DOG TV: Television for dogs launches in the US
Two months after it debuted on local networks in California, the canine cable channel has now launched online and is headed for national distribution, according to the channel’s executives.
Known as DOGTV, the channel “offers a promise to our beloved best friends that they should never again feel alone.”
The advertising-free programming is aimed at stay-at-home dogs whose out-to-work masters fret about the separation anxiety their pets suffer, and the trouble they get into, when left unattended for long stretches of time.
Billed as the first channel of its kind, DOGTV made its premiere in February as a free, around-the-clock offering carried by cable and on-demand services in San Diego, reaching some 483,000 homes in California’s second-largest city.
The content is scientifically tailored for four-legged audiences, with even the sound, colours and camera angles adjusted to make them more appealing to canines according to the channel’s website.
Fancy effects aside, the star turns on DOGTV turn out to be none other than other dogs.
“They love watching other dogs being active on the screen, and other animals,” said Beke Lubeach, head of marketing for DOGTV, adding that birds, monkeys and zebras have proven popular as well.
Lubeach said DOGTV hopes to have a US distribution deal in place in the next couple of months, at which point the channel would charge subscribers about $5 (£3) a month.
In the meantime, DOGTV has become a big hit at the Humane Society animal shelter in Escondido, which began airing the channel on several televisions mounted throughout the facility last month.
The shelter “has seen a marked improvement in all the dogs who have been exposed to DOGTV,” said Sally Costello, executive director of the Escondido Humane Society, which cares for more than 5,000 animals a year and currently houses 115 dogs.
While DOGTV is a cable television first, the concept of using media to placate pets is not a new one.
More than 60 per cent of US dog owners already heed the Humane Society’s recommendation to keep a radio or television on in the house when their pets are left alone so the animals hear comforting voices rather than just silence, according to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a member of DOGTV’s scientific advisory board and a professor of veterinary medicine and behaviour at Tufts University in Massachusetts.