Dogs Watching TV: Their Favorite Shows and Why (2023)

Kicking back while watching television is a favorite pastime for many, and often your canine companion will join you for company. But do they enjoy watching TV too? Furthermore, what do dogs like to watch on TV? If you’re a pet owner, you may have caught your pup taking in a show or two.

Keep reading to learn what dogs see when they watch TV and what piques their interest in the first place. Let’s start by confirming if dogs really do check out the screen.

Do Dogs Watch TV?

Yes, some dogs watch TV. They can see the screen and are intrigued by it for different reasons. You may have noticed your pup perking up at the television, especially when another animal appears on the screen. It may even bark or growl at specific movements or noises.

You’ve also likely seen some hilarious online videos of dogs responding to shows by barking, jumping, growling, and more. So, let’s take a closer look at what dogs like to watch on TV.

However, it is also very common and normal for dogs to completely ignore the TV. While similar sounds or sudden noises may still get their attention, they may consider the TV an inanimate object that doesn’t merit their acknowledgment.

What Do Dogs See When They Watch TV?

When dogs watch TV, they see motion. But dogs’ eyes are different from humans’ eyes. Canines don’t have sharp vision. It’s approximately 20/75 rather than the 20/20 vision a human needs to see perfectly.

Dogs also only have two types of color-processing cells in their retinas. A human has three. Dogs only see blue, green, and yellow. This means they’ll react more to scenes on the screen with colors they can process. For example, if a dog sees a yellow Labrador walking against a blue backdrop, it may pay close attention or even bark at it.

(Video) Do Dogs and Cats Really Watch TV

In addition, dogs have more rods in their eyes than humans do. These are cells that increase night vision, making canines sensitive to motion. So they have higher motion perception.

Dogs can see flickers up to 75 hertz because of the number of rods in their eyes. What does this mean exactly? Humans watch TV at approximately 60 hertz, which looks “normal” to us. But for a dog, the image on the screen will appear to flicker, especially on older televisions. With newer technology and better screen refresh rates, the image is likely more apparent for dogs now.

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Do Dogs Prefer the TV On or Silence?

Some dogs like to watch TV, and others don’t. So, seeing if your dog pays attention to a screen when it’s on or ignores it is good. If it reacts, you can observe if it prefers movements or is responding to sounds.

Dogs that ignore the TV probably sense it’s not real. They would likely rather be out sniffing and watching animals and people in person.

Dogs Watching TV: Their Favorite Shows and Why (1)

What Types of TV Shows Pique a Dog’s Interest?

Dogs are drawn to TV shows that have animals and motion. Whether it’s dogs, cats, horses, or elephants, they’re the quickest to identify mammals on the screen.

For example, one of our team members has a Schnauzer that loves watching TV. He was recently caught barking and growling at every competitor while watching the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show. And we’re pretty sure he smiled when the Schnauzer walked across the screen!

Similar to other TV-watching dogs, he also responds to sounds on shows. He’s been sound asleep when a horse neighed on the television near him. He growled in response while keeping his eyes shut. Then, he woke up, looked directly at the movie, and continued growling at the horses on screen.

(Video) Bulldogs Frantically Warn TV Canine Of Danger in Classic Horror Scene

The barking and growling in these situations weren’t distressed reactions. However, observing how your dog engages with the TV is good. Are they wagging their tail and having fun? Or do they seem afraid of a dog on screen?

Pro Tip: You may enjoy watching the YouTube channel Life With Malamutes with your pets! Check out this internet sensation here.

Do Dogs Have Favorite TV Shows?

Some dogs have favorite TV shows. Like humans, it’s a personal preference. If you start watching TV with your dog, you’ll likely notice specific movements, characters, and sounds it perks up for and those it ignores. Keep track for a week or so to know which shows it likes.

But did you know there’s a channel dedicated to dogs? It’s called DogTV. Their streaming service seeks to alleviate dogs’ stress and anxiety through shows that keep your pet’s attention.However, be warned, as some dogs may react noisily to seeing other dogs on the screen.

Animal Planet is another channel that can be good for dogs who like to watch TV. There are many shows with mammals. And there’s lots of motion and sounds to pique your pup’s interest.

Is Watching TV Mentally Stimulating for Dogs?

Watching TV can provide some level of mental stimulation for dogs who engage with screens. Like the example of our team member’s Schnauzer. While barking at the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show, he was having fun, as observed by his wagging tail. It was like a party at the virtual dog park as far as he was concerned. He was barking to let everyone know he was there.

So, as long as your dog doesn’t seem distressed by the TV, it can be a source of stimulation.

(Video) Dogs Watching TV

Looking for a laugh? Try watching the misadventures of Toonces the Driving Cat!

Does Leaving the TV On While You’re Gone Keep Your Dog Company?

