Entry 497: Pooch Potatoes

So have you heard about the new TV network? It’s called Dog TV.

Do not tune to this channel if you want to see reruns of Lassie, Rin Tin Tin or The People’s Choice (a sitcom that featured Jackie Cooper and a talking basset hound). Do not expect to find a Beethoven marathon on Dog TV, or coverage of various dog shows.

In fact, you shouldn’t be turning on Dog TV at all. Because it’s not for you.

It’s for your dog.

Now every dog owner will tell you something different about the way their dogs react to the television. We have a friend whose dog loved watching tennis matches so he could chase the ball from side to side. Our last dog, a sheltie named Toby, ran to the door and barked every time a bell rang on the TV, although I’m not sure that qualifies as “watching.” Our current sheltie puppy, Riley, particularly likes commercials for The Hospital for Special Surgery. Whenever he hears the first few notes of the music, he’ll stop whatever he’s doing and watch.

However, scientists say that dogs tend to see TV in slow motion, causing most of it to seem like a blur, except for slo-mo replays during sports, which seem like still photos, and still photos, which seem like they’re going backwards.

However, none of that is an issue with Dog TV, because the programming was created for dogs, by dogs, which explains the typical schedule:

  • 8:00 am: Ass the World Turns–Daytime drama about two bitches, shot entirely dog-butt04[1]with extreme close-ups of their butts.
  • 9:00 am: Two and a Half Tushies–A chihuahua moves in with an Afghan and a St. Bernard. Charlie Sheen stars.
  • 9:30 am: Backside Revisited–Close-up videos of British dogs’ bums.
  • 10:00 am: The View–Barbara Walters narrates a series of butt views.
  • 11:00 am: America’s Funniest Butt Videos–Still more dogs doing that scooting thing they do on your carpet.
  • 11:30 am: The Kardashian Work-out Hour–The only show on Dog TV that does not feature close-ups of dog asses. Today, Kim demonstrates leg-lifting exercises.
  • 12:00 pm: Law & Order: B.U.T.T.–A police…

WAIT! I’ve just been informed that, while Dog TV is, indeed, for dogs, it is not by dogs. So forget that schedule which I made up, but which would do really well in the ratings among canines.

The programming on Dog TV was designed by “the world’s top pet experts,” who banded together to create special content…

“… to meet specific attributes of a dog’s sense of vision and hearing and supports their natural behavior patterns. The result: a confident, happy dog, who’s less likely to develop stress, separation anxiety or other related problems.”

It also creates a dog that’s more likely to learn how to make microwave popcorn, but let’s ignore that for now.

The content of Dog TV falls into three categories: relaxation, stimulation and exposure. I tried one of the “relaxation” shows on my computer. It was a New Age kind of thing, with soothing music and a very slow pan of some clouds, followed by a dog falling asleep in a field of flowers. I was starting to doze myself when a pop-up ad for Purina suddenly appeared. I guess they’ve discovered that dogs can see commercials.

The “Exposure” show featured “sounds and visuals to help comfort and habituate dogs by exposing them to different day-to-day stimuli.” There’s thunder, and people yelling, and cars honking and so forth, so I get what they’re trying to do, but unless you put your TV at a very high volume, I don’t think it would really get Fido ready for the Fourth of July fireworks if his tendency now is to dig himself a fallout shelter in your backyard. On the other hand, listening to this programming might prepare you to live in Manhattan.

So far, I’d been watching Dog TV on my PC, which was unfair to Dog TV because I wasn’t getting the full experience that I would have viewing it on my big screen TV with, you know, my dog.  So I invited Riley to come join me in the living room as I attempted to figure out how to tell my Smart TV to find Dog TV programming samples on YouTube with my left hand while pulling on Ropey Duck with my right.*

(I should point out here that, unless you have Direct TV, Dog TV is only available as a streaming service, like Netflix, only without Orange is the New Black. And it costs $9.99 a month, which is quite a bargain, if Riley can figure out how to use a credit card.)

Anyway, I finally got connected.  I figured we’d watch “Stimulation” to take full advantage of our huge HD screen and SurroundSound, not that I tvthought Riley would think much of it, unless there was a Hospital for Special Surgery commercial.

So the show started: some dogs running around a park. And–I can’t believe I’m saying this–Riley was transfixed. That’s him watching at left.  He stood in front of the TV as close as he could get, his tail was wagging, and he was barking at the dogs much like I sometimes yell at umpires when I’m watching a baseball game.

I guess those pet experts really know what they’re doing.  Although they really should try butt videos.

And now excuse me while I go wipe the snot off my TV screen.

See you soon.

*”Pulling on Ropey Duck” is not a euphemism for anything; Ropey Duck is one of Riley’s toys.  And get your mind out of the gutter.

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2 Responses to Entry 497: Pooch Potatoes

  1. Allan Gross says:

    Hey Mark, loved the article and I can attest to its veracity (or should that be validity)…anyhow my 18 month old Golden Retriever DUKE insists on having Fox New Channel on when we go out and leave the TV on for him for company.. If another channel is inadvertently on such as CNN or MSNBC he starts to bark and jump up and down and we have to change it. His favorite personality is Megyn Kelly followed closely by Bill O’reilly. Pretty hep dog I would say. Regards, Allan.

  2. markhal says:

    Allan–I guess any dog named Duke would have to be a conservative.

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