SlimDoggy Mythbuster: Can Dogs See Television?
Does your dog watch TV? Neither Jack or Maggie pay any attention to the TV. As a matter of fact, none of my dogs have even acknowledged it’s existence. And yet, you see Youtube videos and Facebook posts all the time of dogs raptly watching another dog on TV or barking at a cat commercial. I wondered what was up with Jack & Maggie, so I investigated a little.
As you may or may not realize, what you see on your TV is actually a series of frames that move quickly from one picture to the next so that it looks like continuous movement. This is what is called flicker fusion frequency. Think about old-time movies, remember how jerky the pictures were? That ‘flicker frequency’, or the number of frames presented on the screen per second was much lower than in today’s movies or TV – hence the jerkiness you would see.
The flicker fusion frequency required for humans to perceive continuous movement is about 16-20 images a second, but a dog’s rate is much higher, around 70 images per second. What does that mean? It means that to Jack & Maggie that car chase is really just a series of pictures going in slow motion. Probably not very exciting or enticing to some dogs.
Older TVs flicker frequency was about 24 images per second, newer models are about twice that, but still much lower than your dog’s ability to perceive it as a moving picture.
Dog’s color perception is also more limited than humans and that may impact their interest level in TV also.
DogTV has made special adjustments to their programming to accommodate for these differences in dogs and may explain why dogs with a propensity to watch TV enjoy DogTV so much.
How about your dog – do they watch TV?