Barking comes naturally to all dogs. In fact, as a dog owner, you have all the reasons to be worried if you discover that your canine friend doesn’t bark at all.
However, even dogs that are considered the most vocal should only bark when there are solid reasons for doing so. And that includes barking at the TV.
For instance, it’s natural for your dog to bark at the sight of a pack of wolves on television. It’s also understandable if your pooch starts to bark at certain sounds on the TV, such as fireworks. But what if your dog barks incessantly whenever you turn on the television?
As a dog owner, this may get you wondering what makes your canine friend bark at the television and what you can do about it. For starters, there are numerous reasons that could make your dog bark uncontrollably at the TV. The reasons range from excitement to fear, frustration, attention-seeking behavior, etc.
Similarly, there are various ways on how to stop a dog barking at the TV. You can train the dog to cope with television or keep him otherwise preoccupied while you’re catching up on your latest program. You might also adopt drastic measures like changing television channels or turning off the TV altogether.
Maybe you’re one of the dog owners who’s always visiting the vet with questions like, ‘I want to learn how to stop my dog barking at the TV, how do I go about it?’ Well, read on for more insights on how to go about that.
How Do Dogs Perceive The TV?
Before we delve deeper into some of the reasons why dogs bark at the television and how to stop or redirect this behavior, we should probably begin easy by understanding how our canine friends perceive the television.
As you shall find, how your dog perceives the television depends on your TV model and the country you live in.
Modern televisions are primarily designed for humans who can discern flickering motions at a rate of 50 – 60 hertz. On the other hand, dogs are capable of discerning flickering motions between 70 and 80 hertz.
Therefore, if you’re still using older television models that use cathode-ray tube (CRT) screens, your dog would have a difficult time discerning the images flashing on the TV.
The size of your television screen also determines your dog’s response to it. Generally, the larger the screen, the better your dog will discern its images.
At the end of the day, however, it’s worth noting that dogs don’t see the world the same way humans do since their color vision is inferior to ours. And that also applies to televisions. Humans have three types of cones that enable us to see red, blue, green, and yellow.
On the other hand, dogs are dichromats and can only detect blue and yellow. So, for the most part, your dog will see a mix of flickering images with low-key colors.
Also, remember that dogs have a sense of hearing that’s way better than that of humans. So, your pooch will be able to accurately distinguish the voice of Alec Baldwin in Saturday Night Live from that of wild dogs prowling the plains of Africa.
Another thing worth noting is that dogs are more driven towards movement as opposed to static images. So, even if you’re watching the Nat Geo channel, you’ll realize that your pooch responds more intensely to images of a cheetah in a high-speed chase than that of a fish gently gliding through the ocean.
The fact that their eyes are located towards the side of their heads enhances dogs’ peripheral vision, making them even more adept at detecting tiny movements.
Reasons Why Dogs Bark At the TV
After learning how dogs perceive the world, the next thing to do is familiarize yourself with all the possible reasons why your pooch could be barking at the television.
Once you understand the reasons, it will be easier to know how to get your dog to stop barking at the TV.
The following are some of the reasons why dogs bark at the TV.
1. They’re excited
Barking is one of the many ways dogs demonstrate their excitement, and the television presents tons of excitement for them.
The sights and sounds of too many people, animals, or machinery concentrated in one place is likely to amuse your pooch.
When he cannot hold back his excitement, your dog will start to bark in response to the flickering images on television.
2. They’re anxious
While some dogs bark at the television out of excitement, others do so due to anxiety. For instance, the sight of many people or animals walking fast ‘in the dog’s direction’ might get him nervous.
The dog may begin to wonder whether the images on TV will eventually pop out and get him. You might even see him running around the TV, ostensibly to find the dog ‘hiding behind the television box.’
Common sights and sounds that may trigger anxiety in dogs include those of quirkily-dressed people, other dogs, larger animals like rhinos, smaller animals like serpents and spiders, car crashes, fireworks, thunderstorms, etc.
Also, it’s worth noting that dogs identify objects primarily by using their sense of smell. So, your pooch may be wondering why there are so many people or animals right in front of him yet he can’t pick up their smells.
3. They’re curious
Dogs may not be as curious as cats are. However, certain dogs are highly inquisitive and will want to respond to anything that takes place on television. Barking is one way such dogs demonstrate their television curiosity.
4. They’re frustrated
You already know how frustrating it can be to watch a television program or movie with numerous suspenseful episodes. Dogs also go through their own frustrations while watching the TV.
For instance, your pooch may wonder why he can’t seem to get that pesky dog barking incessantly on the television. The more the television dog barks, the more frustrated your dog becomes.
5. They’re bored
Boredom and loneliness might cause your dog to bark at anything, including the television.
It’s not like the dog finds the television fun to watch. It’s only that he has nothing better to do.
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6. They’re protecting you
Dogs may also perceive certain sights and sounds on television as threats to you. As such, they may bark in a bid to alert you to the perceived danger.
