A brand-new television network – specifically designed for dogs – has begun to take the pet world by storm. DogTV has already become a global hit with over 20 million dog owners across 13 countries subscribing to the new 24-hour dog-friendly coverage, as its creators continue to promote its potential to reduce stress and separation anxiety.
The canine channel promises to help with a dog’s psychological state although some experts are sceptical of its claims and say hands on doggie ‘daycare’ centres are a much better solution for dog owners who are anxious about their pet’s welfare when they aren’t there.
Founded in 2009 by Ron Levi and Guy Martinovsky, DogTV originates from San Francisco, California and was initially launched in the US in 2012. In the past 5 years, the service has developed into its very own TV station and has subsequently become a worldwide success.
Through endless research surrounding vision and hearing in dogs, DogTV has been able to create a variety of programmes that aim to support your canine’s natural behaviour patterns. The stations creators have said their shows are scientifically developed to provide exactly the right company for pet pooches when they are left alone. Each show features a 3-6 minute segment designed to relax, stimulate and expose the dog to scenes of everyday life such as doorbells or the sound of vehicles.
Previous research has shown that dogs do in fact prefer watching other dogs, a claim supported by pet experts who were active in helping develop specialist content for the channel. Their primary argument is that it helps to prevent stress and anxiety for your pet; so much so that according to DogTV’s YouTube channel, the service is currently being used by an animal shelter in California to help keep the dogs calm.
However, not everyone is convinced of the so-called benefits to this form of TV-aided therapy. Speaking to CBS, veterinarian Dr Ian Kupkee had the following to say on the new technological venture, “Some dogs were bred to sit and be content with nothing, other dogs are high-drive working dogs that need a lot of stimulation.
“As an adjunctive form of entertainment, I don’t see why it would be harmful. The better solution would be a doggie-daycare type arrangement where they’re actually physically interacting with other dogs, around other people.”
Since the late 1960’s, scientists examining animal behaviour have developed a key understanding of the patterns involved in their natural behaviour, testing the effects of socialization and habituation on dogs. For more than three decades, major pet organizations including the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States and the American Humane Association have all recommended leaving some form of light entertainment on, as it helps stay at home pets feel less fearful by using exterior sounds to mask the noise from outdoors.
Of course, what dogs see and absorb through the screen is very different to that of humans. Dogs have dichromatic vision which means they only have two types of colour receptor cells, thus they only see colour within two spectrum's of light: blue and yellow. Subsequently, it is these two colours that the channel prioritises in its programming.
Dog’s eyes too are more sensitive to movement than that of humans, hence why vets suspect that an improved flicker rate – introduced by High-Definition television – has allowed dogs to better perceive footage shown on TV. To get the right footage, cameramen have to shoot the motion pictures from a lower and longer perspective. Then, during post-production, the editing team mute certain colours, alter sounds and add music specifically written for our four-legged friends!
As I mentioned previously, dogs prefer to watch other canines more than anything else although often it is sound that initially attracts dogs towards television and other devices. Sounds such as barking and whining, dog-friendly commands, praise and of course, the noise of a squeaking toy are all much more superior ways of enticing a dog’s attention.
To find out more about this all-dog programming channel, click here.
Images courtesy of DogTV.