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May 4, 2012 at 9:47 AMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Dog TV - the cure for separation anxiety?

By Bri Luginbill More Blogs by This Author

Welcome to The Kibble!
This week we explore the first ever TV channel developed to entertain our dogs while we are away. Supposedly, when they watch this channel, they won’t be worrying about when we’ll be back.

Many canines suffer from separation anxiety, depression and even boredom when left alone at home. This can cause them to “act out” through destructive behaviors, such as tearing up of furniture or going to the bathroom inside. They may also pace back and forth while the owner is away or even vomit. Dogs shouldn’t have to feel this way or experience these symptoms and that’s why some people decided to invent – Dog TV.

Dog TV acts like a babysitter, except you don’t have to pay them!  (Ok, I guess if you count the cable bill, you do ;) ) This channel streams video of what every pup loves - grassy fields, bouncing balls, and even video of a person rubbing a dog’s stomach. Each segment lasts three-to-six minutes, which helps keep the dog’s attention.

The creators believe that these images will help soothe your furry friend’s anxieties,“For dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, DogTV is a tool that might help ease them, so maybe they’re not getting into trouble, and they’re happier, more relaxed, when you get home.” –Bonnie Viera, spokeswoman for Dog TV.


But does staring at a television screen really keep their attention?

According to Dr. Stanely Coren, it may not. Coren, a psychology professor at University of Colombia, believes that dogs care more about the motion of the video than what the video is about. He developed a series of dvds for canines called The Dog companion. “Dogs have terrific motion sensitivity. For many dogs, that’s a turn-off. It doesn’t look real to them.”

Some skeptics think that Dog TV doesn’t work. It’s just something to help make us, as owners, feel better about leaving our pets alone.
“I think a lot of this is to make us feel better as opposed to making the pet happier,” said Dr. Ann E. Hohenhaus, a staff veterinarian for the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan. “Your pet needs adequate exercise and an interesting environment. You cannot just put on the TV and hope your dog is going to get better.”

Dr. Ann is right one. We shouldn't substitute TV for exercise. No matter what, dogs NEED to be active and depending on the breed the amount of exercise will vary. I see nothing wrong with using Dog TV to try and distract your dog during a long day on their own. In theory, Dog TV could work. You would need the video to be showing constant motion while changing the scenery often.

I’m sure if the same segments of film would be looped over and over again, our dogs would figure out pretty fast that it wasn’t real and get bored. No one likes re-runs 7 times in a row, so why would our dogs? The cost is very low. At only $4.99 per month too, what's the harm in trying it out? If it doesn't work for, you only invested $5. I'd be willing to give a try.

Would you purchase Dog TV for your pet?

Sources: http://ranchobernardo.patch.com/articles/dogtv-may-be-the-cure-for-separation-anxiety
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/should-your-dog-be-watching-tv/
http://jezebel.com/5905293/if-you-love-your-dog-youll-let-it-watch-tv-all-day

Photo Credit: dumbledad

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3 Comments

  • Sounds interesting. I hope people won't use it as a substitute for getting their dogs real exercise. I've heard of dogs who were happier with the radio or TV on before, so it doesn't seem too nuts to me. Wondering, though, if my dog would destroy the house/TV trying to get the ball? Or would it make him more anxious when he could actually chase the squirrel?

  • that's a good point, Seth. hmmm, my parent's have a dog that nudges their television when he sees movement on the screen, so I bet it's possible. Also, that dog will attack the screen when my dad's favorite football team makes a touchdown. Kind of funny.

  • I will save my $5 and do what I always do, turn on Animal Planet when I leave the house. I know my dog's don't watch the TV, but I do feel that it helps relax them. I feel as a trainer, that the reason dogs feel more relaxed when the TV/radio are left on is because they associate the noise to when we are there. So to them it is a positive association that comforts them.

    So save your $5 and look for a animal channel that you most likely already have through your cable company.

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