If your dog is mentally stimulated by watching or listening to TV, it may keep it company while you’re gone. But no scientific evidence suggests watching TV will relax a dog.

However, there’s also no harm in leaving the TV on for your dog while you’re away. The sound of it may provide some stimulation to keep it occupied until you return. It’s recommended to keep the volume low so your dog can get away from it if bothered by it for any reason when no one is home.

If you notice that sounds calm your dog, you might also consider leaving a radio on at low volume while out of the house.

Dogs Watching TV: Their Favorite Shows and Why (2)

Watching TV With Your Dog Can Bring You Both Joy

Now that you know what dogs like to watch on TV, grab popcorn and doggie treats and stream some of your favorite shows! A family movie night may be in order.

Try watching a film with animals in it and see how your pup reacts. Watching your pet focus on the screen or even bark or growl can be amusing.

What TV show or movie are you going to watch with your dog?

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(Video) Adorable dog reacts in the cutest way to Lion King's saddest scene

Dogs Watching TV: Their Favorite Shows and Why (3)

Cait Morton of HypePets

Meet Cait - a lifelong animal lover who has had furry (and scaly) companions by her side since childhood. She's had it all, from family pets to caring for class reptiles during school breaks, to even owning her first horse at just 12 years old. She swears that her late soul dog, Mocha, helped her survive her Business Management degree. Cait has spent over a decade working in animal shelters, doing everything from taking care of furry friends to running the show as an assistant manager, to providing guidance as a board member. She's got a serious case of the animal welfare bug, and she's not afraid to use it! When she's not busy saving animals, Cait is known for being one-half of the 'Mortons on the Move' RV and travel blog and YouTube channel. She stars alongside her husband, Tom, on the Discovery and PBS TV show 'The RVers'. She and Tom, along with their two rescue dogs Luna and Solar, travel full-time by RV and explore all that the world has to offer. Cait started HypePets because of her passion for pets and her love for rescue dogs and cats. She wants to make a difference by helping new adopters ease their furry friends' transition into their new homes. So join her in the wonderful world of pets, and let's make a difference together!

(Video) What Do Dogs See When They Watch TV?


Why does my dog like certain TV shows? ›

There are a number of features about television shows that dogs find attractive. Some of these are visual, such as motion, while others relate to the sounds coming from the TV. Dog eyes are very different from human eyes, so they see things on TV differently.

What do they say about dogs that watch TV? ›

Dogs process televisions and screens differently than humans do, but it turns out they do often recognize what they are seeing and hearing. Some dogs couldn't be bothered to watch TV, but, in other cases, pet parents report that their dogs are enthralled by screens.

Why do some dogs watch TV and some dogs don t? ›

Whether or not your dog enjoys watching the TV or seems interested in it probably has more to do with their personality and breed traits than what's on the TV. For example, Terriers, who were bred to hunt vermin, may respond to movements on the screen or squeaky noises.

Do dogs have favorite TV shows? ›

Not all dogs enjoy TV, but the majority of furry friends seem to like it! In fact, nearly 60% of pet parents claim their dog has a favorite show, according to Rover.

Why does my dog go crazy watching TV? ›

According to Melese, the reason is biological: Dog (and cat) eyes register images faster than our own, which means our pets need a higher rate of frames per second, or refresh rate, to see a complete image.

Why does my dog go crazy when he sees a dog on TV? ›

Dogs can perceive images on the TV similarly to human beings, and they are clever enough to recognize images from their day-to-day life, such as other dogs and excitable people. They may not, however, be able to establish that the images they see aren't real, which can lead to confusion or anxiety.

What breed of dog watches TV the most? ›

Dogs like terriers and spaniels may be more drawn to the fast-moving images of television than other breeds.

Are dogs comforted by the TV? ›

While it's generally OK for dogs to watch television, the colors, sounds and content can make some dogs feel anxious. Fetch by The Dodo's on-staff veterinarian, Dr. Aliya McCullough shares some things to consider before turning on the television with your pup around.

Why do dogs like DOGTV? ›

Because dogs are triggered by movement and auditory stimulation, something like DOGTV can be enrichment for dogs,” he said. “But I'd caution people to try it around their dogs first before leaving them home alone with the TV on.”

Should you leave TV on for dogs? ›

Puppies don't have long attention spans, so distractions can keep them on their toes and out of trouble. The more distracted they are, the less likely they are to take their boredom out on your belongings. So, to be clear – YES, leave the TV on for your dog.

What do dogs see when they look at humans? ›

Dogs see like a color-blind human. Many people think that a person who is red / green color blind cannot see any color, but there are variations of color blindness. Most people have vision that is trichromatic (three-color variations). People who are red / green color blind are dichromatic (two color variations).

