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DogTV Review: Does It Really Work & Is It Worth It?

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Dog Care By Ben Team 8 min read April 2, 2019 17 Comments

DogTV

A while back, we wrote about dogs watching television and mentioned that there was actually a channel designed exclusively for dogs. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the channel (DogTV), and I’ll share my personal experiences with it too.

You can check out our article about dogs watching TV here, but read on to learn more about DogTV.

DogTV Basics

DogTV was founded in 2009 with the goal of providing interesting and stimulating content for dogs. It was created in conjunction with a variety of veterinarians, trainers, and scientists, who sought to tailor the programming for the eyes, ears, interests, and attention spans of dogs.

DogTV was first launched in a single California market in 2012. The channel proved to be quite popular, and a shelter in Escondido, California reported fantastic results after showing the channel to the dogs in their care. Even dogs that could only hear the programming, but could not see the screen, seemed to find the channel soothing.

Currently, DogTV is available in most US markets through Comcast Xfinity, Direct TV Nationwide and RCN. You can also stream the program over the internet using most common devices.

The terms, conditions, costs, and availability of the channel will vary from one market to the next, so you’ll have to contact your service provider to find out the particulars. However, in my area (Atlanta, GA), with my cable package, it costs about $5 a month. It will set you back about $10 a month to subscribe to the online streaming service.

What’s the Point of DogTV? Do Dogs Even Like Watching Television?

DogTV seeks to do what most other television channels seek to do: Entertain and combat boredom – particularly while your dog is home alone. And, while some dogs appear to be more interested in the channel than others, it does seem to accomplish this goal.

Many dogs seem to like watching TV anyway, and this channel seems to be especially interesting to them. The internet is littered with positive user reviews and videos of dogs watching DogTV intently.

But, DogTV also seeks loftier accomplishments. Entertaining dogs and keeping them occupied while you aren’t home certainly has value, but several of the programming categories included with the channel are designed to accomplish other goals.

There are, for example, programs designed to calm your dog and encourage sleep, while others seek to desensitize your dog to often-upsetting stimuli.

DogTV

Programming Breakdown

When you pull up the channel on your TV or streaming device, you’ll see various categories containing individual programs.

The categories change occasionally, but they usually include the following:

Programming for Dogs

This is the category that contains the channel’s basic dog programming. There are 20 or so different episodes from which you can choose, and each one is about 4 hours in length and broken down into a number of segments.

Each segment features things to catch and keep your dog’s attention. This includes things like dogs playing fetch, performing tricks, wrestling around with other dogs, and going for walks with their humans. These segments take place in a variety of locations, including parks, the beach, and people’s homes.

Most of the episodes feature classical music, jingle-like music or natural sounds (birds, waves, etc.), as well as people saying, “Who’s a good boy?” and similar things at random points during the programs.

 Specials

The Specials category features programs designed to achieve a specific goal, such as to calm your dog or expose her to the sounds of fireworks. There are also a few animated segments, which display things like balls rolling around on a ramp or bubbles bouncing around and popping on the screen.

 About DogTV

About DogTV provides basic information about the channel.

 Dogs A to Z

This category features brief little segments explaining various aspects of dog care and dog-related issues for human viewers.

 DOGSTAR

DOGSTAR features user-submitted videos of dogs doing silly things or watching DogTV. Your dog may like these programs, but they are primarily intended for humans.

 The Adoption Show

A show for humans that introduces you to a variety of dogs in need of a good family. Those who adopt a dog from the show get a sack full of awesome goodies too.

This includes an anxiety-soothing Thudershirt, a Find My Pet GPS dog tracker, an interactive camera you can use to talk to your dog, I and Love You dog food and more.

The Science of DogTV

When you turn on DogTV, you’ll probably notice that the screen looks a little different, as the colors are shifted to suit your dog’s eyes. Dogs have dichromatic, rather than trichromatic vision like we do, so their color perception is based on a blue-to-yellow gradient.

Additionally, the contrast is juiced up a bit, making the images really pop off the screen. You’ll also notice that many of the segments are shot from dog-eye-level, creating a bit of a first-person point of view. Ultimately, this combination of factors helps to make the channel more interesting to dogs than regular TV programming is.

DogTV claims to have developed the channel while consulting more than 60 different studies conducted by universities around the world. Although they don’t specifically cite many of these studies, they do mention a few, including:

  • A 2003 study conducted at Eötvös Loránd University, in Budapest, Hungary, which examined the ability of dogs to understand television images of humans.
  • A 1998 study, published in Animal Behavior, which examined color perception by dogs when viewing TV programming.
  • A 2005 study, published in Animal Welfare, which examined the effects of visual stimulation on dogs in a rescue center.
  • A 2002 study, conducted at Queen’s University Belfast, which examined the influence of auditory stimulus on dogs housed in a rescue shelter.

