Thursday, November 22, 2007

Watching TV!

What is it with Gracie watching TV?

I just don't get it. Gracie loves it, she'll sit there and watch an entire Air Bud movie. She really gets into the it and sometimes talks back to the pup on the tube. Occasionally she will even try to run to the front door to see if the dogs are behind the TV and running outside. Me? I could care less about TV.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I did some searching on the Internet to find out what dogs think about TV - why some dogs love it and others, like me, have no desire for it. Here's what I found:

According to Amazing Facts, approximately 87% of dog owners say that when they watch TV their dog curls up beside them or at their feet.

In an article from 2005 in the Arizona Republic entitled 'The eyes are a window to dogs' TV soul', researches say they discovered what they think is the reason some dogs watch TV and others don't. Here's what they had to say:
"Dogs have something called a visual streak. It's a line of vision cells packed in there very densely and running across the retina. Scientists already knew this.

What scientists McGreevey and Harman found out, however, was that some dogs don't have the visual streak. Nobody knew that before. Instead some dogs have something called an area centralis, which is a whole bunch of vision cells arranged in one spot, as opposed to stretched out in a streak.

Dogs with an area centralis probably see things more like we do than dogs equipped with visual streaks.

Visual-streak dogs tend to be hunters. They have long noses and good peripheral vision and can spot something moving out of the corners of their eyes and follow it with their eyes.

Area-centralis dogs tend to have shorter noses, and they have about three times as many nerve endings in the retina as do visual-streak dogs. That means they may not have great peripheral vision but they see things much more clearly, with greater definition, than other dogs.

Now I don't know if this has been absolutely proven, but the thinking is that maybe short-nosed, area-centralis dogs are more likely to watch TV than long-nosed, visual-streak dogs," the article explained.
That would most certainly explain why Gracie likes TV and I don't, if this is true. And (oh revelation here!) it could also explain why I am much more focused on Mum when she runs me in agility than Gracie. If shorter nosed dogs, like Gracie see more clearly and have less peripheral vision, then she's probably seeing a whole lot more things going on out on the course than I am, and looses her focus more easily with all the distractions. Hmmmmm......

Others say...
Dogs are just attracted to the TV by the sound of an animal, like a dog barking, and when they look at the screen they actually only see objects moving around the screen. They say the dog does not interpret the television the same way humans do. The dog cannot determine what any object on the screen actually is. For example, if we can see a video of a dog running around a field, your dog will see a dark object moving around the screen and this may grab his attention and make him "watch".
With the intent and following way Gracie watches TV, I may have to disagree with those that say she only sees a dark object. I sincerely think she can differentiate between the animals she sees on TV and their movement. Sometimes, with the facial expessions she has, I think she may even be following the plot line - but it's probably stretching it a bit.

Perhaps we should try Gracie out on one of those mitsubishi HDTV and see if it makes a difference in how she watches. They say they are much more like real life than the old TV Mum has. Hey, I may even get into TV with one of those.

So what do you have to add? Does your pup watch TV? Do they like certain programs better than others? Bark in and let us know!


  1. Fascinating! Long-nosed Jake couldn't give a fig for the telly. In fact, he actively hates the noise from loud cop shows (CSI in particular elicits a huge bass groan and a theatrical departure from the sofa). The only time he has ever shown any interest was when we were watching a wildlife rescue programme and some swans appeared. (Swans are My Jake's Achilles Heel.) When swans appeared on the TV he jumped off the sofa and stuck his nose right up to the screen. It must have been the pattern of movement.

  2. Most interesting. I'm going to mention this post on my blog, if okay. I love discussions like this - we live with dogs but we make assumptions about what they are experiencing. Research and discussions like this help us to realise there is more to canines than we know.


Thanks for barking in!

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