Can television really soothe my stressed dog?

By Jacqueline Boyd, The Conversation

On the face of it, a recently launched TV channel dedicated to dogs seems to be barking madly. But our pets often spend long periods of time at home alone, and providing some form of nourishment and stimulation can be very beneficial for dogs as well as their owners.

During a pandemic, many dogs prefer to have their owners around more often than usual due to public health restrictions. But a gradual return to work, coupled with increasingly hectic social schedules, means our dogs are once again spending more time in their company.

Some of our canine friends — especially those that have lived with their owners since the start of the pandemic — are currently having some difficulty adjusting to this new lifestyle. So any tool that can provide stimulation and entertainment can be helpful to minimize their suffering and keep them happy and healthy.

Some dogs enjoy alone time. It gives them a chance to get some precious rest and relaxation — indeed, dogs can benefit from up to 16 hours of sleep a day.

Dogtelevision / Wikimedia Commons

Sadly, other dogs find being left alone quite unsettling, which can lead to some separation-related problematic behavior.

Often reported as excessive barking or howling, responding to outside sounds and movements, or even destructive behavior.

While these are annoying and sometimes inconvenient, often costly, and sometimes difficult to have relationships with neighbors, they are also obvious signs of distress. emotions in our dogs.

Combined with supportive training, there are several recommended ways to make time alone a little easier for our dogs. These include using interactive feeding toys, creating a quiet, safe space for them, as well as walking the dog before you head out.

Another popular method is to let your dog watch radio or TV when they are alone, to minimize outside distractions. My dogs often spend their days listening to classical music, which has been shown to reduce stress in dogs in captivity.

It’s widely acknowledged that dogs don’t watch TV the same way we do – a debauchery means more time sitting on the sofa with their favorite person than watching a TV series. Latest celebrity pictures. But our dogs will probably be aware that we’re steady and relaxed when the TV is on, so that association can be helpful in encouraging them to stay calm, even when we’re not. face there.

Dogs also don’t see color like we do — they see the world in more colors but can detect contrast better in dim light.

Dogs can detect motion on the screen, and there are numerous reports of dogs watching and reacting to moving animals, cars, or other objects on TV.


For breeds and types stimulated by chasing objects, movement on TV can create excitement and possibly even activity; You may want to be careful about what’s around your TV, just in case your dog becomes more animated.

An important question is whether dogs can recognize what they see on the screen. Dogs can certainly respond to images and use of touchscreen devices after training. But it’s much harder to understand what they’re actually seeing.

Dogs don’t seem to react completely to their reflection in the mirror, meaning we can’t really be sure if they’ll recognize another dog on the screen.

Scent is an important meaning for our dogs, especially in recognizing each other, and this is clearly missing when a dog watches TV. But, perhaps by incorporating the sights and sounds of dogs and other animals, our dogs can still be positively interested and stimulated by TV.

Dogs have very sensitive hearing. They are very good at locating the source of the sound. The typical head tilt of dogs when spoken to – or when they hear a particular type of sound – helps them figure out where the sound is coming from.

Certain noises and frequencies will also stimulate or calm our dog; My own reacts enthusiastically to the sound of pheasants commonly heard in soap operas.

Turning on the radio or TV can give the impression of “normality” and presence in your home, which can give you peace of mind. It can also be useful in training and desensitizing dogs to the sound of unusual noises that may be frightening, or to camouflage and drown out external noises that may disturb them.

Dogs that are physically and mentally stimulated tend to be happier, better behaved, and have better relationships with us.

By making their world an exciting and enriching place, with opportunities to learn about the world and actively engage with sights and sounds, we can help them relax. and relieve any anxiety that life may bring.

TV, radio or training tools, combined with other beneficial lifestyle choices like exercise, diet, companionship and training, can help you have a happy and healthy dog.

Jacqueline Boyd is a senior lecturer in animal science at Nottingham Trent University Can television really soothe my stressed dog?


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