HashOut: 2007/04/18
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Can dogs watch TV?

Do dogs watch television?Many people contend their dogs watch TV. But don't run out and buy Lassie to entertain your pooch just yet.

A dog's eyes are specially designed to pick out motion. At the level of a single cell in the eye, a moving target appears as a flicker. The average human doesn't see flickering above a speed of 55 cycles a second (55 Hz). The image on a television is redrawn at a rate of 60 Hz. Humans don't see this flicker, and the image appears continuous. However, because many dogs can resolve images at higher speed, the TV screen probably still appears to them as a rapid flicker, making the images look less real. Thus, many dogs don't direct much attention to what's happening onscreen. Some dogs ignore the flickering and respond to interesting images on screen. These dogs often follow the images, even looking behind the TV to see where something went after disappearing from view. However, since a dog's dominant sense is its sense of smell and objects onscreen have no scent, most dogs will quickly lose interest and wander off. This might be a blessing. Imagine Rottweilers defending their owners from the criminals in a police drama!

By Stanley Coren in PETS Magazine
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