TV For Dogs

Modern Dog - - THE SCOOP -

What vis­ual, emo­tional, and au­di­tory con­tent do dogs find ap­peal­ing?

Dogs love see­ing other dogs and other an­i­mals on screen. We learned that from an Ox­ford Univer­sity study and from our sev­en­plus years ex­pe­ri­ence with this chan­nel. We film lots of dogs run­ning around, play­ing, fetch­ing, swim­ming, sniff­ing, and hav­ing a good time. As dogs are very sen­si­tive to mo­tion, we love show­ing dogs rapidly mov­ing ob­jects and an­i­ma­tions on the chan­nel, as well as kids play­ing and adults run­ning with their dogs. DOGTV’s sound­track in­cludes a rich sound de­sign—so the home alone dog can iden­tify and taste the out­side world al­though he’s at home—as well as pos­i­tive af­fir­ma­tions (kids say­ing “good dog,” “don’t be afraid,” and more), as well as sound fre­quen­cies (heal­ing tones to re­lax dogs) and re­lax­ing mu­sic—psy­choa­cous­tic mu­sic to help dogs feel more calm and re­laxed. In our study, 72 per­cent of dogs felt very sleepy and re­laxed by this sooth­ing mu­sic.

How did you de­ter­mine what con­tent dogs like? Did you have a test group of dogs to gauge their response?

After we stud­ied dogs for three years (2009-2012), we cre­ated the first con­tent and tested it on dogs. We wanted to see what they re­act to the most, what they en­joy the most. It wasn't enough for us to learn from oth­ers' work. With top pet ex­perts on board, like Pro­fes­sor Nicholas Dod­man, we wanted to do our own re­search and learn from our own ob­ser­va­tions. Thus, Pro­fes­sor Dod­man and his team at Tufts Univer­sity have con­ducted large-scale re­search in which 38 dogs were mon­i­tored in apart­ments in L.A. and New York for six hours, home alone and filmed by five se­cu­rity cam­eras, with DOGTV on as well as other chan­nels like CNN, An­i­mal Planet, and no TV. We learned a lot from this re­search and ob­ser­va­tion. Dogs re­act most to con­tent that was de­signed for them: dogs do re­lax with the right mu­sic, sounds, and vi­su­als; dogs don't en­joy cats, loud noises, bark­ing sounds, and so on. We’re still learn­ing a lot from view­ing thou­sands of videos of dogs watch­ing DOGTV on YouTube and Instagram—it’s great to learn what dogs re­act to the most!

Do all dogs en­joy DOGTV?

From our study we now know that dogs show much more in­ter­est in DOGTV than in reg­u­lar TV. Hav­ing said that, not all dogs are the same, and not all dogs re­act the same to vis­ual con­tent on TV. We saw some dogs who weren’t too happy with see­ing other dogs in “their house” on TV, and thus we do not rec­om­mend DOGTV to dogs who will bark all day or get ir­ri­tated by the chan­nel. The ma­jor­ity of dogs we saw, how­ever, were happy and more re­laxed by the chan­nel.

What is the “Noise Pho­bia” pro­gram?

Many dogs suf­fer from var­i­ous anx­i­eties from dif­fer­ent kinds of stim­uli. Dogs can get ter­ri­fied by an am­bu­lance pass­ing by, or con­struc­tion works, or a vac­uum cleaner. Our Noise Pho­bia pro­grams are a great op­por­tu­nity for a dog to get ex­posed to these sounds but in a pos­i­tive and safe way, with soft mu­sic, pos­i­tive af­fir­ma­tions (“Don’t worry, dog, it’s just a vac­uum cleaner.”), and re­lax­ing sounds. We be­lieve that a dog who is ex­posed to these sounds in a pos­i­tive way will learn to be less stressed and more con­fi­dent over time (as shown in a study on sound and dogs from Bris­tol Univer­sity). Also, DOGTV’s sound and mu­sic can mask the out­side noises for the dog, which is an­other ad­van­tage of leav­ing on TV or ra­dio.

How long do most dogs stay in­ter­ested for? How long is the av­er­age pro­gram?

Dogs have a very short at­ten­tion span, which is why DOGTV’s pro­grams are two to five min­utes long. [A se­ries of videos within a cat­e­gory, say Re­lax­ation, play for an hour be­fore switch­ing to a new cat­e­gory type.] We’re try­ing to cre­ate the best tool to en­rich their en­vi­ron­ment when home alone, so a dog can pos­i­tively ben­e­fit from DOGTV even if he’s pas­sively watch­ing or lis­ten­ing to the sound. We're also hear­ing feed­back from peo­ple who sub­scribed for them­selves or for their cats. One even sub­scribed for her par­rot to watch!

Any­thing you’d like to add?

We're work­ing hard to of­fer DOGTV to ev­ery home-alone dog around the globe. Even if we're not yet avail­able with your ca­ble provider, you can al­ways check us out on­line at dogtv.com or on your favourite con­nected de­vice with DOGTV Any­where. Just en­ter code "Modern­dog" for a free month!

DOGTV is cur­rently avail­able on DIRECTV, RCN, Ap­ple TV, Chrome­cast, Ama­zon FireTV, Roku, and as an iOS and An­droid app. And dogs who live in a Com­cast house­hold are in luck–DOGTV re­cently launched their first-ever video-on-de­mand (VOD) chan­nel with Xfin­ity by Com­cast. Xfin­ity TV cus­tomers can subscribe to the DOGTV VOD chan­nel for $4.99 per month and have ac­cess to 24-hour, pup-ap­proved tele­vi­sion for stay-at-home dogs.

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