Like us, dogs like certain TV programs more than others

Which sources of carbohydrates should you choose to limit weight gain in the long term?

Dog owners have probably already caught their pooch in front of the television. But do these animals have favorite programs? An American study is looking into this question. Its authors noted that man’s best friend has a pronounced taste for certain images and videos.

Dogs like images that show their peers and other animals. But they seem to give little importance to whether it’s a wildlife documentary or a cartoon like “The Lion King” or “101 Dalmatians.”

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin came to this conclusion after asking more than a thousand dog owners to answer a questionnaire about their little companions’ television habits. They asked them to pay attention to their animal’s reactions in front of the television set, in order to note if it has reactions that would suggest that it shows interest in what it sees.

Scientists have thus been able to observe that several factors influence the interest that doggies have in television. For example, the most athletic and sheepdog breeds seem more captivated by any type of program than their peers. The canine’s age also plays a big role in its ability to enjoy the small screen, as does its level of visual acuity.

Overall, dogs often have very short interactions with television. The programs they like are those where there is action. Videos that go on for too long are unlikely to capture their attention, especially if they don’t feature animals.

Helping dogs age better

However, it is difficult to make generalizations from the conclusions of this study, published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science. What will please one dog will not necessarily please another. It all depends on the personality and lifestyle habits of the animal, as well as those of its owner. Canines are very sensitive to the reactions of their “parent”: they will naturally tend to follow their gaze and model their attitude on theirs.

Beyond the implications that this study could have for dog owners, it allows us to perfect our understanding of the visual abilities of dogs. The scientific community knows that these balls of fur perceive colors dichromatically, that is to say that they mainly perceive only shades of yellow and blue. However, it is not yet clear how their sense of sight changes over time. “We know that poor vision negatively impacts the quality of life of older adults, but the effect of aging and vision changes in dogs is largely unknown because we cannot assess it accurately.“, says Freya Mowat, co-author of the study, in a press release.

In the future, researchers will need to conduct more work like this to better understand what dogs see – and more importantly how they see it. “Like humans, dogs live longer and we want to make sure we help them live healthier“, explains Freya Mowat.