A survey conducted by the AKC shows that 87% of pet owner believe that their pets watch TV. But do they really? And if they do, are they seeing what we see?
Not quite. Because of the way a dog’s eye works, the TV screen shows them not one continuous scene the way people see it, but each individual frame flickering past. Also, because they see with an average of 20/75 vision and have poor depth perception, the images on TV would appear blurry to them. But they can see shapes and their movement across the screen, and that paired with the sound on TV can peak a dog’s interest quite considerably. Because of the way their ears work, however, they should be able to distinguish that the sound of a dog barking on TV is not the same as a real dog nearby.
But dogs, just like people, all have their own personality, so some do stubbornly refuse to believe that what they’re hearing isn’t real and will run around to the back of the TV to find out where that other dog went! Doorbells ringing on TV fool my dog, Pixie, every single time, sending her into a barking fit!
So, do dogs really get any enjoyment out of watching TV? The sights and the sounds may be soothing or stimulating to them; dogs with separation anxiety especially might benefit from the “company” of the TV when they are home alone. Maybe they perceive our enjoyment from it, and watch just to be near us. We won’t know for sure until the new phase of TV technology comes about: SMELL-O-VISION!
Article written by Jenny Smith