Are Pets Binge-TV Watchers?

The thought occurred to me that my conure needs round-the-clock company.  So when we leave him home-alone, we usually keep the TV on. I've tried a number of channels that will interest him, but the one that works the best is the "music channels." This has also provided me with the opportunity to teach him to say the word "music" to see if he can begin to make the association? This works with other words we have taught him. For instance, if he hears the words "What's Up?" or "Good Night," he will begin to repeat them because they are already in his vocabulary. So, I thought I'd conduct a little more research to learn whether or not pets, in general, are binge-watchers?

Bird Boredom

The Spruce Pets' Ashely Kalhagen notes that "Birds are extremely smart and emotionally sensitive animals. Because of that, however, pet birds—especially the highly intelligent kinds like parrots—can get bored if they're not engaged regularly."

Songs for the Birds

In general, all birds are interested in different sounds and noises. So it makes sense, that leaving the television on will help to keep them happy, occupied, and engaged. It works sort of like a human-surrogate when you can't be around 24/7.

Kalhagens says you can "even log the types of music that your bird responds to the most, or check out some of these popular songs about birds to make a custom playlist for your pet bird."

If you agree that these songs work, it appears that an appreciation of music isn't just for the songbirds. It also reinforces the belief that music is a universal language, not only for humans but birds as well.

Dogged-TV Watchers

Dogs react to the same things they are attracted to in the TV room. This would include barking, squeaking toys, or the common commands of "sit." "roll-over," etc.

In a study published in Animal Cognition in 2013, several canines were observed to see if they could select the face of another dog—regardless of breed—on a computer screen instead of another animal or a person.

The dogs were rewarded with treats after they selected correctly. Though the sample size was small [9 dogs], the study did show that dogs can recognize other dogs on a screen. (Which you likely already knew if you’ve ever observed your dog suddenly on alert when a pooch appears on the tube.)

High Definition

Dogs process the frame rate, or “flicker fusion frequency,” of screens differently than humans. People can detect movement at 16 to 20 frames per second. Dogs require 70 frames per second or more. If they’re looking at an older television, it might resemble a flipbook or even a strobe light effect to them. On the other hand, newer sets have a faster frame rate, which is why dogs might be more interested in your high-definition television.


Unfortunately, I was unable to uncover any research on binge-watching for any of our pets. In fact, just the reverse. Dogs and birds are much more interested in what's going on in real-world, than what's catching our eye on the TV. That's food for thought for many of us who are addicted to sitting in front of the boob tube. Perhaps if we cut down on our binge-watching, we could invest more quality time interacting with our pets. After all, isn't that one of the reasons you chose them to begin with?

And for all you binge-watchers out there, if you can't break away from catching up on Game of Thrones, or Billions, don't forget to do it with your pet in your lap, or at least close by.

PRIMARY SOURCE: "TV Watching Is For The Birds"