Here we are again, the Alpha DOG Blog, with a this week’s top four:
1. Holidays. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get lost with all the dog holidays out there. Every week or two there is holiday in honor of man’s best friends. Some of these have great importance like, “Pet Appreciation Week” (June 7) or “Adopt a shelter dog month” (October). Some seem to be obvious like, “Be kind to Animals Month,” (May) – shouldn’t they change the name to “Be Kind to Animals all the time”? Some are especially awesome like, “Don’t Step in the Poop Day” (April 25; video). What a great holiday and a great reminder – because without it, people would just step in poop all day!
May is “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month” (read about it here). Apparently, many pet owners are allergic to their own pet, myself included (sorry for sneezing so much Charlie.) The good news is this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get rid of your pet. (Read about pet allergy solutions here)
What are your favorite dog holidays? Share with us in the comments.
2. Colors. Often people mention DOGTV looks a bit odd to them, due to the coloring process we’ve done. This is indeed a key aspect of our content, but it does seem to puzzle people. We’ve been receiving many emails from people wondering – aren’t dogs color blind? In what way does DOGTV look better to dogs than “regular” TV?
These are great questions because understanding how dogs see the world and in which colors, helps us design the best visual world for them on DOGTV.
Yes, dogs are color blind. But this doesn’t mean they see the world in black and white. In fact, dogs are not much different than people who are color blind. They see color, but not in the same intense and rich ways most of us do. Both humans and dogs have special receptors in the eye called cones. Dogs have fewer cones than humans, which means their color vision is not as intense. Humans have three types of cones which enables them to see all colors. Dogs, on the other hand, only have two types of cones, which prevents them from seeing all colors. Dogs see the world mainly as yellow, blue and gray. They are deuteranopes, which means they have red green color blindness.
Knowing what colors dogs can see enables us to eliminate certain colors and play up others through an in-depth coloring process. While editing our programs, we always work with two different monitors: a human monitor and a dog monitor – this enables us to see the world as a dog would, and make sure the content is clear and beautiful for them to enjoy.
3. Cars. We received the following email this week: “Hi DOGTV. What’s your obsession with cars? Why are you showing so many cars, traffic and car rides in your programs?” (Nancy, LA).
Well, Nancy, thanks for asking. Trust me, you’re not the only one to ask. Apparently, riding in a car is one of the most common fears dogs suffer from. They can also be frightened and anxious by street noises, loud car honks and many other unfamiliar noises. Through DOGTV’s “Exposure” segments, we are trying to habituate dogs to these possibly scary situations by introducing various sounds (vacuum cleaners, thunderstorms) and visuals (riding in a car, babies) to the dog. By gradually increasing the volume of these exposure segments, dogs should acclimate to them. This is called “desensitization,” which is the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it.
Our exposure segments were developed under the supervision of Prof. Nicholas Dodman, world-renowned animal behaviorist. To your answer your question Nancy, here is what he had to say about exposure to street noise:
“Some dogs become almost agoraphobic when it comes to walking down a busy, noisy street. We call their refusal to go outside or freezing and refusing to move forward, “balking.” If such dogs can be gradually acclimated to the sounds of a city street they should eventually be able to take them in their stride (so to speak). Gradual exposure to outside sights and sounds will acclimate the dog to them and make going outside a less intimidating proposition”.
And here is his expert insight on fear of riding in cars:
“Dogs who are frightened of car travel often get this way for a good reason – at least in their own minds. Owners should ensure that frightening experiences in the car are addressed and avoided and then gradually expose the dog to car travel using baby steps. Don’t rush it. DOGTV can help with these baby steps by showing the dog images of cars and car travel being experienced by happy confident dogs to the background of sooth, calming music.”
I wish you and your dog safe and relaxing travels.
4. News. During the past three months, since the San Diego launch of DOGTV, we’ve been getting many great pictures and videos of dogs watching DOGTV. I love watching these videos on YouTube, seeing how well dogs respond to the channel and how happy they are. It’s also great to see that not only are dogs are discovering television, they are also discovering iPads and computers. This is in part due to our online streaming service that brings DOGTV straight to your Internet-connected devices. Maybe it’s time for doggy computers? iDog? Perhaps not, but it’s still pretty cool to watch.
This week we viewed something really different: a dog watching a news report about DOGTV. I promise you, you’ll love this one!