7. They’re socializing
If your dog is the social type, he may bark at the television as a way of reacting to other dogs on walks or in the dog park.
This is most common among dogs that don’t interact with other dogs frequently enough.
8. Attention-seeking behavior
Sometimes, your dog might be barking at the television as a way of drawing your attention to him. Maybe you’ve been watching the TV for hours and forgot to feed your pooch.
So, to remind you of your obligation, the animal will come right up to you and then begin barking while facing the television. After all, it’s the TV making you forget to feed him, right.
So, you might have wondered to yourself from time to time, ‘my dog barks at me when I watch TV, what could the problem be?’ Well, there might be a little obligation that you’ve not fulfilled, which your pooch is trying to draw your attention to.
9. Strong predatory drive
Dogs are inherently hunting animals and as such, they have a very strong predatory drive. To most dogs, the sight of wildebeest calves frolicking around on TV is enough to trigger their prey drive.
But since the dog cannot go after the animal, he will most likely respond by barking at it.
10. Misplaced aggression
Some dogs bark at the television as a way of redirecting their aggression. Perhaps you’ve just yelled at Rover but since he cannot confront you, he turns his anger on the next loudest thing in the house – your TV.
How Do You Stop a Dog Barking At the Television?
The following are some of the methods on how to stop your dog barking at the television;
1. Train the dog
Many dogs bark at the television because they’ve not been duly trained to view the TV as a normal gadget in the house. For such dogs, proper training can go a long way in helping them stop barking at the TV.
You can then proceed with the training as follows;
i. Invite your dog into a quiet living room and have him sit there for several minutes,/u>. Ensure that there are no distractions at all.
ii. Turn on the TV and observe the animal’s reaction. Some dogs will bark at anything and everything that happens on TV, whereas others will only bark at specific sights and sounds.
iii. To be sure that your pooch is barking at the television and not anything else, turn the TV off and then back on. His pattern of behavior should be consistent.
iv. If the dog’s response to the television is too intense, consider having him on a leash before you proceed with the training.
v. Introduce the ‘stop’ command by saying ‘stop’ the moment your dog starts to bark at the TV. You can also try to hold him down and give him a gentle head rub as you ask him to stop barking. Note that you may not achieve any meaningful results on the first day.
vi. Repeat the process until your dog is able to stay calm with the television on.
vii. At this point, introduce a treat as positive reinforcement. The timing of the treat should coincide with the animal’s calm behavior. That way, the dog will know that he only gets a treat if he doesn’t bark at the TV.
Remember that training goes hand in hand with socialization. So, as you train your pooch to stop barking at the television, also ensure that he’s well-socialized by allowing him to interact freely with your neighbors. You can also schedule routine visits to the dog park and let him interact with other dogs.
2. Invest in positive distractions
Another way you can prevent your dog from barking at the television is by distracting the animal.
For instance, throw a ball into the garden as soon as the dog begins to bark at the TV and command him to go fetch it. By the time the animal gets back, he may not be so charged up.
Another way you can distract your dog is by giving him a bone to chew. You should preferably place the bone in the same room as your television. That way, the dog will be chewing on it while at the same time getting used to the sights and sounds coming from the TV.
3. Invest in enough stimulation
It’s not unusual to come across dog owners wondering, ‘I’m struggling to learn how to stop my pug from barking at the TV, what should I do?’
Well, what most of these dog owners don’t realize is that some dogs bark at the television due to insufficient physical and mental stimulation.
Note that inadequate exercise leads to pent-up energy in dogs. Too much physical energy in a dog and not enough ways to release it is a recipe for disaster. The dog may resort to barking at the television as a way of releasing that energy.
Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can tire your dog down and prevent him from barking at the TV.
For starters, you can go for early-morning runs together or have your pooch join you in your mid-morning workouts. Other physical activities that you can participate in with your dog include swimming and playing the game of fetch.
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Most importantly, consider exercising the dog right before watching television.
As you take care of the dog’s physical needs, also consider his mental and emotional needs. Supply the dog with plenty of interactive toys, such as puzzle toys and ball launchers. Also, be sure to spend quality time with your pooch frequently enough so that he doesn’t miss you while you’re right there watching the TV.
Physical and mental stimulation will help to address many of the reasons why dogs bark at the TV, including boredom, loneliness, curiosity, excitement, frustration, and misplaced aggression.
4. Take drastic measures
At times, you may require drastic measures to stop your dog from barking at the television.
For instance, if you’ve always wondered how to stop a dog barking at animals on the TV, your best bet would be to stop watching animal channels.
You might also consider muting the sound to see what happens.
Another drastic measure is switching off the television altogether. However, note that this is only a temporary measure and may not solve the problem in the long run.
There are numerous reasons why dogs bark at the television. Fortunately, there are equally many tips that you can implement to stop or prevent this behavior. As a parting shot, remember to visit your vet if everything else fails.
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