A television channel dedicated to calming the stress and anxiety of canines. To many people that have never had experience with a dog that is destructive when left alone, the idea sounds like a joke. To dog owners who know the disappointment of coming home to a destroyed house and belongings chewed to bits, it doesn’t sound so crazy.
DogTV was launched in Israel in 2009 and now has deals with television distributors in nine countries. The company also reaches dog owners through YouTube and its own smartphone pet apps. Created by an entrepreneur named Ron Levi, the network is now owned partly by television giant Discovery Communications.
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Although the name may be a bit deceiving, the shows on DogTV are not about dogs, but for them. Other dogs on screen do seem to entertain canines. However, although they started out with cats on the network too, Levi says that the dogs they have tested have not responded well to cats on screen, so there are no longer any cats on DogTV.
Surprisingly, the original launch of the network was actually inspired by a cat. Levi had a cat, named Charlie, who used to have to stay at home by himself while Levi was at work. Like many owners, he felt guilty leaving his pet home alone all day.
Levi ended up downloading videos off the internet to entertain Charlie, and it seemed to work. So well in fact, he decided to grow his idea into a television network. Initial research showed that 57 percent of dog owners were already leaving the television on during the day for their canine companions.
Levi says that although the idea came to him from his cat, he realized the need was more abundant with dogs. The commercials, differing sound levels, and large amounts of talking on regular television networks were obviously geared toward entertaining humans not dogs, so he knew something needed to be done that was geared specifically toward what a dog would enjoy.
After copious research and work with lots of animal experts, DogTV’s content was created and grouped into three categories: relaxation, stimulation, and exposure. The exposure category is used to gently expose dogs to things that may frighten them like traffic, vacuum cleaners, or fireworks.
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The first three years were spent researching, learning, and developing the content of DogTV so that it appealed explicitly to canine vision and hearing. They researched the colors that dogs prefer and the sound frequencies that they respond to.
In some countries DogTV is available as a subscription and in others it is free. Currently they have subscribers in 35 different countries. Dog owners can access the network on YouTube for free anywhere in the world. Right now the focus is solely on dogs, but they do hope to expand DogTV as well as possibly add CatTV someday as well.