Dog expert Stanley Coren wonders if TV programs specifically for dogs to watch makes sense? This is the trend that several new television stations are starting worldwide.
A number of people are convinced that their dogs tend to be captivated by events on the television screen, while many think that their dogs completely ignore what is visible on television. Whether or not a dog pays attention to a TV programme depends upon several factors.
How a dog’s eye works is one thing to consider. The canine eye is made to easily detect movement. The image on a typical TV screen is refreshed and redrawn 60 times a second. Given that a human’s flicker resolution ability is 55Hz, the image appears continuous and the progressively changing images provide us with the illusion of movement.
Considering that dogs detect flickers at 75Hz, a flickering image would obviously seem to be less real, and therefore a lot of dogs don’t direct a lot of focus on it. Some dogs, however, ignore the apparent flickering of the TV image and seem to respond to dogs and other images on screen.
Current changes in technology are apparently starting to increase the number of dogs watching TV. The increased accessibility to high-resolution digital screens which are updated at a much higher rate implies that the images are less likely to appear to be flickering to the canine eye and there are more reports of dogs who are extremely interested in different nature shows that contain images of animals moving.
Nevertheless there are essential presentation elements too. Dogs tend to react to images which have been caught at the eye-level of another dog. A low camera angle where you can find moving things such as animals or birds is perfect. However, even when that requirement is met, many dogs don’t watch because the TV is typically placed at a comfortable eye level for people. Dogs usually don’t scan upward, and for that reason don’t see the TV images up there.
Doggie day care centres often use televisions to entertain their canine clients and they have discovered that the best way to catch the interest of dogs is to put the TV on the floor or perhaps a low platform.
Most people are amazed to realize that even though their dog does respond if there is a dog on screen, or maybe another animal running quickly, it doesn’t react to animated images of dogs. Whenever a dog sees a cartoon dog they acknowledge that it is moving, yet the movements of a cartoon aren’t an exact rendering of the pattern of movements of a real animal. So the dog notices something moving, but it’s not a dog or other live animal of concern.
Stanley Coren is the writer of several books on dogs including Do Dogs Dream? and Born to Bark.
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