4 min read


Can Dogs Understand Videos?



4 min read


Can Dogs Understand Videos?


Every day, us humans find ourselves watching television, checking our phones, or playing video games. We interact with technology all of the time and it is only happening more as the years pass by. Most households own a dog nowadays and interact with their pup all of the time. 

At night when you sit down to watch a movie and your dog sits next to you, are they just doing it out of habit or are they able to watch that video with you? Since it is on a screen, are their eyes able to pick up what is happening? Are they even able to see it at all?


The Signs Your Dog Enjoys Television

When you are watching television or playing video games and Fido hops on up next to you, are they seeing what you see? It has been proven that dogs are capable of watching television, but to what extent? What are the signs that they actually can? 

Firstly, keep an eye on your pup and pay attention to what their ears are doing. If their ears shoot up straight, this is a sign that they hear something, so if they are actually watching, they will show that by their ear movements. 

Another sign is if they become very alert. You can tell this by their stance. It will become very rigid and upright, which indicates that they are paying attention. Another sign to look out for is if they are staring. If their eyes are following the characters on the screen, this shows that they are able to see the visuals on the television. 

Lastly, if your dog starts barking at the television, chances are they are reacting to something they hear or see on the screen. This is a good indicator that they are able to see or hear the video. These signs are proof that dogs are able to understand television - at least to some degree. They can differentiate between a human and another animal in the video.

Body Language

Here are some signs that show your pup understands a video:

  • Staring
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Raise Ears

Other Signs

These are some other signs that indicate your pooch is tuning in to the video you're watching:

  • Reacting To Animals On The Screen
  • Different Alertness Depending On Video
  • Joining You Whenever A Video Is On

The History of Dogs Watching Videos


Obviously, electronics have not always been around. In just recent decades, we humans have become accustomed to having these devices in our homes. With that, our animals have also been introduced to technology. Curiosity has always been a strong suit of humans, so when televisions and video games started getting popular, we, of course, wanted our puppy pals to get in on the action as well. Thus, we started paying closer attention to how our furry four-legged friends reacted to different things on the television. 

Televisions have become such a huge part of our homes and we share that space with our canine companions. There have been numerous studies completed showing how dogs are able to react to different things on the screen. They are able to tell the difference between seeing a human or seeing a dog on television. 

Curiously enough, they are also able to tell if there is a different species on the television, even if they have never encountered it in real life before. They may not be able to know what the creature is, but they are able to recognize it is different than anything else they have ever seen. With how rapidly technology is evolving, it is almost certain that concepts will be created to maybe even give your pup a better television experience.

The Science Behind Pups and Videos


There have been many studies initiated over the question of whether or not dogs are able to understand watching videos. While they may not be able to completely understand the exact situations that are occurring in the video, they are still able to decipher between different species and are also able to hear the difference between two different people talking.

A study was done by The University of Central Lancashire that proved dogs are indeed able to watch videos and, to some extent, understand what they are watching. We still do not know if they can actually enjoy what they are watching, but they have shown that they prefer some videos over others.

Training Your Pup to React to Videos


There is not exactly a right or wrong way to train your pup to react to videos. They are pretty well able to do this for themselves. When dogs watch television, they are already able to distinguish between different species and voices, just like they would do in real life. If you are wanting to train them to react differently to certain things that pop up on television, that may be doable. 

If you find that your dog barks every single time a cat shows up on the video, that may not be the most relaxing thing to hear continuously. What you can do about that is whenever they start barking, you can sternly tell them "no" and make them realize that is not okay. You do not want to encourage this behavior, even if it seems funny or cute the first few times. If you do, you will find that they will continue doing it because they think you approve of it. If they continue to watch and are not reacting by barking, then they have officially learned how best to react. Make sure you praise them for being such a good pup!

Animals all react differently to what is put in front of them, so dogs with varying personalities may require different methods of training in regards to responding to videos. If a dog is scared of thunder and you are watching a movie that includes noises that sound similar to thunder, chances are that your dog is going to respond as if the thunder was real. In these instances, try to draw them closer to the speakers with treats to condition them in a positive way, or just turn down your surround sound. Do your best not to reinforce their terror, as they may continue to display an unhealthy fear of storms and storm sounds if this happens.

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By a Keeshond lover Molly Martin

Published: 02/21/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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