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DogTV Review: Must-See TV for Your Dog Without Cable

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You might think that DogTV is a channel for dog lovers or maybe a cartoon channel. But it’s not. It is literally a TV channel for dogs. It features content for them with sound and visuals tuned to their perceptions. Read on to learn how to get it for your dog without a cable contract!

In a hurry? You can get DogTV directly but it’s much cheaper to get it through Sling TV. Save 50% on Sling TV.

Rover’s Thoughts

I love TVs!! They’re furry and they run fast and they’re so fun to chase with their big fluffy tails but then they run up trees and — wait, what? Those are squirrels? Not TVs? Oh. But can I still go chase squirrels? No?

You want to know if I like to watch the big noisy-box? I mean, it’s okay — sometimes fun moving pictures of squirrels, which are not as much fun as real squirrels you can chase. That reminds me: can we go outside yet? Not yet? But I’m booooooored. Oh, what’s this on the noisy-box? DogTV? I love DogTV!

ProsCons
✔ Made for dogs like me!❌ Not all dogs like it
✔ Shows for humans too❌ Noisy-box gets HOT on all day
✔ Not too much human money❌ No smell – phooey!

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DogTV Overview

First, the good stuff, the stuff I like. My human watches a lot of stuff, and a lot of that stuff is really boring. And other stuff is really noisy and some of it is even a little scary. The moving pictures on DogTV are more interesting and realer to me than other channels.

I don’t get money, but I heard my human tell another human that it was $9.99 per month, and he seemed happy about that. That makes me happy because a lot of times when she talks about money she seems really stressed. 

She doesn’t seem crazy about leaving the TV on all day for me, which I get because the noisy-box gets HOT when she leaves it on for a long time. Sometimes it stops playing, which makes me sad.

And my human has trouble setting it up for me in the mornings. She says words she usually only says when she stubs a toe or bangs her head.

But my biggest not-like is that there’s no smell. It’s hard to get excited about the other dogs or animals on the noisy-box when I can only see and hear them.

DogTV Base Page
Home page of DogTV.

DogTV Content

Is my human home yet? Why not? Where does she go all day, anyway? Work? What’s that? Does she get to chase squirrels? That sucks, chasing squirrels is THE BEST!

Anyway, what were you asking? Oh, right, the new stuff on the noisy-box my human calls “DogTV” and puts on when she goes out to the place where she doesn’t chase squirrels.

Oh! Oh! This channel has no cats! I hate cats, and get really worked up when I see them. I’m getting worked up just talking about them! And no barking. When other dogs bark, I want to bark back, but the humans aren’t too happy about all the noise. Also, too much barking reminds me of the kennel and that makes me sad and anxious.

Instead, sometimes there are lots of other dogs and some other animals or moving drawings, doing lots of things, and it’s fun to watch them. The humans call it “Stimulation.”

Others show pictures of the outside with this great music. The music makes me happy, not a run around the house like crazy happy, more of a stretch out in a patch of sunshine and snooze kind of happy. They call that “Relaxation.”

Sometimes they have thunderstorms, fireworks, doorbells, and other awful stuff. I don’t know why they show that, because those are really scary and– oh, look, the funny dogs are back! 

Content for Humans

My human likes to watch some of the shows, too — they have humans making food for dogs (yum!) and other dogs doing funny things and getting treats (double yum!).

Oh! My human wants to write stuff for you. I’m sure she’ll go on and on. If you don’t hear from me again, I’m asleep.

