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TV for Your Dog

This August, with help from Nicholas Dodman, who directs the animal behavior program at the Cummings School, DirecTV began tapping into one of the most neglected markets in television land: dogs. Dodman is chief scientist for Dog TV, a cable channel that features short, canine-centric videos. Some are of dogs lying around a living room with tranquil music in the background, and are intended to soothe. Others, full of moving objects like soccer balls, are meant to stimulate. Still others acclimate dogs to doorbells, vacuum cleaners, and other potential stressors.

Minimalist plot development is not the only feature dogs will appreciate. They’ll also enjoy the visual palette. Dogs can’t see red or green well, so colors onscreen are adjusted to compensate for that, says Dodman. While the resulting hues might seem garish to human eyes, they will produce crisper images for dogs.

Dodman expects that Dog TV will be a boon to dog owners who need to leave their pets home alone all day. He believes the programming will help stave off the depression, boredom, and anxiety that dogs can suffer when they go for long periods without companionship.

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