A common pastime is watching television. Whether a favorite TV show is being broadcasted live or streamed, dogs may join their human owners in the fun. However, do dogs actually watch television the same way their owners do?
The answer is that dogs are not invested in watching television the same way humans are. Dogs determine their surroundings mainly by smell and sound, but not so much by sight. If a relevant sound—such as barking or squeaking from a chew toy—comes from the television set, a dog will likely want to interact with it by barking and moving around. Unlike humans, dogs are not focused on watching what is being shown on TV for a lengthy amount of time. If something on the TV catches their interest, the least dogs may do is make a glance.
Dogs have their own way of seeing, so what do they see on the television screen? The amount of colors a dog can determine are limited to variations of blue and yellow. Also, dogs view movement in a lower frame rate than a human can. Therefore, actions to dogs appear slower. A dog may be able to discern the movement on a high-definition TV screen better than what is shown on a standard-definition screen. With how dogs determine color and movement, dogs are more likely to sense the TV’s audio than its visuals.
Whether someone is binge watching a favorite series on Netflix or catching a marathon of reruns, it is no doubt that the dog will be nearby on the couch. However, don’t expect the pooch to understand the plot of the show or even the funny one-liners.