How Your Dog Really Responds to TV

dog laying down watching intently
Image by jacqueline macou 

On the face of it, a recently launched TV channel dedicated to dogs seems, well, barking mad. But our pets often spend long periods of time home alone, and providing some form of enrichment and stimulation can be very beneficial to dogs and their owners alike.

During the pandemic, many dogs enjoyed having their owners around more often than normal due to the public health restrictions. But the gradual return to the workplace, along with increasingly busy social calendars, has meant that our dogs are once again spending more time in their own company.

Some of our canine friends – particularly those dogs who have only known life with their owners since the pandemic began – are now experiencing some difficulties adapting to this new lifestyle. So, any tool which can provide stimulation and entertainment can be helpful to minimise their distress and keep them happy and healthy.

Canine separation anxiety is real

Some dogs relish their time alone. It gives them a chance to grab some valuable resting and relaxation time – indeed, dogs can benefit from up to 16 hours of sleep per day.

Sadly, other dogs find being left alone rather more worrying, which can lead to some problematic separation-related behaviours.

Excessive barking or howling, reactivity to external sounds and movement, or even destructive behaviour are commonly reported.

While these are upsetting and sometimes inconvenient for us, often causing expense and occasionally difficult relationships with neighbours, they are also clear signs of emotional distress in our dogs.

How to help dogs relax when home alone

In combination with supportive training, there are a number of recommended ways to make alone time a little easier for our dogs. These include using interactive feeding toys, creating quiet, safe spaces for them, as well as going for a walk with your dog before you go out.

Another common method is to leave on the radio or TV for your dog when they are alone, to minimise disturbances from outside. My own dogs often spend their days listening to classical music, which has been shown to reduce stress in kennelled dogs.

Do dogs relate to TV visuals?

It is widely acknowledged that dogs do not watch TV in the same way as we do – a box-set binge means sofa time with their favourite person rather than catching up on the latest hit drama. But our dogs will probably be aware that we settle down and relax when the TV is on, so that association might be useful in encouraging them to be calm, even when we are not there.

Dogs do not see colour like us either – they see the world in more muted colours but can better detect contrast in dim light.

Movement on screen can be detected by dogs and there are plenty of reports of dogs watching and reacting to moving animals, cars or other objects on TV.

For breeds and types that are stimulated by chasing objects, movement on TV can create interest and perhaps even activity – you might want to be careful about what is around your TV though, just in case your dog’s interest becomes more animated.

A key question is whether dogs can recognise what they see on screen. Dogs can certainly respond to images, and use touch screen devices after training. But it is much more challenging to understand what they actually see.

Dogs do not seem to fully respond to their own reflection in a mirror meaning that we cannot really be sure if they recognise another dog on screen.

Scent is a significant sense for our dogs, especially in recognising each other, and this is clearly missing when a dog watches TV. But, perhaps by combining the sights and sounds of dogs and other animals, our dogs can still be interested and stimulated by a TV in a positive way.

Dogs are sensitive to sound

Dogs have very sensitive hearing. They are adept at orienting themselves to the origin of sounds. The typical head tilt of dogs when spoken to – or when they hear a particular type of sound – helps them to work out where the sound has come from.

Certain noises and frequencies will also either excite or soothe our dogs – my own spaniels react excitedly to the sound of pheasant calls common in TV period dramas.

Having a radio or TV on can give the impression of “normality” and a presence in the home, which can be reassuring. It can also be useful in training and desensitising dogs to the sound of unusual noises that might be frightening, or to disguise and drown out external noises that might disturb them.

Dogs who are physically and mentally stimulated tend to be happier, better behaved and have better relationships with us.

By making their world an interesting and enriching place, with opportunities to learn about the world and make positive associations with sights and sounds, we can help them relax and reduce any anxiety which life may bring.

TV, radio or training tools, in combination with other beneficial lifestyle choices such as exercise, diet, companionship and training, can go a long way towards having a happy and healthy dog.The Conversation

About The Author

Jacqueline Boyd, Senior Lecturer in Animal Science, Nottingham Trent University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


 

More Articles By This Author

You May Also Like

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

INNERSELF VOICES

happy woman 's face
How To Experience A Mystical State of Consciousness
by Ora Nadrich
Whatever it is we seek pleasure from, relying on external things to give us the high or a feeling…
a blurred clock expanding over a starry background
Horoscope Current Week: December 6 - 12, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
12 05 from rigidity to change 647528 complete
From Rigidity to Change
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
In order for things, or people, to change they need to be flexible. A willow tree bends in the wind…
man and dog in front of giant sequoia trees in California
The Art of Constant Wonder: Thank you, Life, for this day
by Pierre Pradervand
One of the greatest secrets of life is to know how to constantly marvel at existence and at the…
Photo: Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017.
Horoscope: Week of November 29 - December 5, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
young boy looking through binoculars
The Power of Five: Five Weeks, Five Months, Five Years
by Shelly Tygielski
At times, we have to let go of what is to make room for what will be. Of course, the very idea of…
man eating fast food
It's Not About the Food: Overeating, Addictions, and Emotions
by Jude Bijou
What if I told you a new diet called the "It's Not About the Food" is gaining popularity and…
woman dancing in the middle of an empty highway with a city skyline in the background
Having the Courage to Be True to Ourselves
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Each one of us is a unique individual, and thus it seems to follow that each one of us has a…
You Are A Light Worker: Owning Your Personal Power
You Are A Light Worker: Owning Your Personal Power
by Lee Harris
This planet needs as many of you as possible to create the consciousness shift now occurring. And…
Judging By Appearances: The Alcoholic Saint
Judging By Appearances: The Alcoholic Saint
by Alan Cohen
A fellow set out to find a particular saint who lived in a remote village. The shopkeeper told him…
I Am a COVID-19 Survivor
I Am a COVID-19 Survivor
by Joyce Vissell
After being so careful for nine months, my husband Barry mysteriously contracted the Covid-19…

Selected for InnerSelf Magazine

MOST READ

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
by Tracy Marks
Astrology is a powerful art, capable of enhancing our lives by enabling us to understand our own…
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
If you're waiting for a change and frustrated it's not happening, maybe it would be beneficial to…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…
Taking A Step Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
Stepping Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
by John Ptacek
We spend our lives immersed in a flood of thoughts, unaware that another dimension of consciousness…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.