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Published:February 23rd, 2012 10:57 EST
DogTV: Your Pet's Best Friend

DogTV: Your Pet's Best Friend

By Donna Cavanagh

There are 78 million dogs in the US, and many are latch key dogs " left at home while their owners do the unforgivable: go out and earn a living to keep them in designer dog food and duds.  But there is hope for these pooches. Now, they have their own cable TV channel that will entertain and calm them while their human parents are out of the house.

Yes, DogTV was introduced to Time Warner and Cox customers in San Diego last week. The channel has more than 800 programs, each lasting three to five minutes (the attention span of a normal canine or any man married for more than two years), which are designed to relax and stimulate dogs. The shows focus on themes such as car rides, playtime in the park and even an episode or two showing dogs resting. Yes, the new channel has programming for every canine taste.

So, what does this cost the cable subscriber? Well, if you are lucky enough to live in the test area, you can have DogTV for free for the next few weeks, but that is only a trial period. Eventually, subscribers will pay an additional $5 per month for the channel.  If you don`t live in San Diego, don`t growl. DogTV is in talks with cable providers around the country to make the channel available for many market regions over the next few months.

Okay, I have to admit that I will leave my TVs on timers when I have to be away overnight. I will even leave on the radio to provide soothing music for my dogs so they don`t get nervous when I am gone. I have purchased the Thundershirt, which calms the dogs when it is wrapped around them and is helpful when I have to take them to the vet or groomers, but I will NOT pay for their own cable channel. It took me 20 damn years to get my husband to agree to HBO. I am not cutting back on my bill so that my dogs can watch professional dog actors ham up the screen.  While science thinks this might be a good idea for dogs whose owners do work outside the home, allow me to give you my unscientific reasons why this channel will cause more harm than good:

1) Dogs, especially female dogs, will look at the actor dogs and think, "I should have that figure. What food does she eat?" Or "Wow, she has such a beautiful coat. What kind of shampoo does she use?"  And everyday dogs will not understand that the studios pay for specialty food and groomers to make the actor dogs look that great. Plus I am sure those dogs are airbrushed.  My dogs will want me to spend the extra money on designer food and expensive dog shampoo to make them look just like the actors, and in this economy, that is not going to happen.  So, the calm that DogTV hopes to deliver might be shattered by a bunch of Cujo dogs who don`t understand why they are poor and still get knots in their coat.

2) While the original shows are scripted for professional dog actors, it will only be a matter of time until Reality Dog shows hit the airwaves, and we will be besieged with shows such as The Bitches of Orange County;  Stray Dogs: Nightmare on Elm Street; and Jersey Kennels: What really goes on when parents are on vacation.  With human parents out of the house, and dogs in charge of the remote, how will our dogs differentiate between Snooki Schnauzer and the real dogs who live in New Jersey?  It will be impossible.

Will I take the trial period for DogTV when it is offered?  Well, I guess, but not without telling my pooches that there is no extra room in the cable bill for this channel unless they go out and get part-time jobs or maybe have a yard sale and sell some of their toys. If they are willing to contribute, I might consider it, but I still have final say on what they can watch on their channel.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/46409257/ns/today-today_pets_and_animals/t/tails-wag-over-new-cable-network-dogs/

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons