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Reference Desk June 2012

Study Suggests Canines Prefer Dog Related Segments Over Human TV Programs

    BOSTON, Massachusetts—Preliminary research by noted veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman, DVM, and his team indicates that dogs left home alone prefer canine-oriented TV over other human programming. The study is the first of its kind to investigate the type of TV programming dogs prefer.

    dog watching TV

    Dogs suffer from separation anxiety, even depression, when home alone, notes Dodman. To address this angst, 61% of dog owners in the US heed the recommendation from the Humane Society of the United States to keep a radio or television on in the house, to give their dog the opportunity to have visual and auditory stimulation. Now, recent findings demonstrate that dogs not only enjoy TV, but have a preference for content created specifically for canines.

    The study exposed dogs to several controlled scenarios: human TV channels such as CNN and Animal Planet, DOGTV, or no television. Web cameras monitored the dogs’ behavior in their own homes and captured viewing time and preferences. The results concluded that 89% of dogs showed a preference for DOGTV over no TV; an average of 75% of dog viewers watched at least one segment of DOGTV longer than human TV channels. "The dogs clearly showed an interest in watching a television channel for dogs,” Dodman stated.

    Does this mean dogs are expected to become couch potatoes?

    Results revealed that a dog’s average viewing time is limited to about 12% to 13% of the time spent home alone.

    "This is a ground-breaking first step toward addressing the issue of canine separation anxiety," said Dodman. "Although preliminary, this study suggests the benefits of background TV and dogs' unique preferences. Ongoing research will continue to measure the effects of DOGTV for dogs' physical and behavioral well-being.”

    DOGTV launched in the test market of San Diego in February as an on-demand channel. Due to its success, the television channel for dogs is expected to debut in major U.S. cities this fall. For more information, visit www.dogtv.com.

    Source: DOGTV

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