Alibi V.27 No.32 • Aug 9-15, 2018

Idiot Box

DOGTV

Yes, I said DOGTV

Here’s the problem: Your cable or satellite or Apple TV or whatever is jammed full of channels—and yet, there’s nothing to watch. You pay for the basic service, and you shell out for add-ons like Turner Classic Movies and the NFL Network. You’ve got HBO—because, of course, you’ve got to keep up with “Game of Thrones.” And you tacked on the Starz package for six months because it was super cheap. And still, there’s nothing you want to watch. Now imagine what life is like for your dog. If you think your TV choices are lame, just imagine what a Shiba Inu thinks of today’s primetime selections.

Now you can offer a whole new range of entertainment choices to your canine companion and add to your monthly cable bill at the same time with DOGTV. As advertised, DOGTV is TV for dogs. Available now on Xfinity, DirectTV, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire (and coming soon to DISH satellites), DOGTV is described as “a veterinarian-recommended TV channel to treat loneliness, anxiety and depression in dogs.” Sure. Makes sense. I mean, what’s a greater cure for human depression than lots and lots of daytime TV?

“Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? Does she miss you when you leave home? Does he whine and cry when he’s alone?” asks the DOGTV website. “If you answered yes to any of these questions, DOGTV is for you and your dog!” Created by veterinarians and “pet experts,” the shows on DOGTV feature attention-grabbing visuals and “audio visual therapy for dogs.” What’s that? Evidently it consists of “healing sound frequencies” and “positive affirmations.” Basically, it boils down to a lot of video footage of dogs: people playing with dogs, people walking with dogs, dogs running, dogs catching Frisbees, dogs chasing balls.

Most of DOGTV’s programming cycles between “relaxation” (dogs sleeping, nature footage), “stimulation” (dogs running/surfing/whatever) and “exposure” (gentle introduction of traffic sounds, sirens, fireworks and the like to acclimatize mutts to new sights and sounds). The makers of DOGTV assure us that sound frequencies and color selections on all these videos have all been adjusted with a domestic canine’s sensory organs in mind. These “scientifically designed” shows are no more than five-minutes long, which DOGTV assures us are “scheduled based on DOGTV’s assessment of a dog’s day cycles and viewing habits.” Of course humans are free to watch as well, particularly when it comes to DOGTV’s more traditional programing (which airs on weekends). There’s “DOGSTAR” (viewer-submitted dog videos), “Dogs A to Z” (an educational show on dog ownership), “Talent Hounds” (a documentary series exploring the “evolving role of dogs in our society”) and the occasional dog/human exercise video.

If you can be a lazy couch potato wallowing in meaningless audio/visual stimulation, why can’t your dog? It would be nice if your pets could pony up the $4.99 per month it costs to add DOGTV to your cable/satellite package, but they refuse to get a job. Oh, well. What are you gonna to do? Treat them like some common farm animal without access to 24/7 HDTV? … I didn’t think so.

For more info on DOGTV (yes, it’s really a thing), go to dogtv.com