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Tune in and keep Fido happy while you're away?

February 17, 2012|By Terry Gardner | Special to the Los Angeles Times
(DOGTV )

If you’re worried that Fido will pine away while you’re away, DOGTV, a new cable channel, may help both of you.

The channel, launched recently in San Diego, is designed to provide companionship for dogs and reduce stress caused by an owner’s absence, said Ron Levi, co-founder and chief content creator.  

Although DOGTV’s content isn’t breed specific, Nicholas Dodman, a veterinarian specializing in animal behavior, says visually oriented “sighthounds,” including whippets and greyhounds, may be more inclined to watch than “scenthounds” such as basset hounds, which tend to  to keep their nose to the ground as they focus on smells.

DOGTV uses colors that dogs see best (they see colors at the end of the spectrum better, including yellow, green, indigo and violet) and sounds that are soothing, such as classical music, said Levi.

The three phases of DOGTV’S programming are stimulation (to encourage playfulness), relaxation (to soothe) and exposure (to habituate dogs to daily stimuli that may cause stress such as crowds, a vacuum cleaner or a toddler in their face). Stimulation sequences may feature a dog playing with a toy or blue butterflies flitting across the screen. Relaxation segments feature pastoral settings (often including a dog lying down) and gentle piano music. Exposure segments tend to show dogs dealing with stressors such as a vacuum cleaner.

DOGTV is available for free on Cox (Channel 2635) and Time Warner (Channel 148) in San Diego.  After the free period, it will cost about $4.99 a month. DOGTV hopes to be available on cable stations nationwide later this year.

Sample content is available on the DOGTV website.  Paid subscriptions by Internet also may be available.

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