Why are some dogs so interested in television?


By AGENCY

Pet dogs like images that show their fellow creatures and other animals. But they don’t seem to care whether it’s an animal documentary or an animated cartoon like The Lion King or The 101 Dalmatians. — AFP

Dog owners have probably already caught their pooches watching television. But do these animals have favourite shows? An American study looked into this question, and its authors found that dogs have a pronounced taste for certain types of images and videos.

Pet dogs like images that show their fellow creatures and other animals. But they don’t seem to care whether it’s an animal documentary or an animated cartoon like The Lion King or The 101 Dalmatians.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM), in the United States, came to this conclusion after asking over a thousand dog owners to answer a questionnaire about their four-legged friend’s TV habits. They asked them to pay close attention to their pets’ reactions to the TV set, to note whether they showed any reactions that would suggest they were interested in what they were watching.

The scientists found that several factors influence a dog’s interest in television. For example, the most sporting and herding dog breeds seem to be more interested in any type of content compared to other breeds. A canine’s age also plays a big part in its ability to enjoy the small screen, as does its level of visual acuity.

On the whole, dogs often have very short interactions with television. Programmes that appeal to them are those with action. Videos that drag on are unlikely to capture their attention, especially if they don’t feature animals. Supporting dogs as they age

However, it is difficult to make generalisations based on the findings of this study, published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science. What appeals to one dog may not necessarily appeal to another. It all depends on the animal’s personality and habits, as well as those of its owner. Canines are very sensitive to their owners’ reactions: They will naturally tend to follow their gaze and copy their attitude.

Beyond the implications this study may have for canine owners, it adds to our understanding of dogs’ visual abilities. The scientific community knows that these pets perceive colours in a dichromatic fashion, i.e. they mainly perceive shades of yellow and blue and combinations of those colours. However, we still don’t know exactly how their sense of sight evolves over time.

“We know that poor vision negatively impacts quality of life in older people, but the effect of ageing and vision changes in dogs is largely unknown because we can’t accurately assess it,” says study co-author, Freya Mowat, in a statement.

In the future, researchers will need to carry out more work of this kind to better understand what dogs see -- and more importantly, how they see it.

“Like people, dogs are living longer and we want to make sure we support a healthier life for them as well,” says Mowat. – AFP Relaxnews

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Dogs and TV , dog behaviour , dog breed

   

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