Does your Dog Watch TV?

Almost everyone I know with a dog claims that their pooch watches television. I believe them, but I also know that a dog’s eyesight is very different from ours, so what exactly does “watching TV” mean for a dog?

Pet experts say that a lot of dogs will actually follow the movement of objects on the screen–and may even bark. However a dog doesn’t see the screen the same way we do. Although dogs don’t see exclusively in black and white (as many people think), they don’t have the same range of color that humans do. There are fewer cones (color vision cells) in a dog’s eye than in a human’s eye. Yet, dogs have many more rods (light and motion detectors) than we do, so although they see a limited spectrum, they can see better at night. Dogs can also see flickering light better than we can, which means they might even be able to see individual frames in a television sequence where we would see a continuous scene.

Because of the anatomy of a dog’s eyes, the dog cannot tell what an object on the screen actually is. But the movement and shapes he is able to see can be pretty intriguing. The sounds emitted from the television are attention-grabbing as well. Because dogs can pinpoint the directional origin of sounds they hear, the TV can be quite aurally entertaining. Although experts say that a dog’s acute hearing can differentiate between a television sound and a live sound, many a dog still seem to be fairly well entertained by the sounds coming from the set.

Does your dog watch TV? What kind of programs does he or she like?

By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Healthy & Green Living


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Chris G.
.9 months ago

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Chris G.
.10 months ago

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Edwin S.
Edwin S.10 months ago

I really disagree with the so called "experts". My dog does like to watch some TV shows, and she does know what's going on. Her favorite show is "Lost in Space", she'll sit there right in front of the TV and just watch it. She always barks at Dr. Smith every time he grabs Will Robinson, and the other day she came running to me while I was in the kitchen because Judy had been trapped in a mind field. My dog was crying and ran to me and then to the TV twice. When I got into the living room she jumped at the TV and barked as if she was telling me to help Judy. So you can't tell me that dogs can't see what's on the screen.

Brittany Schave
Brittany Schave10 months ago

I honestly disagree with our claim that dogs "cannot tell what an object on the screen actually is." Anytime my little dog Jakobe is paying attention while the t.v. is on in our house, he definitely notices when a there is dog on the screen. I know this because he will instantly see the dogs on commercials or movies before they bark and Its evident because he does the same thing when he see's other dogs when we're out on our walks. He thinks he is a tough guy and starts growling, barking and runs up to the t.v. (scratching at the t.v./sniffing & wagging tail @ real dogs). I am positive he can see the dogs & knows what they are. I have video's to show it... So I'm not sure if all dogs can watch t.v. and actually tell what the object is because I've never had another dog who has, but I know without a doubt that Jakobe sure does. Thanks for listening.

Debbie Callison
Debbie Callison1 years ago

my dog can spot a dog on the tv immediately even if they are not in the forefront. He comes in the house and more times than not sits down and immediately watches tv. If I pick up the remote and point it toward the tv he looks at the tv because he knows it is going to come on. Those dog shows on tv are not relaxing to my dog he barks and whines and finally will want to leave the room.

John chapman
John chapman2 years ago

I call BS on this.

Our last dog watched TV, & she would go into a barking frenzy anytime an animal was on.

We had to give up watching Bull riding because she went into such a frenzy.

She was so smart that when she was in another room, & heard a commercial come on that had an animal in it.

She'd come running in & get in position to react when it appeared.

One ever had a line drawing of a dog, & she recognised it.

So don't tell me they can't tell what they're watching.

The one we have now completely ignores TV.

Caesar Martinez
Caesar Martinez2 years ago

Don't know why, but my dog really likes to watch Sam and Cat when my sister watches it. When it's on he stares at the screen, then when it's over he just goes back to what he's doing.