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Review: Through A Dog's Ear - iCalmDog Music Player for Dogs

This little player has a big sound


Sophie and the iCalm music player / Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM

Sophie and the iCalm music player

Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM

I have been a fan of the Through A Dog's Ear (TADE) music series since 2008, when I interviewed founders Lisa Spector and Joshua Leeds. The classical piano music is very calming, both for my dogs and for me.

I have reviewed several TADE products over the years, including a project with dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, to help desensitize dogs to various noises (thunderstorms, fireworks, and city noises). All TADE products to date were CDs, with the exception of an introductory book with the first CD release.

The most recent addition to the product line is the iCalmDog music player. I have several mp3-playing devices, so I figured that this one was similar to the others in my collection. When Lisa Spector asked me if I would be interested in testing out the iCalmDog player, though, I said yes. Might as well give it a listen.

The Size

I had seen the photos. I knew it was small. Yet I still misjudged just how compact the iCalmDog player really is. (Or how bad my judgement of size might be.) I didn't study the photos, but guessed it was about the size of a small soup can. When the box arrived, I found that the iCalm fit into the palm of my hand, with room to spare.

The Specs

The iCalmDog arrives pre-loaded with 43 classical music tracks, which amounts to 4 hours of music that is ready to play immediately. The music is loaded on a micro-SD card and has a rechargeable lithium battery. The unit will play for 7-12 hours at a time.

The included cable allows for easy charging via computer or using a USB Power Adapter, like the one that comes with a smart phone or other mp3 device. The cable also has a jack that plugs into a computer, phone, or tablet to use the iCalmDog as an external speaker.

This player also has an FM radio and a USB port to play other music from a flash drive. (Note: the microSD plays first by default, so it must be ejected first for the flash drive to play.)

The Sound

Listening to several small portable players over the years, I admit that I was skeptical. Something so small could only produce a tinny, jangling sound, right? Not expecting much, I pushed the "play" button.

I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised at the deep richness of sound that came out of that little red "can." Really nice. Definitely beyond my current collection of players, with the benefit of being truly portable. Admittedly, my other players are older, and always require to be plugged in, which is limiting.

Using the iCalmDog

My dog Sophie is very afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms. To the point of needing more than just the iCalmDog (DAP, Thundershirt, and anti-anxiety medication all working together to maintain calm at peak of firework season), but the TADE music is a staple in our household. It is great ambient music and helps keep everyone calm during the loud noise times.

This year, the iCalmDog has been playing night and day. I never appreciated how the portability would come in handy, specifically for having music handy when an electrical outlet is not available for a standard player.

In Summary

  • I have been quite happy with ease of use, battery longevity, and sound quality of the iCalmDog player.
  • If you are new to TADE, this is an excellent way to get the music and have it ready to play immediately.
  • Many musical selections are freely available to sample from the TADE site. All musical selections are also available for download. (The iCalmDog already comes pre-loaded.)

Need to know:

  • The music that is pre-loaded on the iCalmDog is not new, it is previously released TADE selections.
  • The included cable does not come with a power adapter. Many people have one from another device, but if not, they are readily available from retailers such as Radio Shack and Walgreen's.

Disclaimer: The iCalmDog player was provided to me by the TADE publisher. I am not an affiliate of this vendor in any way.

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