What shows calm dogs? ›

The research found that folk music was the best genre for dogs to listen to before bedtime with the findings suggesting dogs who listened to this type of music achieved a sleep score of 88%. One dog achieved a sleep score of 92% as a result of listening to folk tunes.

Do dogs know TV isn't real? ›

Domestic dogs can perceive images on television similarly to the way we do, and they are intelligent enough to recognize onscreen images of animals as they would in real life—even animals they've never seen before—and to recognize TV dog sounds, like barking.

Can dogs see FaceTime? ›

The bottom line is, most dogs can't recognize faces on phone screens or tablets. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't FaceTime or Skype with your pets while you're out of town! It won't harm them, and they may even recognize and be comforted by the sound of your voice.

Can dogs see themselves in a mirror? ›

Although dogs can't identify themselves in the mirror, they still have some level of self-awareness and ace other self-recognition tests. They can recognize their own odor, and recall memories of specific events, reports.

How do I get my dog to stop watching TV? ›

Give them several treats in a row as long as they remain quiet. After giving your dog a few treats, pause to let them look back at the screen, then give them a few more treats. Keep “treating” your dog until the offending figure has left the screen (or stopped making noise).

What colors do dogs see? ›

Human eyes have three different types of cones, which allows us to identify combinations of red, blue, and green. Dogs, on the other hand, have only two types of cones, which means they can only discern blue and yellow. As a result, dogs are red-green colour blind. How dogs see colour.

What movie do dogs like the most? ›

10 Movies to Watch with Your Dog
  • Lady and the Tramp. Ditch the popcorn for this one and cook up a batch of spaghetti. ...
  • Best in Show. What happens when you cross This Is Spinal Tap with the Westminster Dog Show? ...
  • Hachi: A Dog's Tale. ...
  • Marley & Me. ...
  • 101 Dalmatians. ...
  • Old Yeller. ...
  • Beethoven. ...
  • Frankenweenie.
Feb 23, 2018

Can dogs see in the dark? ›

Obviously, his stronger sense of smell is useful, but it's also because dogs can see movement and light in the dark, and other low-light situations, better than humans. They are assisted by the high number of light-sensitive rods within the retina of their eyes. Rods collect dim light, supporting better night vision.

Should I say goodbye to my dog when I leave? ›

But according to science, not acknowledging your dog might do more harm than help. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior in 2018 says that gently petting your pup before departing for work can help ease their anxiety, proving that human contact can help decrease a dog's level of stress.

What channel should I leave on for my dog? ›

DOGTV is the first and only television network for dogs. A trusted source of scientifically developed content for dogs, DOGTV programming is organized into relaxing, stimulating and exposure segments that work together to provide just the right balance for the daily routines of our beloved "stay-at-home" pups.

Do dogs get bored? ›

So, do dogs get bored? Absolutely! Doggy boredom can lead to problem behaviors, but more importantly an unhappy dog. Read on to learn the signs of boredom and tons of tips for making sure your dog is getting all the stimulation he needs.

Why does my dog stare at me? ›

Just as humans stare into the eyes of someone they adore, dogs will stare at their owners to express affection. In fact, mutual staring between humans and dogs releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone. This chemical plays an important role in bonding and boosts feelings of love and trust.

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

Why does my dog lick me so much? ›

One of the most common reasons why dogs love to lick their owners is simply to show their affection. Since you're the one taking care of them, you're essentially their world! When dogs lick, pleasurable endorphins are released into their blood which makes them feel calm and comforted.

Do dogs prefer dark or light? ›

But there's no need to leave every single light in your home on just for your dog. In fact, darkness at the right time can be good for dogs. According to the Sleep Foundation, dogs, like humans, have circadian rhythms that are influenced by light. It's easier for them to sleep if it's dark, or at least dim.

Do dogs like a light on at night? ›

Some puppies and dogs prefer a nightlight. They find it comforting. But for others, the light can provide too much stimulation and keep them awake and busy. For those dogs, make the house dark and quiet.

Is it OK to leave dogs alone overnight? ›

Dogs are sociable animals and love company, but although it is good practice that they learn to be home alone for a period of time, it is not advisable to leave them alone for very long periods, like overnight. Many dogs feel worried when they are left on their own, especially if they have been used to having company.

Do dogs recognize their owners face? ›

Dogs do pay attention to human faces, Andics, said. “They read emotions from faces and they can recognize people from the face alone, but other bodily signals seem to be similarly informative to them.”

What are 5 calming signals in dogs? ›

Aside from yawning, other calming signals include turning the head or entire body aside, pawing, approaching in an arc, squinting, flicking the tongue or licking the nose or muzzle, sniffing the ground for no apparent reason, freezing in place, or crouching down with the front of the body.

What sound calms dogs down? ›

Reggae and soft rock are the most relaxing music for dogs in shelters, and classical music also helps calm down dogs in stressful environments.

