Dog Ownership and Drumming

cathartic_j

Senior Member
Hi All,

My partner and I are considering getting a dog, but I'm concerned about making sure that I can happily continue to practice on a regular basis without damaging the dog's hearing. I'm certain that there are dog-owners on this forum, but I couldn't find any threads related to the issue. (Plenty of human hearing loss-prevention threads, but that's mostly a matter of common sense.)

Since we don't have any serious sound-absorbing materials built into the house, I feel pretty strongly that the dog would need to be outside while I'm playing -- but unfortunately, we don't have a fence. (Our place is about 1800 square feet, but it's single-story with lots of reflective surfaces, and the only area to accommodate my kit is almost smack-dab in the middle of the place.) We did find a product named Mutt Muffs, which claims a 25-28 db reduction. Might this be enough if the dog is in another room with the door closed? The only other option I'm coming up with is to have someone take the dog for a long walk every time I want to practice. (Adding "sound-proofing" materials may be a long-term solution, but won't work in the short term for cost and legal reasons.)

I know that "safe" sound levels obviously depend greatly on the specific acoustic environment, but I'm hoping this kind and thoughtful community can provide me some feedback based on the above info and maybe even come up with some other creative solutions that I might have missed. I'm certain that there are happy dogs out there whose owners love to drum...

Thanks!
 

keepitgreen

Senior Member
You don't need a fence to keep the dog outside. Either a very long lead attached to a tree or post, or a leash attached to a clothesline works brilliantly. Just make sure your pooch has plenty of shade, fresh water, and a chew toy of some kind and he/she will be plenty content for the hour or two that you're practicing.
 

B-squared

Silver Member
I don't know if you could install a dog run, but if you can, it's another option. I have 3 dogs and only one of them really hates the drums. The others don't seem to care, and their hearing is fine according to the vet. The problem in my house, is that my cats like to crawl in the bass drum port and hide in my bass drum.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
My three dogs have not yet been exposed to drumming, but they have no problems dealing with long fireworks displays. The squealing and large bangs don't bother them at all. If you can put your dogs outside they should be fine.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
There are always ways to accommodate, and I think that putting the dog outside with a toy would probably do the trick.

In all seriousness, could you consider getting a deaf dog? Dalmatians are often deaf, and they're great dogs.

We have an elderly gun-shy Labrador. He used to hide behind the kitchen cupboards (which were attached to the wall) whenever there was a thunderstorm. He happily adorns the rug in the same room as me while I practise, these days.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
Our Lhasa Apsos would much rather have a more quieter environment than my drum room. If she is downstairs with me, she quickly makes her way to the door leading to the upstairs. She also has terror attacks durning lightning storms and fireworks displays. Dogs ears are very sensitive to a much greater frequency range than humans are, I do not submit "Tiffanys" ears to any long lasting loud environments.A pet becomes a very important part of the family, so I try to keep them as comfortable as possible.

Dennis
 

Beam Me Up Scotty

Silver Member
Some animals will hate the drums, and some won't care. I know my dog and cat both hate being in the same room as my kit while I play, but neither of them freak out if they're in a different part of the house.

In fact, they frequently sleep while I play, so I guess it all comes down to each individual animal.
 

lowdowner

Senior Member
My dogs (8 year old labrador and 5 year old border terrier) can come and go in and out of the house as they please. When I practice, the labrador often comes and lies on my feet (making bass drum pedal playing difficult). He seems to like it.

I'd say give them the choice and see what happens.... mine seem fine with it :)
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I have a 2 year old Chihuahua mix who is not at all afraid of the drums. He like to come over to the kit while i'm playing and lay down. I'm worried that the noise will damage his hearing so I just put him in the bedroom while we practice. I can't leave him outside in this heat. Poor guy would melt.
 

nightraider43

Senior Member
I'm glad someone started this thread. I have a 8 yr old yorkie (fiancee's) and just rescued a 6 week old puppy today. Unfortunately I live in the country so leaving the dogs outside isn't an option due to all the coyotes. So I'm interested in this thread. I haven't received my kit yet that's on order but my guitar gear which included a 100W Marshall half stack was where my drums will be. I have double doors between living room (future drum home) and dining room. I close those doors and put dog in bedroom and close door. Turn on tv and fiancee says she can here me but not bad at all. Besides....she's says she'd rather hear the tv ; )
 

opentune

Platinum Member
my dog goes into another room, or upstairs or whatever. they slowly get used to it and find their way.
 

