Does Leaving the TV on for My Puppy Help Him?

Leaving the TV on might distract your pup from your tasty shoes.
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To puppies, you are the best toy around -- you walk your puppy, play with him, feed him and snuggle with him. When you're not home, he might decide to destroy your property unless he's otherwise occupied. Using the television as a distraction can help alleviate his boredom.

Can Dogs Watch TV?

Leaving the TV on for your pup won't make him sit for hours catching up on the soaps. Although dogs can see flickers of images on the television, they don't perceive images the same way we do -- they see broken pieces of movement rather than a continuous stream. Also, the TV doesn't produce smells along with sights and sounds, which means dogs aren't going to pay as much attention as they do when they do in the presence of actual stimuli.

Ambient Noise

Your pup might not be glued to the tube, but the noise made by the television can make him feel more at home and comfortable rather than anxious that you're gone. When the house is quiet, your puppy might feel lonely and bored. He might bark at every outside noise and annoy your neighbors, or he could decide the couch cushion is much more interesting when it's shredded all over your floor. He's used to hearing you make noise and talk to him, and having the TV in the background can help keep him calm. This doesn't work with all dogs; according to the Cesar's Way website, it depends on what senses are most prominent with your dogs. If he relies most heavily on his sense of smell, it might not matter whether the TV is on. But if he uses his hearing prominently, the ambient noise of the television can keep him from being anxious when home alone.


A positive trait about the TV is that the noise and pictures are constantly changing. Your pup might be enjoying a nice gnaw on a rawhide bone when he suddenly hears a dog barking on TV. He's instantly distracted, turning to look at the television or investigate the source of the sound. Puppies don't have long attention spans, so distractions can keep him on his toes and out of trouble. The more he's distracted, the less likely he is to seek out items of yours to destroy.

Other Options

There's no replacement for making sure your puppy gets enough exercise. Taking him on long walks and giving him plenty of play time helps wear him out, meaning he'll be calmer when you're gone. Directing him to appropriate toys when you're home helps him decide to play with those toys when you're not home rather than chew on your shoes. If you believe noise will help him stay calm but you don't like leaving the TV on, try a white noise machine or use music, such as classical music or CDs designed with dogs in mind.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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