TV For Dogs
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.