Now, according to a press release, a new citizen-science study led by a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor is asking dog owners to help shed some light on dog viewing habits, including what dogs like to watch on television.
The results of the research could actually lay the groundwork for developing better ways of assessing vision in dogs.
“The overarching goal in this study is to figure out what dogs like to watch on television,” says Freya Mowat, a veterinary clinician-scientist in the press release. “This is interesting from a dog behavior standpoint, but as dog vision researchers, we also want to develop engaging methods to test dog vision in either the home or clinic, which we currently just do not have.”
Mowat, an assistant professor at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Surgical Sciences and the School of Medicine and Public Health’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, says previous efforts to develop an eye test for dogs have resulted in more than a few “epic fails.”
But Mowat believes videos could potentially be the key to holding a dog’s attention long enough to gather and assess critical information about visual function. The trick is determining the type of content that’s most engaging and appealing to dogs.
Mowat is seeking individuals and their canine companions from all over the world to participate in a “Dog TV” survey. The questionnaire asks people to provide information on their dog’s screen-viewing habits, as well as information about the dog’s age, sex, breed, and where they live.
Participants can also take the optional step of showing their pooch four short videos of subjects potentially of interest to dogs, such as objects and other animals. People will then rate their dog’s interest in each video and how closely the dog tracked the moving objects in the videos.
Mowat says the research is designed to be fun for both dogs and their humans. The hope is that responses will be in the thousands from individuals across the world so that there will be a better understanding if dog’s interest vary or remain fairly much the same regardless of location.
To take part and help advance vision research, Click here to answer the questionnaire, which will take approximately 10 to 20 minutes.