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What Do Dogs Like to Watch on TV? Canine Preferences Explained

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

woman watching tv with her dog

Have you been sitting on the couch enjoying a good television show only to notice your dog is just as invested as you are? Seeing their ears perk up and their attention be taken by what’s happening on the screen is a bit comical for us pet parents, but it also leaves us with more questions. What do dogs like to watch on TV? Do they prefer certain shows? Do they think it’s real?

For most dog parents, questions about our pets and television have been on our minds for years. When a dog shows interest in things happening on the screen, it makes us want to find more programming they’ll enjoy and even leave it playing when we’re away to give them a bit of comfort. Let’s learn more about dogs and TV so we can determine whether they truly enjoy it and what shows we can share with them.

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Why Do Dogs Enjoy TV?

You may think dogs watch television due to the colors, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Most people believe dogs can recognize animals on the TV screen. Seeing other dogs or small animals they are familiar with can attract your dog to a show you’re watching. You’ll also notice they are fans of motion. If things are moving, your dog may stop long enough to see what’s going on.

Another reason dogs may like TV is the sound. Hearing familiar sounds like other dogs barking can easily catch your dog’s attention. If the other pieces fall into place, like the right colors and other animals on the screen, your pet may sit down and join you while you watch.

Dog watching TV
Dog watching TV (Image Credit: Dogtelevision, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Can Dogs Properly See the TV?

Yes, dogs can see what’s happening on the television screen in front of them. While their eyes aren’t as sharp as ours, that doesn’t mean they aren’t catching the action. This is why you often see your pet sitting closer to the television when something captures their attention. It makes things clearer for them. You’ll also find they have an easier time seeing modern, more advanced, televisions than older models. Thanks to the higher refresh rates, this makes it easier for dogs to see the televisions clearer and understand the motions taking place.

When discussing whether your dog can properly see the television, you must keep their color perception in mind. While humans can see a multitude of colors, dogs can only see blues, greens, and yellows. This can greatly change how enthused they get with what’s happening on the television screen. If their perceived colors are present, they will pay better attention. If not, they will show little interest unless the sound and motion grab their attention.

boxer dog lying on carpeted floor at home
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Can Dogs Tell TV Isn’t Real?

You may think your dog believes the other canines, squirrels, and cats they see on television are real but don’t be so sure. While dogs recognize the animals and the familiar sounds, they can’t smell them. Smell is one of your dog’s primary senses. You may even notice them sniffing the air when they are watching television. This is their way of determining that the animals they see aren’t really there. While it may be cute to think your dog believes the animals are real, they are smarter than you may think.

Do Dogs Have TV Preferences?

We may not be able to read our dogs’ minds, but we can recognize their actions. If you want to put on programming your dog will enjoy, find shows with animals and the colors that are most familiar to them. Many television stations are even making programming geared toward dogs. When you find a show they show interest in, make it a routine. You and your dog can sit and enjoy whenever you want and make a binge night of spending time together.

dogs watching TV
Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock

Do All Dogs Watch TV?

Like people, all dogs are different. While you may have a dog that loves watching television, another of your pets may care nothing for it. This isn’t unusual. You can enjoy television with the dogs in your home that enjoy it and find other activities to spend time with the other pups in the house. But keep in mind, hours of television aren’t good for anyone. You and your pup should take breaks and spend time doing other activities as well.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, some dogs do like watching television and even have preferences when it comes to programs. Allowing your dog to sit with you and watch television can be a fun activity. Unfortunately, you can’t force them to enjoy it if it’s something they aren’t interested in. If you notice your dog is a fan of television, offer them the comfort of a favorite program when you aren’t around and spend time watching with them every chance you get.

Featured Image Credit: Lazy_Bear, Shutterstock

Melissa Gunter

Authored by

Melissa was born and raised in the mountains of East Tennessee where she spent her time writing in an old notebook and playing outside with her pets. As an avid animal lover, she has brought many into her home over the years. Currently, she is the mom of 5 fur babies. Her 2 cats, Princess and Pepper are total opposites who demand attention. Her dogs Jazzy, Whitey, and Demon are full of spunk and keep the entire family on ...Read more

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