DogTV is a new breed of television programming aimed at our four-footed friends. The ad-free programming is geared towards man’s best friend while their humans are at work.
Many pet owners have been leaving televisions and radios on for their furry companions when they go out so their pets have company, said Dr. Nick Dodman, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic in Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
The first channel designed to cater exclusively to canines, DogTV made its premiere on February 13 as a free, around-the-clock offering carried by Cox Cable and Time Warner’s on-demand services in San Diego. One million subscribers have access and it is doing so well that the parent company, PTV Media, plans to expand nationwide.
A French bulldog, named Bleu, is a regular watcher. He used to perk up when “Family Guy” came on, Catania said, but he seems more intrigued by DogTV.
“I always feel guilty leaving him alone all day when I’m at work,” Catania said. “He’s like my kid. I don’t have any children so I really treat him like my child. Anything that makes him happy makes me happy.”
The programming is tailored for its doggy audience, with the sound, colors and camera angles adjusted to make them more appealing to the canine viewer.
To get the right footage, cameramen got on their knees and shot low and long. “I shot from the point of view of the dog,” said Gilad Neumann, chief executive officer of DogTV.
“They love watching other dogs being active on the screen, and other animals,” said Beke Lubeach, head of marketing for DogTV, adding that birds, monkeys and zebras have proven popular as well.
DogTV has become a big hit at the Humane Society shelter in suburban Escondido. The shelter “has seen a marked improvement in all the dogs who have been exposed to DogTV,” said Sally Costello, executive director of the Escondido Humane Society, which cares for more than 5,000 animals a year and currently houses 115 dogs.
She said that “higher-energy dogs, which were once showing signs of anxiety, are now exhibiting positive development and calmer behavior, including vocalizing less and resting more.”
Programming was based on hundreds of hours of research into what TV-watching dogs like to see and hear. Researchers found that most dogs preferred shows similar to “SpongeBob SquarePants” and Harp music.
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