Should I Leave the TV on for My Dog?
As a pupper parent, you may feel guilty leaving your sweet snookums home alone. When you step out the door for work or an evening with friends, have you ever asked yourself, "Should I leave the TV on for my dog?" It might feel silly to assume all pups like TV because we do. In truth, it takes some work to pin down a doggo's actual preferences.
Both veterinarians and pet owners have observed benefits from leaving dogs at home with the TV on. While scientific studies in this area are lacking, anecdotal evidence suggests having the TV on while you're out may help ease separation anxiety, keep your pupper entertained, and mask sounds that could trigger barking.
Of course, what shows you leave on for your dog and how he reacts to them are key factors. Certain sights and sounds may actually increase stress or encourage barking. Other dogs are oblivious to what's on the tube, so leaving it on may not be very useful.
Before you grab the remote, here are some things to consider about leaving the TV on for your furry pal.
Choose Soothing Shows
Loud noises from the TV — such as fireworks, gunshots, construction noises, or people shouting — may frighten your pup. Dogs tend to relax more when they hear classical music and other soothing sounds.
If your pup pays attention to the images on the screen, certain visuals, like car chases, may agitate him. Other sights, like squirrels playing in a park, may entertain or calm him.
Choosing a channel at random risks showing him sights and sounds that may do the opposite of calming him. It's best to pre-screen what you plan to leave on for your bestie. This way, you can judge whether it's suitable. Most popular online streaming services offer content made for dogs. Make a date to cuddle up with your pup and try watching some shows together to see how your pooch responds. Just remember to leave the salt and butter off any popcorn that you share with your furry BFF.
Once you've chosen a program, show it to your pup while you're still at home. This way, you can observe his reaction before you leave him alone with the TV on.
Leaving the TV on Can Ease Separation Anxiety
Turning on a TV show one time isn't likely to help a nervous dog. With some planning, though — and a little bit of training — the TV can be a tool to combat separation anxiety in dogs. The trick is to teach your doggo that the TV means it's time to relax.
First, find a show, video, or channel that seems to calm your pooch. Then give him a special treat or a food-stuffed toy while the TV plays. This will help him associate that particular show or channel with relaxation. Even when you're not there to give him a treat, he'll remember this positive association.
Please note, this trick may not work for dogs with severe separation anxiety.
It Can Help Mask Environmental Sounds
Noises coming from outside can excite or disturb your pooch, causing him to bark. Leaving the TV on for your dog while you're away can mask those other sounds and prevent related stress.
For this to work, experiment and find shows or videos that won't cause your pupper to bark. The right soothing sounds can keep him from reacting to triggers like the garbage truck or mail deliveries. It can also help keep him from feeling like he has to guard your home like a ferocious superpup.
Find What Works for Your Pooch
Doggos are individuals. Each of them has his own unique set of preferences and quirks. It really comes down to what works for your buddy. Here are some questions to help you decide:
- Does your pup watch TV with you?
- Does he pay attention to what's on the screen?
- Does he react to sights and sounds coming from the TV?
- Does he ignore other sounds when the TV is on?
Your answers may tell you whether Fido would enjoy having the TV left on for company while you're away from home. The best way to know for sure is to experiment. If you have a pet cam, peek in to see what works! You may find TV helps keep your good boy a little calmer while you're away. This can result in a happier (and quieter) lifestyle for both you and your best bud.