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
I don't want to come across as one of those use-the-search-function fascists, but I remember a few threads about dogs' reactions to drumming:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91499&highlight=dogs

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=104481&highlight=dogs

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108155

I was surprised when a search for "dog" came up with nothing, but a search for "dogs" yielded quite a few results - what's that about? Either way, there are some interesting perspectives in these threads . . . the last one was the first time someone told me about Mutt Muffs.

For the record, I play upstairs in my semi-detached house with no sound proofing and my dog will typically sleep downstairs while I'm playing without any hearing protection. That said, my dog could sleep through a tornado.
 
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xsarith

Senior Member
I have 3 dogs, an 8 year old king Charles cavalier, a 10 month old Jack Russell and a 10 month old Husky/Alsatian cross. My king Charles was only exposed to drumming at 5 years but she never was scared of loud noises such as fireworks and stuff. we got the other two at the same time (they're the same age even though they completely different families.) and I refrained from drumming till there were old enough to understand it and get used to the drumming from an early age rather then being shocked into it.

I tried to ease them into it by having them in another room and playing for only a few minutes a day then gradually increasing the length and letting them roam to the drums if they pleased. I do have concerns about the effect on there hearing so I dont lets them in the room anymore, and have now actually swapped out to an ekit (although for a few other reasons too).

Overall none of my dogs seem bothered about my drumming and the vet assures me there hearing is fine, not sure how testing doggy hearing works though.

Ps. Dogs love drum sticks, keep them off the dog shelf, aka Floor. Keep all your 'dead' ones for playing fetch in the park, my dogs love it.
 

Starship Krupa

Senior Member
Without knowing exactly how your place is laid out, I would suggest that any closed door between the kit and the pet would be enough attenuation not to damage their hearing.

Whether the dog will tolerate the noise is not a good gauge of whether it's damaging their hearing. Your dog usually wants to be wherever the fun is, and they are usually stoic about pain.

A friend of mine used to let his Norwegian Elkhound hang out in the same room with his rehearsing hardcore band and that dog, while she loved being around the band, was deaf as a 2x4 in her old age. She actually once had a slow-moving car run over her foot because she couldn't hear it to get out of the way.

I keep my dog on the other side of a door if I am playing loud. If I'm just practicing softly, I let her lay on the floor across the room. Since I'm still pretty new at it, I don't do a lot of fills and crashes anyway. If I start wanting to hit harder, I exile her to the living room.

It's hard on my feelings because she's excited to be around the commotion and activity, and usually starts participating by tearing up her rawhide chew. Breaks my heart to kick her out of the drum room, because she can't figure out why she's "being punished."

 

cathartic_j

Senior Member
Thanks (from me and my girlfriend) for all of the responses! There's too many thoughtful posts here for me to reply to all of them individually, but I did want to respond to a few comments...

You don't need a fence to keep the dog outside. Either a very long lead attached to a tree or post, or a leash attached to a clothesline works brilliantly. Just make sure your pooch has plenty of shade, fresh water, and a chew toy of some kind and he/she will be plenty content for the hour or two that you're practicing.
I had heard that tethering isn't necessarily the most humane practice, which is why I hadn't really given it a great deal of consideration. However, after reading about it a bit more, it seems like it's really the "all-day-every-day-while-people-are-away" situations that are really bad, and that an hour or so at a time isn't too much. It helps that we do have some nice big patio doors that I can use to keep an eye out while I'm playing. :)

I don't know if you could install a dog run, but if you can, it's another option. I have 3 dogs and only one of them really hates the drums. The others don't seem to care, and their hearing is fine according to the vet. The problem in my house, is that my cats like to crawl in the bass drum port and hide in my bass drum.
Thanks -- this is exactly why I started this thread! Building a larger chain-link run might work perfectly. Also, the revelation about your cat gave me the amusing mental image of your poor feline spazzing out from being woken by an unexpected tap of the pedal.

In all seriousness, could you consider getting a deaf dog? Dalmatians are often deaf, and they're great dogs.
That's a great idea that I probably never would have come up with ... there's actually a particular rescue animal that my girlfriend has her heart set on, but if that doesn't pan out, I'll definitely bring this up.

I don't want to come across as one of those use-the-search-function fascists, but I remember a few threads about dogs' reactions to drumming...
Sorry about that! My search was indeed for "dog," not "dogs"; I also searched for a few terms related to hearing loss/safety to see if there was anything related to non-human companions. In any case, thanks for the understanding attitude and the personal experience!
 
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