Monday, July 15, 2013
DirecTV is set to air a new, 24-hour channel for dogs bored at home called DOGTV.
“You can really use TV to entertain pets,” Ron Levi, founder of DOGTV, told ABC News. “We have created programs where every frame, second and sound have been tailored to fit the way dogs see and hear the world.”
DOGTV aims to help dogs who suffer from separation anxiety when their owners are away by providing “relaxing, stimulating and behavior-improving content” packaged in three- to six-minute-long segments, according to the channel’s website.
“We wrote and recorded very relaxing music specifically for dogs. Everything we included in our content is something research tells us dogs like to see, like other dogs and moving objects,” Levi said.
The channel will become available for pet owners and DirectTV subscribers nationwide on Aug. 1 for $4.99 per month, according to DOGTV’s website. Last year, the channel was launched with a limited audience in San Diego, ABC News reported.
“Our audience in San Diego really loved the channel,” Levi said. “Pet owners told us that their dogs were really getting relaxed after watching the content. And we used the feedback to improve. For example, we removed sounds of other dogs barking after we realized it was stressing the dogs.”
DOGTV will air without commercials and humans may notice that the images on the screen are not as clear as they should be.
“The content is not for human eyes,” Levi said. “It might be clear to dogs, but not necessarily for people.”
One aspect of the programming DOGTV had to adjust for canine eyes was the use of red and green colors, as most dogs have red and green color blindness.
“We enhanced the greens and reds in the picture to make them more vibrant so they would be visible to dogs,” said Nicholas Dodman, a professor of animal behavior at Tufts University. “We also included sounds that would be calming for dogs, but not necessarily humans.”
DOGTV has attracted the attention of animal rights groups across the country.
“This channel is a grand experiment that has a lot of potential to do America’s dogs a lot of good,” Kirsten Theisen, director of pet care issues at The Humane Society of the United States, told ABC News. “We are hoping the science behind the channel is accurate and that the developers will follow up to see how to improve dogs’ quality of life.”