll through Spotify and you’ll see playlist after playlist for your canine, including collections for road trips with your pup, or when you’re trying to calm them down. The production company RelaxMyDog has been producing music for dogs since 2011 to improve mental health among dogs who are having a rough — or ruff — time. Through user feedback, the company found that certain genres and sounds appealed to dogs, according to The Guardian.
The findings aren’t far off from what the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow found in a 2017 study — classical music interested dogs, but they often become bored of the genre. Reggae and soft rock music reduced stress, barking habits and heart rates among our furry friends, the research found.
Similarly, a January 2023 study found dogs feel calmer after classical music, too, as their breathing slowed and they were less likely to pace around after hearing it. But heavy metal — with its slashing guitar vibrations and grungy lyrics — doesn’t do the same. In fact, other research suggests that short notes played in quick succession (like you might hear in metal or rap songs) inspired dogs to move more, whereas softer tones made dogs fall asleep.
At the end of the day, dogs will adjust to your interests and listening habits, experts said. Your favorite song becomes normal for your pup when it’s played over and over again.
“They feed off us and respond to us,” said Kristi Flynn, assistant professor for the University of Minnesota’s department of veterinary clinical sciences. “If we’re just comfortable and listening to the music we like, where life is good and everybody’s happy, then they’re happy and comfortable as well.”
That’s because dogs try to reflect human behavior and mimic a person’s emotions, said Jennifer Skiff, the director of the international programs for the anti-animal cruelty group Animal Wellness Action who produced a CD for dogs called, “The Divinity of Dogs: Music to Calm Dogs and the People Who Love Them.”
So there’s potential for dogs and puppies everywhere to enjoy Drake’s new album (assuming, of course, that you do as well), Skiff said.
“If Drake comes out with something that is melodic and creates happiness, then it’s probably going to be happiness for everyone in the family,” she said. “If you’re jumping up and down and moving to the groove, the dog probably will too.”
POST AUTHOR: Herb Scribner