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Do dogs really watch TV, and do they enjoy it?

Animals Dogs
Have you noticed your pet dog watching television, computer screens and tablets? Has your dog ever barked at other animals on TV? Are you left wondering what is actually going on in their head? Is it possible they love The Bachelor just as much as you do?

Many of us will even go as far too leave a radio or TV on when we leave the house to keep our dog company, hoping that the sound is comforting to our pets.

It is fairly common for dogs to react when they see a dog or hear a bark on the television. A study published in the journal Animal Cognition in 2013 found that dogs could identify images of other dogs among pictures of humans and other animals, using their visual sense alone.  

A similar article released by National Geographic states that the dogs can perceive images on television alike to the way we do. That they are intelligent enough to recognize onscreen images of animals as they would in real life and to recognize TV dog sounds, like barking. However, how dogs watch TV is quite different to the way we do. 

You might find that they will want to get closer to the screen, or walk around. Similarly what they see is different, due to dogs having dichromatic vision. This means they have two types of colour receptor cells and see colour within two spectrums of light: blue and yellow. 

Did you know that there is a channel especially for dogs on HDTV called DogTV? DogTV features scientifically designed content by leading pet experts that aims to soothe your dog’s anxieties and gradually train them to be more tolerant of upsetting sounds and situations (pet MD, 2017). 

The channel has more frames per second than regular television and is specifically coloured for a dog’s specific sight. 

According to The Conversation Media Group, “While science has shown that dogs can engage with television and that they prefer certain programmes, it has yet to delve into the complex question of whether they actually enjoy it”. So unless there are dogs on The Bachelor, your pet dog may be less interested then you think!

Check out this YouTube video of a German shepherd that barks only when another dog appears on the TV, totally ignoring those boring humans! 

Tahlia McFarlane
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