| NEW YORK, July 25
NEW YORK, July 25 Lonely, bored dogs left at
home all day while their owners are at work could soon be
getting some digital company - a TV channel with programming
just for pooches.
DOGTV, a 24/7 channel designed specifically for man's best
friend, will air nationally next month on the U.S. satellite
operator DirecTV, with hopes of attracting dogs in some
of the 46 million U.S. households that have at least one.
"It is the first and only television channel that is
dedicated to our four-legged friends and not to their parents,"
Gilad Neumann, the chief executive of the Tel Aviv-based
company, said in an interview.
The channel won't be showing the canine equivalent of
"Modern Family," "Mad Men" or "Downton Abbey" but will feature
programs with music, visuals, animation and the occasional human
that are designed to relax, stimulate and ease the loneliness
of home-alone pets.
"It's more than just entertainment for dogs. We are creating
more of an environment," Neumann said of the channel that costs
$4.99 a month. "They are bored and many suffer from separation
anxiety. What we are trying to do is to give dogs something to
focus on in the background."
Unlike children and adults who can watch TV for hours at a
time, Neumann said dogs view the medium differently and will be
attracted to it once in awhile when they see something that
"We have no intention of generating a new generation of
couch potatoes out of our dogs," he added.
While not taking any official position, the American
Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) said any relaxation and
stimulation for pets is good. But it doubted that all dogs will
take to it.
"It could work for some dogs and it might not interest
others," a spokesman for the AVMA said.
David Frei, director of communications at the Westminster
Kennel Club and a co-host of its annual dog show, thinks if it
can help relieve separation anxiety for pets and their owners
then DOGTV is a good thing.
"I get pictures every year from viewers at home (of the dog
show) of their dogs watching television, or standing up on their
hind legs when they see a dog. It's kind of cute," he said.
Neumann said the programs were developed with input from
Professor Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist and director
of clinical sciences at Tufts University in Massachusetts,
British dog trainer Victoria Stilwell and animal rights activist
and trainer Warren Eckstein, and tested on focus groups.
The images are meant to be compatible with a dog's vision,
and sounds include a range of frequencies tailored to their
sense of hearing.
"We've seen that dogs are interested in certain colors,
certain animations," he explained, adding that DOGTV is not
meant to replace quality time with owners.
The company, which is in talks and planning to launch the
channel in other countries, is also contemplating a TV channel
"They are not as social as dogs so suffer less from being
alone," Neumann said.