Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Occupying Canine Minds-DogTV Review

When you leave the house, how do you occupy your dogs while you're away?  Some dogs are happy to sleep, watch squirrels and keep themselves content.  But others need to be left with tasks and toys to keep them busy and out of trouble.  While we don't have separation anxiety issues, I like to know that when I leave them alone, our dogs are having a good time and aren't getting their noses where they don't belong.  I alternately crate them and leave them free in the house so that they are comfortable with both, handy for when they need to be boarded or if they get injured and need to be crated for longer periods.

There are a lot of complicated food-dispensing toys on the market today but I find Kongs are still a proven (and safe) way to keep a dog working at a puzzle.  Some toys I've seen have hard plastic parts, parts that can come unscrewed or unhinged, and I would NOT leave those toys with a dog home alone.  I feel safe leaving a treat-filled Kong out while I leave the house, especially now that we have the new radiopaque Blue Kongs!  For a short session, peanut butter works fine, but if I want to occupy a dog for a longer period, I will mix dry kibble and mashed banana together, stuff it into the Kong and freeze it.

We also tried out DogTV.  This is a TV station designed for dogs, which they say is "scientifically developed to provide the right company for dogs when left alone."  Both of our dogs were unimpressed.  Some of the "programs" included caterpillars crawling across the screen to a background of classical music and children's giggles, video of a dog on the beach with water noises and children saying "good dog", canyon views and children's voices accompanied by classical music and video of butterflies with classical music and windchime noises.  It reminded me a little of Baby Einstein DVDs (which have been debunked as helping your little one's development) in the way stimulating visuals were combined with classical music.  I gathered that some of the segments were meant to be soothing while others were meant to engage and intrigue the dog, the theory being that the more lively shots keep the dog's attention while the more relaxing videos help calm the dog.  As I said, both of our dogs were less interested in DOGTV than I have seen them in human TV at times.  But maybe that's the point.  You wouldn't want a dog excited and anxious listening to howling dogs and chasing cat videos all day, that would make for just as much anxiety as the seperation anxiety DogTV purports to help alleviate.  Maybe our dogs weren't affected because they don't need what DogTV is offering.  Bottom line, we canceled our subscription.

1 comment:

  1. We had DogTV for free here for a few weeks. We had the same experience - Rita was way less interested in DogTV than she is some shows on human TV. (Like.. she love the "moment" in nature they do at the end of the Sunday morning news on CBS, and she loves the PBS Nature series as well.) But you're probably right - you don't want your dog getting too excited about what's on TV while you're gone!

    Thanks for stopping by Pooch Smooches!