In search of ponies: Television enters its dog days

Within a few days, there may very well be new dents in the couch cushions, atrophied muscles and another languid set of eyes in the house.


Sharna Johnson

Congratulations pups, you’ve made the big time.

Not only do dogs now have their very own TV shows, they will have their own 24-hour channel playing non-stop dog-oriented programming — as if fighting for a spot on the couch and trying to keep the remote free of tooth marks weren’t already an issue in most homes.

According to the creators of DOGTV, their carefully designed programs are the solution for bored, housebound pets while their people are away from home.

“Pooches get lonely, bored and suffer from separation anxiety. Owners are looking for ways to help comfort their dogs until they return. DOGTV is the ideal solution,” said CEO Gilad Neumann in a Thursday press release promoting the channel.

It took four years of development by leading pet experts to launch the channel, according to DOGTV, and it has been designed to appeal to dogs on a level they can appreciate with colors tailored to their vision and sounds they will appreciate.

The shows come in three basic flavors, relaxation, stimulation and exposure.

Of course the channel is endorsed by expert pet trainers and behaviorists and promises to be everything a dog needs and wants.

Sure, it sounds good, occupying the pooch throughout a long workday and helping to ease the loneliness of knocking around an empty house, waiting for the family to return.

Many pet owners already leave TV’s and radios on to try and help their dogs cope with being unattended and for some it is effective.

But, assuming a dog would even notice television designed especially for them, the thought of running them through a day-long emotional roller coaster ride seems more like an anti-solution.

The day might begin with frolicking spaniels tousling with one another in a flowery field, possible insult to injury for a dog stuck in a crate or confined to peopleless-people land.

Then Fido’s mid-morning nap is set to music, not so bad but hard to tune out when your hearing is so sharp you have trouble ignoring the kids playing down the street.

Suddenly the doorbell rings, then there is a knock and while Fido is still sniffing and trying to use his X-ray vision on the hinges, the vacuum starts.

Darting around, looking for a place to hide from the evil suction machine, an invisible car zooms through the house.

Luckily, a stimulation program rolls around again and as nervous and shaking Fido comes to a sliding stop on the tile in front of the TV, he hears someone pouring a bowl of kibble and looks up just in time to see that in some cruel twist of fate the morsels are stuck behind glass and have no smell.

Some dogs may even realize that in fact none of the day’s horrors have had any smells — no exhaust from the car, no stale dust from the vacuum, no sweaty impatience on the hot front porch to accompany the insistence of the doorbell.

If Fido actually buys it and gets sucked into the world behind the screen, it seems natural pet owners should wonder what is going on with a mind content to calmly watch food pour into a bowl for hours.

Only trying it out will say for sure, and TV for dogs may be just what the doctor ordered.

Then again, the $5 monthly subscription fee might be better spent on glass cleaner so Fido can see the real world through one of the many dog TV’s already conveniently installed in every home.


Sharna Johnson is a writer who is always searching for ponies. You can reach her at: or on the web at:

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