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Dogs watching DogTV DogTV is a new cable channel made just for dogs. (Randy M. Ury / Corbis Bridge / Alamy)

Canine Cable

Now TV can keep your dog entertained while you’re at school

Television has literally gone to the dogs! A new cable channel—DogTV—is just for pet pooches.

The shows are designed to keep dogs happy when they’re home alone. There are 80 million dogs in the country. But 15 to 17 percent of them have separation anxiety while their owners are away, says Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Dodman helped develop DogTV’s programming.

The shows on the network feature dogs that are napping, relaxing by a stream, swimming in a pool, and riding or driving around with their owners. To come up with the programming, Dodman and his research team identified colors, movements, and camera angles that match how dogs see, as well as music that they seem to like. The scientists also analyzed dogs’ moods and energy levels in deciding when to air particular shows. DogTV even has an educational component that teaches dogs hand signals and commands.

Many people already leave the TV or radio on for their pets, but most owners don’t realize that some shows and music can aggravate dogs, says Dodman. He says that regular TV keeps a dog’s attention for only 5 percent of the time. But when DogTV is on, dogs watch for 13 percent of the time. Dodman says those are just averages—a Maltese he studied watched for 80 percent of the time!

This article originally appeared in the November 19, 2012 issue of Math. For more from Math, click here.

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