As many dog owners know quite well, your furry friends often love to curl up next to you when you’re watching TV. Whether you’re cheering on your favorite football team or checking out the latest sitcoms, dogs often come running when they realize the TV is on.
The notion that dogs truly enjoy watching television—and that they need something to keep them busy during the day—is the brainchild behind DOGTV. As the DOGTV website explains, the first-ever network designed just for pooches provides your four-legged best friends with 24/7 digital TV programs, which were scientifically developed with your dogs in mind. When you head off to work in the morning or when you are otherwise separated from your dogs, the idea is that DOGTV will help to keep your dogs company, which in turn may keep them happier and stress free when you are away.
The Possible Benefits
Many canine parents are understandably wondering if DOGTV is really something their dogs will enjoy. The channel costs $4.99 a month through DirecTV, or it can be streamed through a Roku box. As Evan MacLean, co-director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center notes, DOGTV may have some merit for dogs who spend a lot of time home by themselves.
Although older TVs are probably difficult for dogs to watch due to the way their eyes are constructed, the newer high definition models have better refresh rates, which may make it easier for your dogs to see the images that are on the screen.
Additionally, unlike shows you watch, DOGTV was created with dogs’ interests in mind. For instance, shows that are in the stimulation category include their fellow canines chasing Frisbees, and shows in the relaxation category include lovely landscapes and other calming images combined with classical music. Exposure programs are meant to help your dogs slowly get used to traditionally scary objects like the vacuum cleaner.
The Possible Disadvantages
While DOGTV is an interesting idea, it seems to be designed to make people feel better rather than actually impacting your dogs. Even though you may feel less guilty when you have to leave your precious pooches home alone for hours while you go off to work, leaving DOGTV running all day long may not be the answer. In most cases, dogs probably don’t want to watch television while you are away. Instead, they want to catch up on their sleep so they are rested and ready when you get home. Because of this, having a TV running in the background may annoy your dogs more than it will interest them.
Furthermore, dogs are not visual creatures like humans are, explains an article on Slate. They do not react to the TV just like they don’t react to your voice on the phone because they cannot smell anything, and thus don’t think it’s real.
So, while it may seem like your dogs like to watch television, chances are good they come running when they hear the NFL theme song because they know it means they can snuggle up with you for a few hours.