When you first bring home man’s best friend you probably do everything in your power to make your poochy pal comfortable. He likely has his own bed, plenty of toys, and perhaps even a wardrobe of outfits for every occasion (from inclement weather to holiday parties). And of course, you provide for his every need with plenty of play time, grooming, and the best organic pet food on the market (no corn fillers or byproducts for this chowhound). But if you haven’t yet heard about the cable channel that could keep your pet company while you’re gone at work, with programming specifically geared towards the canine set, then your dog could be missing out on some much-needed entertainment.
I know what you’re thinking: dogs can’t perceive the picture on a television screen so why bother? In some cases you would be right in this assumption. Old-school tube televisions have a refresh rate of about 60 hertz (Hz), which means they are outside the range for dogs. As it turns out, the average pooch comprehends visual data at about 70-80 Hz, so when they look at a traditional television monitor all they see is the flickering of the frames, rather than the continuous motion that humans perceive. However, the growth in popularity of newer monitors, like the 100+ Hz LCD screens, means that dogs may now be able to see the action on TV just as well as their owners.
And now they actually have something worth watching (well, besides the Discovery Channel). DOGTV, out of San Diego, is a new cable channel (available for Cox and Time Warner customers) that will provide round-the-clock programming aimed at man’s best friend. According to CEO Gilad Neumann, this channel seeks to address a problem that many pet-owners face: the difficulty of leaving a dog at home for several hours each day while the breadwinner goes to work. Many dogs retaliate by chewing shoes and furniture or barking themselves hoarse (and disrupting the whole neighborhood in the process). With the distraction of DOGTV, however, they may quiet down and patiently wait for you.
The programming is fairly simple, featuring clips of dogs playing with balls or other toys, or alternately dogs taking naps. Some footage is meant to stimulate while some is meant to soothe, but either way the goal is to distract your dog from destructive pursuits. Is anyone else curious as to whether or not a dog’s-eye view out of a car window will make some pets yak on the carpet? In truth, it is fairly unlikely that any of this programming will have much effect on your pets. While cats may take some interest in the objects moving around on the monitor, dogs are far more likely to respond to the noise (which is why many pet owners have successfully quieted excitable dogs by leaving a radio on during the day).
In any case, this could be just one more tool in your arsenal if you happen to have a pet that gets stressed out when you leave. But don’t think you have to compare broadband prices and beef up your cable package in order to obtain this novelty. The truth is dogs are not likely to watch TV all day anyway; most of them just sleep while you’re gone. So before you shell out big bucks to pipe this station into your home, see how your dog does with a stereo on. It’s likely the sound he craves more than the dog-inspired content.