Between luxury hotels and Tempur-Pedic bed cushions, pup-centric amenities have lately taken a turn for the human. And now there's DogTV, a digital channel just for canine viewers (with a monthly subscription fee starting at $5). But this isn't The Real Huskies of Beverly Hills; the lineup is a continuous loop of videos designed to stimulate pooches when they're home alone. We asked veterinary behaviorist and DogTV's chief scientist, Nicholas Dodman, about pet-friendly programming.

O: What is must-see TV for dogs?

Nicholas Dodman: We have three categories. The first is relaxation, where your dog might see a man paddling a canoe. Then there's exposure, which gently introduces dogs to sounds that might alarm them, like thunder or a vacuum. And the third is stimulation—imagine a red ball ping-ponging around.

O: But is it really such a bad thing if your dog has some solo time?

ND: It depends. There are approximately 90 million pet dogs in this country, and it's estimated that up to 30 percent experience separation anxiety at some point. As a result, they might cry out, chew on things—it can be terrible. Being able to look out a big window or listen to music can help. DogTV blends those kinds of environmental pleasures into one package.

O: Here's the $64,000 question: Are dogs actually capable of watching TV?

ND: Herding and sporting breeds are visually driven, so they might glance at a monitor more than other dogs. Hounds live by their nose and might not look at all, but at least they'd have sounds to listen to. It's not unlike the way you watch TV while cooking breakfast: You perk up when something strikes you, then move on. So if you're worried that your Doberman will sit with a bag of Doritos and stare at a screen for hours, don't be.


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