Here are some of the shows made for humans:

  • The Adoption Show: Presents dogs that are up for adoption and provides tips for people looking to adopt.
  • At Home: A series with Laura Nativo on various indoor issues like separation anxiety, vet visits, and puppy-proofing your home.
  • Be Active: Another series of 5-6 minute shorts with Nativo on various high-energy outdoor activities you can do with your dog, such as Lure Coursing, Kayaking & Paddle Boarding, and Parkour.
  • The Dog Chef: Learn to cook healthy, home-cooked meals for your pup with Kevyn Matthews, The Dog Chef. Season 2 is out now.
  • The Happy Puppy: 1-2 minute mini-lessons with veterinary surgeon Dr Courtney Campbell to turn your puppy into a well-behaved, happy adult dog. Episodes include Socialization, No House Accidents, and The Invisible Enemy.
  • Paws for Love: Therapy dog Nash and his owners tour the US to raise awareness of therapy dogs.
  • Road Dogs: Wild reality-star dogs and their owners go road-tripping!
  • Things We Woof About: Lightning reviews on various pet products and services, such as Rover (the app to connect with dog-walkers), Petsmart (the big box pet store), and Petcube (interactive smart cameras for your pets).
  • Tricks for Treats with Chrissy Joy: Series of 2-4 minute videos, each featuring a different trick to teach your four-legged friend, like spin, bow, and jumping through arms (you make your arms into a hoop).
DogTV Live
Must-see TV for dogs!

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Getting DogTV

There are several ways to subscribe to DogTV, and there are significant price differences (which is not usually the case for subscription services).

Standalone Subscription

First up, the most expensive method is subscribing through DogTV’s website or its app on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or your iOS or Android mobile device. The monthly subscription costs $9.99/mo after a free three-day trial. Or you can get a yearly subscription for $84.99/year, which works out to $6.99/mo.

Sling TV

Cable and satellite services that carry DogTV get a break (see below for a list), as does the single streaming service that offers it: Sling TV. Provided as one of its 40+ premium a la carte specialty channels, DogTV is just $5.00/mo for Sling customers. Sling’s base packages are also competitively priced at $35/mo for either.

Cable/Satellite Services

You can also subscribe to DogTV for $4.99/mo through these traditional cable/satellite providers: DIRECTV (but not DIRECTV STREAM, yet), Comcast Xfinity, Dish, RCN, Cox, and Mediacom.

DogTV User Experience

Devices

DogTV appears to have basically three different subscription systems that all have, presumably, the same content. The first is for live TV providers: cable, satellite, and Sling TV. This appears to be separate from the app-based subscriptions you can watch through most popular devices.

In other words, subscribing through your TV provider is the cheapest at $4.99/mo. If you subscribe through any other platform, you can use the service interchangeably on any other platforms.

Devices Supported:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android mobile
  • Apple TV
  • iOS (iPhone, iPad)
  • Roku
  • Samsung Tizen
  • Web browser (dogtv.com)
  • Xbox

Interestingly, Sling TV supports the same platforms. There are, however, many more devices Sling supports, like Evoca, Oculus, and Facebook Portal.

Features

DogTV is the result of six years of research and review of over 60 studies from reputable sources like the University of Oxford and UC Santa Barbara. After research, content was presented to (canine) test audiences and fine-tuned.

A dog’s eyes see at a higher frame rate than a human’s and have a more limited color spectrum. Colors, contrast, brightness and saturation levels, and camera angles are all adjusted for a dog’s vision and perspective. 

Music is also selected and adjusted for canine hearing. Studies suggest dogs find classical pieces calming, especially harp music. Sound effects and special frequencies are also dog-specific.

Dogs find other dogs most interesting, but are also intrigued (but not frightened) by zebras, giraffes, and monkeys. Cats (as Rover mentioned above) did not go over well.

Interface

The interface is relatively easy to use. There’s a link at the top for the 24/7 live stream, and then category rows below. Each is clearly labeled “For Dogs” or “For You.”

If you’ve added videos to “My List,” they’ll appear in the first row, otherwise, the first row is the current top ten videos, then the categories for dogs, and then the ones for owners.

Each dog video appears to be about an hour-long, and you can enable autoplay in the settings (it’s turned off by default.) 

The Segments

DogTV’s programming runs in short “shows” belonging to three different segments: Stimulation, Relaxation, and Exposure.

