If you’d like to scientifically determine whether your dog (or any other dog) is watching TV, you could try using a high-quality method of face tracking (from a Human Computer Interaction [HCI] standpoint) as suggested by PhD researcher Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas and Prof. Janet C Read from the Animal Computer Interaction Design (ACID), a research group at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), UK. They have noted that :
“Dogs have continually been reported to view television screens but there is diminutive knowledge behind this phenomenon.“
Their line of enquiry :
“[…] brings forward the possibility of animals having meaningful interaction with the TV screen and suggests ways to possibly quantify and build methods to create animal-computer-interaction.”
see: ‘Is My Dog Watching TV?’ (NordiCHI’14. Animal Computer Interaction Workshop, 2014)
Since then however, new work by the team (along with Dr. Brendan Cassidy) found that when dogs are presented with a choice of more than one screen (specifically 3), things are considerably less clear :
“ The findings provide evidence that when dogs are presented with three screens they are unable to follow through three screen variations on what to watch. There is a possibility that a central placement is the preference. On average the dogs had a low mean view time per interaction and seemed content to glance across the multiple screens. Overall, even though the content subject within the videos was different and proved to be appealing to the dogs, the dogs, when confronted with three screen options, preferred to watch nothing.”
And, in summary :
“The dogs in this study chose to not watch TV over any TV content; even Coronation Street failed to hold their attention which rather suggests that TV watching, for dogs, maybe much less fun than wandering around, eating, taking a drink, sleeping and playing with toys.” [our hyperlink]
See: A dog centred approach to the analysis of dogs’ interactions with media on TV screens – awaiting publication in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.
BONUS: Those wishing to further examine the world of Dog-TV Interaction may explore the output of “The First TV Channel For Dogs” DOGTV.
BONUS: Andrew Dost (of the indie rock band Fun) composes music for dogs (ABC report)
COMING SOON: Cow-Computer Interaction