WHAT TV SHOWS DO DOGS WATCH?

A filmmaker I know of made a short film that co-starred her pooch, Mimi.

There was a lot of action in the film, and little Mimi was a natural in front of the camera, but what was fascinating was how Mimi reacted months later, when her director would replay the DVD on their home television. She would snooze through most of it, but was absolutely riveted at her own performance: Especially when she would hear herself bark, or be emotional!

Many of us watch TV with our pets. Isn’t it fascinating to notice what they react to? Ordinary action – cops chasing robbers, love scenes, moments of quiet dialogue – will just roll along like a noisy brook babbling across the room. But odd things such as extreme close-ups of faces, or unusual voices, or scenes of intense emotion, will get their full attention. If I’m watching a show and the doorbell on the show rings, my dogs run downstairs and bark their heads off. Or, if they hear a dog barking on a show, they start looking around and bark back. Pets who fall asleep in front of a TV often have highly active dreams, and twitch their legs as if running in place.

Scientists who’ve done studies speculate that many dogs, with their highly alert vision, may not see “motion pictures” the way we do. What we watch may look more like a series of frozen pictures to them. Noises from programs may prompt certain hunting dogs to look behind the TV, to see what’s hiding behind.

Dogs are so responsive to scents that they may not become truly devoted TV watchers until somebody comes along and invents Smell-a-Vision. To this day, when I think of a dog watching TV, I always remember the scene in 101 Dalmatians of the puppies glued to the TV watching dog food commercials to the jingle of Canine Crunchies.

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