Why does my dog watch TV?

Animals make such an impact on our lives, and as they live and learn with us, our pets make our lives worth living. We spend lots and lots of time with our animals, and as we do, they learn from us. As animals spend time with people, they can start to emulate those that they care about.

From wanting to go for car rides to sitting with you while on your computer, our dogs can easily begin to mimic what we do.

If you spend time snuggled up on the couch with your pup, you may begin to notice that your dog sits and watches TV with you. Although it may seem curious and odd, dogs sometimes get engrossed in watching TV just like you do. What is not clear is whether or not your dog can see or understand what they are watching.

It is easy to wonder as well why they do it? Is it just to emulate their favorite person or is it something different? Why do dogs watch television, and if they are watching, what does a dog get from watching TV?

Why does my dog watch TV

The big question is that if your dog likes to sit and watch TV with you, are they learning anything, or is it all just flashing and noise to them? Are there some TV shows that dogs prefer over others, or is it just the noise they enjoy? How can you know if dogs can understand what they are seeing?

What can dogs see when watching TV?

It would be interesting to know what dogs can see and respond to what they can see. According to the online Daily Science Journal, dogs see differently than humans see (1). Dogs can see much better in the dark than humans, but they have less ability to see colors.dog wearing a dressing gown eating popcorn

Although there is some general (incorrect) knowledge that dogs see only in black and white, dogs can see some colors, namely blue and yellow. So maybe it is the colors that excite and engages your dog with the television?

It is also a common assumption that dogs can see much farther than people, making them good for hunting or other activities outside. Although some dog breeds can indeed be bred for stronger vision for activities such as hunting, most dogs do not have great distance vision.

So, presuming that you have your TV set up across the room from your couch, your dog may not be able to see much more than movement, lights, and shadows. This may also be the reason that if your dog sees something that interests them, they may jump down off the couch and move closer to the television to get a better view.

How does sound impact your dog’s TV watching?

Although dogs can see the movement and videos on your television, we know that dogs have much better hearing than humans. So it would make sense that our dogs will respond to what they hear on the TV.

If you have watched any YouTube videos lately, you can see lots of videos with dogs that have barked and gone wild after seeing and hearing other dogs on the television. Like another playmate, dogs can react by barking, playing, and jumping around to interact with the dog on the screen. It can be pretty entertaining to watch them find the dog that they hear barking on the television.

So if our dogs enjoy what they see on the screen along with what they hear, does that mean that dogs watch television for the same reasons that we watch? One of the great questions now is, do the dogs understand what they see on TV, or is it just entertaining for them to watch and listen to things moving around the screen?

What do dogs think when they watch television?

We know that dogs can watch television, and w know they respond to both the visual pictures and the sounds they can hear. We know they respond to seeing animals and other images on the television, sometimes getting closer, barking, and jumping to try and interact with them. corgi dogs watching tv on computer in bed

Dogs will also respond to sounds that they hear as well, like other dogs barking – they will try to find the sounds if they can in their environment, searching high and low for what is making that noise.

With all of their responses to the television, what do we think our dogs are thinking about as they watch things? Many surmise that as your dog watches television, it is similar to what they see when they are sitting up and looking out the window. Your television is essentially a fantastic ongoing version of what happens outside the window – a wonderful world of fun things to look at and see.

Dogs do not necessarily understand what they are watching on TV. Instead, they see and hear things that are moving and making noise that you seem to also be interested in. When they see us doing something that we are engaged in, they may try to figure out what it is. Dogs are not really watching television; rather they seem to be responding to noises and movements.

Bottom Line

Dogs are such an amazing part of our lives, and it can be fun and entertaining to watch them engage with things on TV. Whether it is an animal show with other barking dogs or a soccer game where your dog can follow the ball, we can usually find shows that really interest our TV-watching furry friends.

Dogs are perspective and curious creatures, and they seem to want to emulate our behavior. If we are sitting and watching television, engaged in something on the television, our dogs may become just as engaged in the same activity. It is no wonder why our dogs like to hang out with us, they seem to enjoy television as much as we do! Visit the DogStruggles homepage for more expert information & advice!


  1. Septemeber 2020. Evelyn Schrieber. Can Your Dog See What’s on Your TV Screen?

Lisabeth has been a content blog writer for almost 10 years. She had fostered many dogs in that time, including 11 Golden Retrievers. She recently adopted an Australian Shepard named Shadow.

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