None of these studies prove that your dog will enjoy watching DogTV, but it is clear that many dogs are interested in the type of visual and auditory stimuli the channel produces.

Personal Experiences With DogTV

My wife and I signed up for DogTV about two months ago to see how our dog would react.

Our Rottie already loves watching television, so we expected her to be pretty interested in DogTV. Surprisingly, her level of interest surpassed our wildest hopes. She absolutely loves it, and her reaction to the channel is completely different than it is to regular TV.

She immediately plops down in front of the TV when I put the channel on, and then she starts binging like only a Stranger Things fan could.  She locks her eyes on the screen and follows the action with her head while rolling her ears forward to appreciate the sounds coming from the speakers.

Unlike regular TV, which only keeps her interest for 15 minutes or so, she’ll watch DogTV for at least an hour at a time. She even gets excited whenever I pick up the remote control and ask her if she wants to watch TV.

Unfortunately, our dog is a little reactive; so, she occasionally gets riled up and starts barking and lunging at the screen. Because of this overeager response, we can’t allow her to watch it unsupervised. But, because I work from home, this isn’t a big problem.

We are clearly fans of the channel and will continue subscribing for the foreseeable future. However, like everything else, DogTV has a few strengths and weaknesses.

What’s Good About DogTV?

It clearly appears to interest most dogs, and it gets their little brains going.

Many of the sounds are actually quite soothing, even to human ears.

There are a variety of programs to appeal to different dogs and accomplish different goals.

It may prove useful for altering your dog’s behavior. For example, it appears to have made my dog a bit less reactive, and numerous owners have reported that it has been useful for treating separation anxiety.

You may find it enjoyable yourself. I have to admit that I catch myself zoning out to the channel with my pup at times. However, I’m pretty smitten with dogs; you may not find it terribly interesting.

What’s Not-So-Good About DogTV?

While there are hours of programs, there is a lot of repetitive content. For example, you’ll see the same dog interacting in the same place with the same people in several different individual programs. This doesn’t appear to bother dogs, but you may find it a bit boring.

The programs designed to calm a dog haven’t worked for my dog — at all.

Personally, I would prefer if they’d have included more content featuring large dogs. You’ll see a bunch of Chihuahuas, corgis, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and a few labs, but I can’t remember ever seeing Rotties, Dobermans, St. Bernards, Great Danes or any other big breeds. This is probably another issue that won’t bother dogs, but may be disappointing to people.

It may stimulate your dog a little more than desired. I’d recommend monitoring your dog carefully for a while before allowing her to watch while unsupervised. You don’t want your pooch to hurt herself or smash your TV.

Do you subscribe to DogTV? We’d love to hear about your impressions of the channel. Does your dog enjoy it or seem unimpressed? Do you think it is worth the cost? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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Written by

Ben Team

Ben is the senior content editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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17 Comments

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Susan Webster

Just ask my 2 Old English Sheepdogs if they like Dog TV. The minute I turn the channel on & they hear the music their eyes are glued to the screen. The creators have enhanced sounds & colors to attract the dogs attention. My welfare cat likes to watch when she spots cats or other things of interest. It is on several times a day & especially when I have to leave them alone. I think it is more comforting than just turning on music. To me it is well worth the money, but it really depends on the breed & the dogs lifestyle. I just hope Dish never cancels this as my dogs would be very disappointed, & how would I ever explain that to the dogs!!!

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Ben Team

Thanks for sharing, Susan!
You know, I’ve noticed that my doggo instantly recognizes the little intro “jingle” for the channel.

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Kristen

I believe if you’re dog doesn’t suffer from some sort of separation anxiety or reactivity issue, you may not see the huge benefit in this. My dog is fear reactive and like many highly reactive dogs, is over stimulated more by sight than smell. She is mainly stranger reactive which we’ve been improving on with tons of positive based behavioral modification, and a little dog selective. Her leash reactivity is improving, but our biggest struggle has been reacting to dogs on the tv. Lunging and barking every time. If I’m able to praise and treat her quickly before she reacts, we’re able to maintain calm behavior. But if I don’t, that first glimpse sets her over threshold. After that first episode, we’re calm and over it. But i’m hoping DogTV will continue to aid in our training and desensitization and will hopefully carry it’s effects outside of the home as well.

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Mary

Okay, I’m trying the free trial, and it’s not at all what I expected. The music drowns out any interest my dog would have in the barking and interaction between watching the animals interact with each other. And she is certainly not interested in seeing scenery, hearing people voices, or watching people. A must better alternative for me is already free on youtube, which is Animals Unscripted. These are just little snatches of silly things animals do, without the music, or human voices. I’m going to continue the trial, until it’s over, but so far I have a disapproving rottweiler here. She’s literally bored and not interested at all.

