There are those who think that leaving the TV on when you leave the house can be good company for your dog. And instead this habit could be decidedly counterproductive, even more so for specimens suffering from separation anxiety.
For a dog who stays at home all day alone, the TV on is absolutely not a distraction. According to science, the television on does not bring any benefit, on the contrary, it can trigger anxieties. This is because dogs don’t see images the same way we humans do. And sudden noises can cause confusion and generate unjustified anxieties and fears.
As geneticist Camilli Chamone explains, “A human’s vision captures video at a frequency of 60 hertz. For a dog, that frequency should be 80 hertz. a continuous video but they look like overlapping photos that scroll at super speed”. And if a dog is bombarded with so many images “the release of a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine is stimulated which, in turn, produces hyperstimulation of the central nervous system. This leaves the animal even more agitated, with hyperactive behaviors – such as barking too much , destroying objects, compulsive licking or running wildly around the house, especially at the end of the day – and difficulty relaxing.”
Much then depends “on the associations that the animal makes to certain situations, and this goes for TV as well as for radio and music”. According to behavioral trainer André Almeida, “the dog can have different reactions to the same music if he is alone or next to his master”. And also according to his experience “the visual stimulus that can increase the pet’s anxiety”.
Instead of turning on the TV, one way to stimulate your dog positively during your absence from home is “let him sniff, a natural behavior for him that involves smell, his main sense”. The owner can “enrich the environment by hiding snacks around the house for example, putting the furry’s sense of smell to work. Unlike visual hyperstimulation, olfactory stimulation produces relaxation of the central nervous system. So if you want your dog stay calm in your absence, you have to focus on smell, not on sight”, he concludes.