Is my dog watching TV? Many of us have seen our dogs stare at the TV, apparently watching it. Some dogs will bark or even jump at the television, clearly reacting to what they are seeing. But what exactly are they seeing and is it good for them – should I leave the TV on for my dog? Ron Levi, founder of DOGTV, answers your questions about dogs watching TV.
What do dogs see when they watch TV?
Dogs have dichromatic vision, meaning they see shades of blue, yellow and gray only. While they can see images on the TV screen, they cannot comprehend them like humans do. They may be able to recognize familiar people, animals or objects on the screen, but they are not able to understand the meaning or context of the images in the same way we can, explains Ron.
Can dogs recognize other dogs on TV?
Yes, says Ron. Dogs can recognize other dogs on TV by their appearance and body language.
Why do some dogs watch TV and others don’t?
Some dogs are more attracted to the sounds and movement on TV more than others. Dogs who are attracted to TV are either curious, social or reactive. Ron explains that a dog’s breed, age, personality and past experiences play a role in whether they are interested in watching TV. For example, a herding dog may react to quick movement on the screen, while an older dog with less energy may ignore it.
Should I leave the TV on for my dog to watch?
Dogs may find the presence of the TV comforting when their owners are not at home, shares Ron. He explains that the sounds and movement can be comforting to some dogs, but not all. If your dog reacts to the TV – barks or jumps at it – they may be calmer without the TV when you are away. If you do decide to leave your TV on for your dog, do not have the volume too loud.
What do dogs like to watch on TV?
Choose programming that is appropriate for your dog and will not cause him to become distressed or agitated. Ron says programs that are a good choice feature:
- familiar people
- familiar objects
- a lot of movement, such as moving balls or action (for some dogs only)
The programs on DOGTV were created for dogs and feature short clips and educational programs with animals, familiar sights and sounds, Ron adds.
While they can’t understand the plot, your dog might still enjoy some TV time, as long as he stays calm. If you are unsure whether the TV is good for your dog, check with a professional dog trainer or canine behaviorist prior to leaving the TV on for your dog.
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