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Do Dogs Really Watch TV?

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Your dog may appear to be glued to the television screen or following the footage on your tablet but are they really watching it?

Dogs certainly adopt different behaviour when they seem to be watching the television. They move about a lot more than people do and will approach the screen to take a closer look. What they see is different too as their vision is dichromatic which means that they cannot distinguish between green and red. They are also much less sensitive to changes in brightness. They are, however, more sensitive to movement and so the latest TVs, which feature improved flicker rates, make viewing easier for dogs.

Recent research has demonstrated that they can and do watch television.

What Does Your Dog See?

A study at the University of Central Lancashire has explored what dogs really see on the screen. Researchers tracked dogs’ vision and discovered that canines show a preference for watching other canines. No real surprise there then!

Further Research

Studies have also been conducted to establish whether dogs will choose what to watch if they are presented with such a choice. Dogs were placed in front of three screens but the tests showed that they are unable to make a decision and prefer to stick to a single screen regardless of what is on it.

Studies have also revealed that it is sounds which initially draw a dog’s attention to the television. The most appealing sounds have been shown to be dogs barking, people voicing dog friendly commands, people praising dogs and squeaky toys.

It has yet to be stablished whether or not dogs actually enjoy watching the television. This may not appear to a matter of any great importance but it could have implications for canine care. Dogs which are confined to kennels can easily become bored or stressed and so television does offer the potential for providing entertainment for these animals.

Canine Television

Clearly some people see potential in television for dogs because there is now a canine TV channel in the USA. It is called DogTV and is available via subscription. Programmes have been evolved to keep dogs entertained, stimulated and relaxed when their owners are out of the house. The channel was launched in 2012. For DogTV programming, cameramen shoot footage on their knees to create a dog’s eye view of the world. The colours which dogs can see are prioritised in the programmes to maximise their appeal.

Dogs have short attention spans and also tend to engage in short interactions with television screens. They will glance at the action and then turn away to focus on something else. So lots of short snippets work better than films with long narratives. No matter what is on the screen, dogs will spend a great deal of time watching nothing at all!

Creating Videos for Your Dog

So if you fancy making some videos to entertain your dog then they should feature lots of short segments. They must have plenty of dogs in them together with people shouting dog commands. Throw in a few squeaky toys and lots of blue and yellow rather than red and green and you have the winning formula.


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