Ziggy? Can you see me?

ziggers.pngMy dog Ziggy is one of my truest friends. Go ahead, laugh! But I know all of you dog lovers out there can agree. They don't get mad at you if you come home late nor do they hold a grudge if you break a promise. They don't give a double take if your in sweats (with no makeup on) nor do they ever interrupt; they just snuggle up next to you and listen. But now that I am away in State College, Ziggy is hours away at home in NJ. So, when making the occasional FaceTime call to my parents I can't help but ask for Ziggy to be put on camera. This is where the problem occurs: No matter how much I call his name or wave my arms around, he can't seem to see me! This confuses me because he takes notice of the TV all the time. So what is it about TV screens that allows dogs to see it? And how come it doesn't parallel with computer screens? I was one pet owner who was determined to find out.

Turns out, dogs are able to see what is happening on television because of today's modern technology. Ernst Otto Ropstad, a specialist in animal vision, conqurs that "Fusing a rapid set of images into what our eyes register as a moving picture is called flicker fusion frequency. New TVs are much smoother than old TVs, which could only produce up to 50 new frames a second." This is what enables dogs to see what is occurring on TV just as we humans do (of course without the same range of color). 

However, "We humans need about 16 to 20 images a second to perceive what we see as continuous film, whereas dogs need about 70 images per second."(Korneliussen,ScienceNordic). Therefore it is concluded that canines need a certain number of frames per second in order to view television as we humans do. With today's technological advancements (HDTV/clearer pictures) this is now able to happen. This article here explains how a TV channel in Israel was even made for dogs!

So where does the difference occur between dogs being able to see television screens, but not computer monitors? After some researching, I think I may have found my answer. Because dogs only have 2 cone cells, they are limited to the amount of details they can percieve. Since TVs are normally larger than computers, dogs can see more details and recognize images on TVs rather than computers. Also, in regards to the information listed above, computer screens are less likely to have as clear a picture as TVs do. If any of you have ever FaceTime'ed or Oovoo'ed, you're probably familiar with the images of loved ones appearing in distorted pixels. The frames per second are also much lower than that of a TVs. With these details being said, I think it is possible to conclude that dogs are able to "watch" TV because of their large and clear picture. Canines struggle with being able to interpret what is seen on computers because of their smaller size and lack of clearer picture. 

So I guess we'll just have to wait till Thanksgiving break Ziggy...

  • Korneliussen, Ida. "Do Dogs See What's Happening on TV?" Sciencenordic.com. N.p., 18 Dec. 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
  • Leichman, Abigail Klein. "The US Is Going to the Dogs – Israeli DogTV, That Is." ISRAEL21c. N.p., 16 July 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.


This a very interesting topics for dog and human psychology too. I read a few blogs where they talk about kids in college being able to see them in college via facetime and skype and it is really surprising for me because as you just mentioned in your blog dogs cannot see smaller screens but can see bigger screens. So I did some digging of my own and turns out that some dogs only see the motion on the screen and some can see the screen in black and white and some can see colors which are different than the colors seen by humans. It all depends on the breed of the dog. I think this is great topic in biology where we have not made much progress and would be something very interesting. Here is the link to the interview with the Animal Behaviorist who made these observations: http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s953902.htm

I'm so happy you wrote about this! I try to Skype with my dogs all the time, and it bothers me that they never seem to look at me! One of my dogs will recognize my voice though, at least I think he does. If I say his name high-pitched and excited like I would at home, he cocks his head to the side.
It's so interesting that dogs have completely different eyesight than humans. I wonder what it would be like to see like a dog after seeing like a human. I found an article that shows different pictures comparing human and dog eyesight. It's so strange!

I am a sucker for puppies and do admit that I FaceTime my dog at least once a month. I'm also from New Jersey and being so far from my dog kills me! I would face the same problems, Pauly could hear my voice, but never looked right into the camera. It's as if he didn't recognize me!
This topic choice is so interesting. Not only did you present your main focus, but you compared it to another similar topic. My dog loves the TV. When he sees a dog on the screen he immediately cries and runs toward it. I wish he would do that when he sees me on FaceTime, but now I understand why that isn't possible.
This video shows a pup clearly recognizing a fellow dog on screen! How cute!

I loved this post! I can completely relate, I'm so obsessed with my dog it's not even funny. The last time I skyped with my parents I asked them to put my dog on and it was the same thing, she could hear me but didn't know where my voice was coming from. I've always noticed that my dog would "watch" tv, though I never even thought about much different in size/clarity a computer screen is from a tv. Going off of the idea of dogs watching tv, I found an article that introduces an interesting idea. Some dogs react to seeing other dogs on the tv, while others do not. Essentially it comes down to that specific dog's vision and its ability to distinguish moving objects. I've written a few posts on dogs already for this class, something about them is just so interesting to me!

Here is the article I mentioned:

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