Expert reveals what your dog is thinking in front of the TV – and whether he recognizes other puppies


Animal behaviorist Carolyn Menteith explains how dogs see television differently than humans, and whether they can recognize other animals on the screen

dog watching tv
Dogs tend to be less fond of watching TV than we are

Our dogs love to follow us throughout the day so they are often lounging on the sofa in front of the TV.

You may have noticed your pet cock its head and bark at 101 Dalmatians, or seen its tail wag when a dancing dog appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.

To help us understand why they do this, canine behaviorist Carolyn Menteith of tails.comshares everything you need to know about your dog and the TV – including whether he recognizes other puppies.

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Dogs are much better at sensing movement than humans


(Getty Images)

Do dogs like to watch TV?

Carolyn told The Mirror: “Dogs are very similar to humans – in that they’re all different. Some watch TV while others are completely uninterested.

“However, unlike us, they are not interested in actions and storylines, only in movements and sounds.

“Dogs see very differently than we do. Firstly they register pictures quicker than us, unless you have the latest top of the line high definition TV, everything on the screen will flicker to them and a bit like a very old black and white film.

“Also, they have dichroic vision, which means they only see a range of two primary colors (blue and yellow), while we have trichromatic vision, so we see the full range of colors.

“What dogs are much better at than us, however, is being able to see movement – and so can television, with all its unpredictable movements, for those dog breeds and types that were bred to hunt or react quickly to things that move.” be exciting.

“However, for a dog that was bred to follow smells with its nose, like a scent hound, TV will be really boring because it doesn’t smell interesting.

“Other dogs are interested in the sounds, not the sights – and so they often respond to dogs barking on the TV or other interesting noises like doorbells, cats, or loud unexpected noises.”

You can recognize other dogs in pictures


Getty Images/Image source)

Do dogs recognize other animals on the screen?

“There’s research showing that dogs recognize photos of dogs, so it’s reasonable to assume that they can too when they’re looking at the TV,” says Carolyn.

“They most likely know they aren’t real because dogs see by both smell and eyes and television dogs have no smell.

“You might think they’re real, of course, but they never come out of that tiny box.

“Some dogs go around the back of the TV to check – after all, you can never be sure!”

You are usually easily distracted by the screen


Getty Images/Brand X)

How long should you let your dog watch TV?

“Unlike us, dogs are very unlikely to sit and stare at the TV for a long time – because it’s not that engaging,” says Carolyn.

“They’re more likely to respond to certain movements or sounds and then look away when there’s nothing that interests them.

“Of course there are programs that only appeal to dogs with higher frames per second, that use colors they can see well, and lots of movement and noise (or lots of footage of quiet dogs just hanging around with soft music if relaxation is the goal is).

“However, if a dog becomes fixated by the sights and sounds of the television or becomes overly aroused on a regular basis, it is best if you stop them from watching it altogether.”

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