I don’t know if you have ever wondered, but if you own a dog, and you see it watching a show on the TV, what is going through its mind? Does your dog take an interest, you think? I am a little bit curious, does my dog have a similar thought process as I do or similar reactions? As a matter of fact, after doing a little homework, I learned that dogs do have some understanding of the flashing pictures and sounds in front of them. It does not hurt after all that the television sets are just getting bigger, and the screens are getting flatter, and as a result, the entertainment value is getter better and better by the year. People have even done scientific studies to back up such work where these scientists are watching dogs watch TV, and diagnosing their brains. It is quite fascinating actually. One study that shows that a man’s best friend can distinguish between a fellow dog and a human being on the screen. Just like we tend to be more attracted to fellow human beings, primarily of the opposite sex, dogs are also drawn more closely to other dogs.
I guess there has been an evolution over time for certain programming on the air to accommodate dogs. Did you know that there was a channel on HDTV called DogTV? There is not a man channel, but they made a dog one. Since dogs have the innate ability to process visual information much faster than humans, they pulled off specifics to help dogs watch. For example, special coloring to aid a dog’s sight, and an even faster amount of frames per second than regular television. Long story short, what you and I see is not in the same league as what our furry friends see.
We fellow humans can stare at two-dimensional pictures on the tube and turn that visual into a 3-D point of view in our brains. This is our depth perception. For dogs, the term could more readily be described as depth sensation as their means of locating objects that they have just seen.
The evolutionary adaptation known as binocular vision allows the eyes of some mammals to move in simultaneous directions. When something is viewed close up, ocular convergence is promoted. Seeing objects in the distance, on the other hand, promotes ocular divergence. Both canine eyes then work together where two different images come together to create depth sensation, which is promoted by binocular overlap. What comes into play when dogs watch television in that they realize the objects are not actually with them, but on some other plane altogether. It doesn’t thwart their curiosity, however, and often leads to complete fixation of the images on the television screen.
There is a concept called “field of view,” and this describes how along the visual plane dogs or humans can look out and see different objects all at the same time. The field of view of that certain breeds of dogs possess, especially dogs that like looking at movement such as breeding dogs, are of course attracted to moving pictures. However, like humans have the ability to lose interest if nothing is there to motivate us to watch, a dog also could lose interest if they feel that nothing is going on in front of them.
One of the many differences between dogs and human beings is that people contain more cones in their eyes than dogs do. The result of this is that human eyesight is very sensitive to movement of bright lights. Because dogs have far fewer cones, they, in reality, are much more sensitive to lower light situations. A separate advantage of dogs is that they are more adept in noticing a moving target, and can hone in on moving objects at further distances as opposed to trying to visualize stationary objects that are quite near to them.
To reiterate the previous idea that dogs can see moving objects from far away, it goes to show that your dog could quite possibly watch the moving objects on the TV screen from a little distance away. It beats me if they have any clue of what they are watching. Then again, sometimes, I do not think that even we know what we are watching. But they can see it. Therefore they would watch it if it interests them.
Just a little fact of interest, to help with the realization of the newer trend of dogs watching television; Old school television sets worked at a slow frame refresh rate of sixty times per second. However, our new fancy flat screens and HDTV programming are so much faster. Dogs, however, only start to process imaging at seventy-five frames per second. Therefore, on an older television, the images that pop up on the screen would just look like flickers of light or movement. But because of our modern day marvels that work exceedingly faster than the old school sets, dogs today are much more capable of watching TV as it has sped up to a recognizable level for your pet’s sensitivities.
How does a dog even get attracted to the TV in the first place? Generally speaking, they hear the noises emanating from it, so they run over to see what it is. Then as they are watching, they focus in on the show. If your breed of dog has the ability to process at a less speed-demanding rate, the pooch will sit there and watch it for a while. Of course, as was previously noted, just like we are attracted to fellow humans, the dogs are attracted to fellow dogs and the sounds that they make. Other common sounds like human commands and dog toys also will command their attention.
So long story short, because of the advances in television technology, and because of the complexities built into a dog’s retina, they are able to watch television and other moving objects.