Can dogs eat cheese? ›

Cheese can be given as an occasional treat in moderation, alongside a healthy diet. If your dog manages to eat a whole block or other large amount of cheese, they may vomit. Keep an eye on them, and call your vet for advice if they become unwell.

Can dogs eat popcorn? ›

Plain, air-popped popcorn is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. Buttered popcorn or popcorn with other toppings is not safe for your dog on a regular basis, although eating a few dropped pieces here and there probably won't hurt them.

Do dogs like getting kisses? ›

Dogs are good at reading us, and they usually know when we are being affectionate, such as when we kiss them. Because they love affection from us, most dogs do like being kissed. However, they don't like the act of being kissed but rather that we give them attention and show affection.

Can my dog hear me? ›

We all know that dogs have a keen sense of hearing and hear better than we do. Dogs hear nearly twice as many frequencies as humans. They can also hear sounds four times further away — so what human ears can hear from 20 feet away; our dogs can hear from 80 feet away.

What colors can dogs not see? ›

So What's the Truth About Dog Color Blindness? Having yellow-blue dichromatic vision means that dogs are most similar to a red-green color blind person. They are very good at distinguishing between variations of blues and yellows (and whites and grays), but cannot really see red and green all that well.

Why do dogs listen to humans? ›

As pack animals, dogs like to contribute to the survival and the success of their pack. They like to have jobs, they take direction well, and they are programmed to obey a leader – you, assuming you have taught them what to do and have earned their respect.

Why does my dog follow me into the bathroom? ›

“The main reason dogs follow us to the bathroom is because they like to be where we are,” Dr. Coppola explains. “Dogs are obligate social animals, which means socialization is a genuinely natural behavior for them. This is part of what makes them such fantastically loyal companions.”

Are dogs aware that they are dogs? ›

From the perspective of a psychologist, though, dogs don't quite have the level of self-awareness necessary to consider themselves a dog. When they look in a mirror, they don't actually recognise themselves.

Do dogs recognize their names? ›

The short answer is yes, dogs do know their names. On average, dogs can understand 165 words. More intelligent dogs can learn 250 words. If your dog is trained to recognize their name as such, they understand that you are speaking to them specifically when you use it.

Why does my dog bark at dogs on TV but not in real life? ›

Why do some dogs bark at the TV while others ignore it? Some dogs bark at the TV out of excitement, some do it as a reaction to specific sights or sounds, some do it out of frustration, and some do it out of stress and/or fearfulness.

Is my dog actually watching TV? ›

The answer is basically a yes. Cherice Roth, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer with the pet health care company Fuzzy, confirms that your pup's apparent TV-watching habits are indeed the real thing. “Some dogs do watch TV!” says Dr. Roth, adding that dogs can actually become engrossed by what's on the tube.

Is my dog actually watching TV with me? ›

How dogs watch TV is very different to the way humans do, however. Instead of sitting still, dogs will often approach the screen to get a closer look, and walk repeatedly between their owner and the television. They are essentially fidgety, interactive viewers.

What TV show calms dogs? ›

Surprisingly, the adult animation Rick and Morty also scored highly in terms of keeping dogs calm with an average score of 75, 13 points lower than the average anxiety score for a normal evening.

Why do dogs like DOGTV so much? ›

They Like What They're Seein'

For example, dogs enjoy watching other dogs the way we enjoy watching other people; Playing them an AirBud movie might not be a bad idea. They also enjoy nature shows, since the vivid colors and sounds of the outdoors are super stimulating to their senses.

What TV show calms dogs down? ›

The full results can be found below:
Chill rankingTV ShowAverage Heart Rate Change from base heart rate (BPM)
2Mr. Bean-3.25
3Stranger Things-2
4Pink Panther4.75
5 more rows
Mar 15, 2021

Why do some dogs notice dogs on TV? ›

Domestic dogs can perceive images on television similarly to the way we do, and they are intelligent enough to recognize onscreen images of animals as they would in real life—even animals they've never seen before—and to recognize TV dog sounds, like barking.

Do dogs get annoyed by TV? ›

Sounds from the TV can also overstimulate your pet. For example, some dogs listen to, rather than watch, the television, and if there's a loud noise or dog barking, it could make them anxious.

Will my dog ever stop barking at the TV? ›

It just takes time and patient training. One way to train your dog to not bark at the TV: reward them for being calm and quiet! Pay close attention to your dog's behavior while the TV is on. When a sight or sound comes up that they would normally react to, give them a treat ASAP.

Do dogs actually smile? ›

Any dog can smile, and according to veterinary behavior specialist Dr. Lore Haug, some breeds are even genetically predisposed to smile more than others (Doberman Pinschers, terriers and cattle dogs, to name a few).


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