For many of us, our dog is one of the most important friends in our life. Of course, when we aren’t with our human friends, they can generally entertain themselves pretty well and know that they will eventually see us again. Unfortunately, a dog has less of an ability to occupy itself while we’re away, and for some pups, the idea of us leaving is truly heartbreaking to them. If your dog is one of many that suffers from separation anxiety (this is more common in rescued and re-homed dogs, but also varies in all dogs no matter their origins), leaving him alone while you’re off working a 9 to 5, or even a part-time job, is enough to send your dog into boredom or anxiety which may cause bad behaviors.
Many tips and tricks have been discussed in order to prevent bad behavior caused by separation anxiety (which usually takes the form of some sort of destruction, barking or defecation) from occurring. For example, leaving your dog’s food hidden around the house, or creating a puzzle filled with
treats, can trigger foraging instincts and keep your pal occupied for some time. Cesar Millan, the well-known dog trainer and television star, has also suggested starting out small and increasing the time your pet is left alone.
Another possible tool has been rolled out in order to help bored, anxious and lonely pups while their owners are away. DogTV, a new channel available from Direct TV, is a 24/7 program that has specific dog-optimized shows for your pal to watch while you’re away. For owners who already leave the radio or television on, this may seem like a familiar, and improved-upon version of an existing concept. The channel replicates those same comforting methods by attempting to reduce stress levels through soothing music and sounds paired with video of various scenes thought to appeal to dogs. For others, though, it’s still hotly debated whether or not dogs truly benefit from television.
Not every dog reacts to television. Some may bark at the screen when familiar sounds (other dogs barking, car horns honking, doorbells, etc.) are heard, some may watch intently no matter what is on, and others may have zero interest in the brightly lit box their owners are so enthralled by. Though the channel doesn’t cost much at five bucks a month (on top of a require DirecTV subscription), it still might be wise to factor in whether or not your canine friend has ever had any interest in television before committing to the purchase.
The scientists and animal experts behind the creation of the channel insist that the programs are “scientifically developed to provide the right company for dogs when left alone,” and that the both the visual aspects and sounds are specific to a dog’s vision and hearing. DogTV advocates insist that new LCD technology (which limits the amount of dark spaces between shots dogs see, since their vision processes at a faster rate than ours) and enhanced details and brightness are tweaked enough that canines will see these shows more normally. Still, without smell, dogs’ most favored sense, the chances of every dog showing an interest are unlikely.
Whether or not the purchase of the channel is something you believe will benefit your dog’s daily routine and activities, it’s important to remember that physical play and attention should not be replaced by a TV channel. It seems obvious, but is still a good reminder that before leaving your pal with the television, still make sure to give him a nice, long walk, and some love and adoration! Afterwards, perhaps trying some samples of the channel will confirm whether or not your dog has any interest in the dog-friendly programs DogTV is offering.