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Ben Team

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mary! Be sure to look through a lot of the videos, as they vary pretty significantly.
My Rottie likes some and ignores others…
🙂

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Kat

Tried DogTV on a whim with the free trial to see what it was all about…cut to two years later and we are still paying the $9.99 per month. We have three dogs and the DogTv does seem to help calm them. Our visually acute Mini Schnauzer Mix is the one who actually stares at the screen during many of the segments. We have two Yorkie/Chihuahua/Mini Poodle/+ Mixes, of which the older one (10 yrs), enjoys the relaxing music and nature sounds. She has partial paralysis and doesn’t get around outside much anymore, so I think this helps her feel like she is at least hearing outside noises. I have also used the DogTv phone app to play relaxing segments for her during acupuncture…seems to help. Our youngest dog does not seem to respond as much as the two older ones, but she probably still relaxes with the music. My husband and I even catch ourselves watching DogTv quite a bit. The music and nature scenes are relaxing and we often play a game of where do you think that was filmed? All in all, we find it still worth the money.

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Daniel Curtin

I started to subscribe to Dog TV a few months ago and it didn’t seem to affect either of our two dogs.

One of our dogs recently passed and we adopted Bella, a six year old Chihuahua mix. She really enjoys Dog TV and definitely calms down for the Relaxation segments. I DVR them in 1 hour segments to put on when I take short local trips to ease her separation anxiety, of which she has a lot of when I leave the home.

I have seen her rush the tv and bark at it during the Stimulation segment so we don’t watch those segments much as she needs NO stimulation,

I think it is a great value for only $5 a month on DISH network. A great cheap dog sitter.

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laura williams

Hello! Am seeing the show for first time, have been anticipating viewing it on free preview to see if want to subscribe or not. The outdoor scenery is wonderful. The dogs seem more natural there. The ones walking around inside store make the dog look afraid and uncomfortable. The music is Way too loud!!!! Loud sounds scare my dogs, they would better enjoy it if you allowed in just natural sounds, birds, other dogs sounds, etc. I love the concept but am disappointed. I adopted both of my dogs at shelters and they both have separation anxiety. I guess your dogs are Actors, you would have more interesting diversity with Real pups like mine. Lol. Puppy my 8 y/old is sleeping thru this, Callie my 2 y/old beagle mix takes an interest with the water splashing and birds chirping scenes. What a great project you have started. Best Wishes

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Tamy

Got the channel on a free trial. I won’t waste my money on it qs my dog totally ignored it.

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Max

Well, in my experience I have noticed that Dog TV has a huge variety of videos, and personally, I know my dog’s personality is active, but I love how the platform makes it very easy to choose the right videos for my dog at the right time. Helpful tip, like any TV you might want to hook your dog in with some of the fetch videos. I know that hooked my dog at first. This problem happens with some dogs which is why I greatly appreciate the wide variety of videos.

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Shannon

My dog has always watched TV but now is addicted to DogTV.
He asks for it when the TV is off or on another channel. He loves all the dog sizes- big or small and all the other animals On DogTV too. Even the cartoon like images.

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Ben Team

That’s awesome, Shannon. Thanks for sharing.
🙂

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Blueme

Quick reply for anyone wondering whether to subscribe or not. I have 3 Rotties. When DogTV is ON I have 1 that gets so stimulated that she has tried to attack the TV on several occasions, and now that she knows that this is a no no she avoids my room when I have it on. It seems to have a calming effect on my other 2, and I have caught them watching it sometimes. I must say, DogTV makes ME calmer, lots of just calm piano like music. If my TV is off and I’m gaming, I miss it and have to turn it on for ME, ha ha ha – and Oh, yeah, the music IS repetitive, I have noticed that because I have it on all the time and there are times when I think it is getting old…. Not sure if the video portion of it is repetitive because I am only listening to it in the background! One note to potential subscribers – If you want to cancel you MUST call DirectTV, they will not let you cancel it online.

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Ben

Thanks for the tip about canceling — I didn’t know that!

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Pamela Davidson

I subscribe to DogTV and it has helped our pitbull rescue pup a lot with his anxiety. He can’t handle loud voices, metal clanging, or the “F” word. I Love it!

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Karen Batten

Oh my gosh! This is the best thing ever! My one dog loves it so much and intensely watches it constantly. My other dog does not watch it but reacts to sounds at times. The only thing I would like to see change is the Environmental Episodes. The noises intended to desensitize them are not loud enough at all. I’d like to hear actual fireworks ambulance sirens honking horns lawn mowers etc. I hope this will improve. But I love this channel and am happy I have it. I would not pay more than the $5.00 I pay now but it’s well worth $5.00. It’s great at night to get them calm and ready fir bed too.

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Dawn Devine

Just read your article- spot on! Funny and true. I stumbled upon Dog TV this week while working from home and couldn’t stop laughing watching one of my two boxers staring at the boxer on the screen. I actually found myself getting more work done with the relaxation segment on in the background…is it doing something positive for me, too?! Thanks for the review, Dawn

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