  • Stimulation: Fun shorts that are designed to entertain and avoid boredom.
  • Relaxation: Soothing audio/visual mix to help alleviate anxiety.
  • Exposure: Designed to help desensitize your pet to upsetting stimuli, such as fireworks, doorbells, or children shouting.

There’s also a section in the app for “Good Night” specifically for going to sleep and a “Puppy Collection” (for owners and dogs, because everyone loves puppies).

DogTV Segments
DogTV videos by segment types.

Alternatives

It’s cliche, but true: every dog is different. These are some ideas from dog owners, the Humane Society, and various pet experts on keeping your dog calm and happy if you’re not home during the day. All of them emphasize that what works (including DogTV) varies based both on breed and individual animal personality and temperament. 

For instance, bloodhounds (and hounds in general) will probably be less enthralled by TV because they’re more smell-oriented. Herding dogs, which are attuned to movement, may be more engaged. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so be patient.

Other Video/Audio-Based Solutions

DogTV was the first TV channel specifically for dogs, but it’s not the first to have the general idea. And it’s not the only TV network anymore. Here are some other programs you can try if DogTV isn’t your dog’s can of Alpo:

  • K9TV: Similar to DogTV, it’s a slide-show of dogs set to calming music. Available only on Roku, it’s free, but it also doesn’t have all the fancy-schmancy dog-specific colors and so forth.
  • YouTube: There is no shortage of videos — many of them hours and hours long to play all day — on YouTube purportedly for calming at-home dogs. These are free, but remember: it’s YouTube. There’s absolutely no quality control. One channel recommended in particular is the 4K wildlife videos of Paul Dinning. Many pets find them interesting and calming.
  • RelaxMyDog: Also a similar idea to DogTV, though more music-focused. Also cheaper for a direct subscription: $4.99/mo after a two-week free trial, or $3.50/mo if you pay yearly.

Other Methods

  • Treat puzzles or other mental stimulation (there are websites that have instructions on how to make your own)
  • Crate-training
  • Hire a dog-walker or doggy daycare. The Humane Society says even one or two times a week can help

I’ll let Rover have the final word.

Wrapping Up

I say, two paws, up, way up, but needs more squirrels. And rabbits. Mmm, yeah, some chicken. And peanut butter! I LOVE THAT STUFF. But watching other dogs doing stuff — it’s the next best thing to being able to do it myself!

The dog next door, she’s not a fan. She doesn’t hate it, but it doesn’t do anything for her, either. Her human doesn’t work — wait, she says he does just that he works from home — why can’t my human do that? Anyway, she isn’t home alone a lot, so maybe that makes a difference.

All the little details, like the colors I can see and the brightness that doesn’t hurt my eyes and the sounds that don’t hurt my ears; I like it more than the stuff my human watches for herself. And of course, there’s all the dogs! Gotta run, SQUIRREL!

FAQs

Does DogTV work?

Many dog owners and experts swear by DogTV. In 2012, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that DogTV donated 2 flatscreen TVs and a free trial of DogTV to the Escondido Humane Society for use in their shelter. Sally Costello, the executive director, said she noticed an “immediate and noticeable difference” in the dog behavior and noise levels. She was “surprised by how quickly the animals adapted to it.”

The Human Society’s ringing endorsement of the channel has been cited by DogTV as the single biggest reason major carriers finally started taking them seriously and carrying the channel.

Do dogs really watch TV?

The majority of dogs do appear to pay attention and respond to images on TV, especially of other dogs. More dogs probably watch TV now than in the past. Old fashion CRT TVs had a lower framerate than modern flatscreen TVs. Dogs saw, essentially, an annoyingly flickering slide show. Newer flat screen digital models have much higher frame rates.

The DogTV website emphasizes that your dog will probably not lay around and watch DogTV all day. It works as background noise so your home doesn’t seem quite as empty without you in it. It also points out that if you’re home, your dog will invariably be more interested in you than the TV, regardless of how interesting it is.

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Alanna Baker
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