DOGTV, television programming for your dog or cat

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An Israeli-produced cable channel, DOGTV, airs shows to comfort pets while their owners are away and is proving to be a hit. DOGTV was also successfully launched last year in the United States, and is also available as an online subscription in Israel - I guess for the dogs that took the leap and upgraded to broadband.

Rather than pen their animals up, dog owners have had to get creative over the years to keep their pets occupied when being left alone. Many attempted music, others brought in a real, or fake companion, but now DOGTV is working like a charm.

"Generally when I leave the house I put on the radio, play him some music. When DOGTV started I thought it was the perfect thing for him. He actually sits and watches it."

Thank Charlie, the cat, for the inspiration

The original idea for DOGTV, created by Ron Levi of Ramat Gan, came from guilty feelings of leaving his beloved cat alone at home.

"I just felt guilty leaving him by himself every day for so many hours and I thought I need to do something. As the TV set was already there, I thought why not use it to entertain cats or dogs?" he says.

Dog TV original programming

Since the domesticated dogs lineage comes from wolves, and wolves are pack animals, they (members of Levi's production company) felt that dogs would suffer, more so than cats, from separation anxiety. As a result they began to prioritize programming for dogs.

Deliberately lacking high-frequency sounds and irritating barking, DOGTV's content was created with the help of expert trainers and from the information gleaned from scientific studies.

The studies revealed information about how colors and sounds can be used effectively. For example, being color blind, reds and greens are left out in favor of blue and yellow tones.

The programming includes cycles of images that offer "stimulation, relaxation and gradual exposure to everyday sounds" for the pets, all based on research done relating to the sleeping patterns of dogs.

This helps the dogs to become "sleepy and relaxed," whereas normally they may continuously bark waiting for their owners to arrive back home.

"We had to do focus groups for dogs. We installed security cameras in 38 apartments to monitor them and see how they respond. We got to learn a lot from it and changed our content accordingly."

Digital vs. analogue TV

Dogs in the past were actually unable to watch TV, when most sets were analogue. With digital TV, canine brain studies reveal that that is no longer an issue.

"Dogs can see the picture as clearly as you and me and they can watch and be entertained by it."

Mixed reviews

Animal shelters have given DOGTV the thumbs up, as have many-a-canine owner, but there are some animals that "just ignored it."

"Every dog's perception is different according to the breed, the energy level, the age of the dog and even the way their noses are built," Mr Levi admits. "We are trying hard to please everyone."

Some cats have even tuned into DOGTV, prompting Levi's team to consider a more focused cat-themed channel in the future.

Dog Vision: TV Channel Especially Created For Dogs [DogTV]

[video=youtube;UR5A36N7Ks0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR5A36N7Ks0[/video]

The DOGTV channel is available for streaming on the Roku, and is also available to Cox Cable subscribers.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21719731
 
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