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Dog Television: Pros and Cons

As I work from home today, sick, my dogs are begging for attention. Freyja, the bigger dog, is bringing me toys and howling at me. Every time I get up to get water or blow my nose, she leaps off the ground in excitement, hoping that this is the moment I take her outside to play.

It isn’t.  

I’m sick and I have work to do, mostly write this article.

So after looking at our analytics, sending out emails, and scheduling social media posts, I sit down at my desk for a brainstorming session. How can I simultaneously work and keep my dogs occupied?

Then, it hit me—Freyja’s favorite toy that is. What was once a big stuffed “indestructible” crab is now just shreds of blue and yellow fabric. I remember having to clean up the mess she made when she originally put that indestructible label to the test. There was stuffing everywhere. She loves that toy, so it was hard to keep her attention off it to clean up, but I had a method. A method I have used multiple times before. Two simple words: Dog TV.

So, just like I have before I booted up YouTube on my PlayStation 4 and searched for Dog TV. There’s plenty of results, and after some trials, I found the ones that my dogs prefer.

Unfortunately, this time I couldn’t find their preferred channel. But I remembered that while I was browsing Amazon Prime’s selection looking for a movie to watch over the weekend, there was a title called “Doggy TV: Reality TV For Dogs”. So I tried that. Thor, the small 15lb ball of grump, didn’t really care and just went to sleep. But Freyja was entranced.

From my perspective, all I saw was some strangely framed and overly zoomed-in footage of dogs chasing tennis balls and swimming in pools. But this wasn’t for me—well, it kind of was in the sense that it’s keeping Freyja from sticking her head in my lap while I’m trying to type.

Freyja was desperately trying to find the dogs for the first twenty minutes of the video. After that, she settled down and just laid in front of the TV and watched the screen intently.

Like I said, this isn’t the first or the last dog-centric show to hit the TV. During the Christmas holiday, Hulu put out a special that was entertaining for both humans and dogs titled “Puppies Crash Christmas”. It is exactly how it sounds. The filmmakers placed a bunch of puppies in a room that was decked out with Christmas decorations and let them do what puppies do best: destroy. 

 “Puppies Crash Christmas” was a great thing to have on while I took down the Christmas decorations around my home. It kept Freyja and Thor occupied, and I even stopped to watch it myself a few times.

Now that you know about some of the options out there—and a little bit about my personal life—let’s talk about the benefits watching TV can have for your dog.

Benefits

Dog-centric television offers a large variety of benefits for canines and their owners. If you feel bad leaving your dog at home alone for extended periods of time, it could be used to keep your pup’s mind stimulated. Dogs, like people, require mental and physical stimulation to be happy. If your dog jumps on you and seems overly energetic when you come home, you might want to give dog television a try. The mental stimulation that the programming provides could take away some of that excess energy.

Even further than mental stimulation, some programming maybe be able to help your dog with overcoming certain agitations, like a loud vacuum cleaner or door bell ringing. These programs focus on getting dogs acquainted with these stimuli, which in turn lets them see that such noises are no big deal.

If you’ve got a pup that has separation anxiety, dog programming could also be of service to you. The constant stimulation gives your pup something to focus on instead of worrying about where you are and when you will come back.

As previously mentioned, dog television could be a good method to keep your best friend occupied while you work from home, clean up the house, or cook. This method could be extremely useful if you have a dog that likes to be all up in your business.

 

Downsides

Well, to start with, your TV will likely be on for much longer than usual. Luckily, TVs are very efficient nowadays, and their use shouldn’t run up your electric bill that much.

Other problems arise because dogs use their sense of smell much more than sight. Since their main sense is smell, TV cannot provide a nose workout for your pup—not yet at least.

On top of these problems, you may want to observe your dogs during these programs to make sure they behave themselves. Different stimuli can make your dog react in strange ways. You should take precautions and let your dog watch under your supervision to monitor their behavior so that if the program has a squirrel on it your dog doesn’t attack the TV.

 

Dogs being able to watch television is a relatively new thing for them. Older TVs had slower refresh rates and dogs only saw choppy images on a screen, like something akin to one of those Viewmaster slideshow toys. But, since television is now all digital, the refresh rate has gone up significantly, and now dogs have the ability to see what’s happening onscreen.

 

In the end, it’s best for you to try this out for yourself. Let us know if you let your dog watch TV while you are away and how they do with it. Good luck!


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