Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dog Companion DVDs

If you're like me and a majority of other dog owners, often your dog companion needs to be left home alone (unless you live in France where it's kosher to bring your dog everywhere- including the supermarket. No joke- I've seen it first hand!). Enter The Dog Companion DVDs!

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We received "Dog Farm Adventure" and "Dog Friend at Home Adventure" two Christmases ago as a practical joke gift from my parents, only to discover that they did actually entertain Paddington! The true guilty dog parent purchase, I have to admit that occasionally whenever I have to pop out to do a quick errand or go to the gym I switch this on for Paddington as it makes me feel slightly less bad that I'm leaving her unattended.

The premise of both DVDs is simple- sights and sounds that will capture the interest of your canine companions or distract them from your absence. Created by animal behaviorist Dr. Stanley Coren who has a show on The Pet Network (which I've never seen), each video "[incorporates] interesting images, familiar sounds and music for dogs." Coined "the virtual pet sitter," you can pick a continuous repeat setting that will allow the DVD to run until you turn it off. The DVDs also feature other menu options that allow you to pick specific scenes or set it up to play segments randomly.

Each DVD that we've watched also had a "desensitization track" which is meant to help dogs adapt to sounds like doorbells, knocking, etc. While the site claims that "most dogs will react more calmly to similar stimuli within a couple of days," we can't vouch for this as we've never tried it (nor did we really have a need to). This definitely may be helpful for people who have dogs that are triggered by these sounds- but if your dog has a serious anxiety problem we could see it making the problem slightly worse in your absence.

The camera angles are all from the canine perspective (the Dog Farm Adventure video is hilarious) and are accompanied by a soothing classical soundtrack. Additional sounds include human voices, animal noises (depending on which DVD you're watching), and familiar household sounds all over a classical music soundtrack.

Segments on the DVDs that we've seen have included: a room full of puppies (really adorable- especially if you appreciated the Shiba Inu camera that was live last year), a dog pulling a cart full of kittens, a car trip and a visit to the petting zoo (which is pretty funny from the dog angle!).

While I can't vouch for the site's "scientifically produced" claim- it did in fact have my dog sitting in front of the TV and sniffing the speakers. While not all scenes always capture her attention, for the most part she has an interest in what's going on.

The DVDs are slightly expensive for what they are at $19.95 CAD, especially considering that the video and editing is definitely on the amateur side (this was clearly filmed by Dr. Coren and his family on a handheld camera... around his house... and his neighborhood- okay, so this does kind of make the DVDs slightly voyeuristic and sketchy...), but if your dog already gets entertainment out of TV (not all dogs do- one of my dogs had no interest in watching the DVDs whatsoever), they're worth a try!

Available from for $19.95 CAD titles include, "Dog Farm Adventure," "Dog Friend at Home Adventure," "Dog Park Aventure," and "Dog Sport Show Adventure." Multiple DVD deals are available (after all, variety is the spice of life!).

xoxo The Barkistas
Disclaimer: We received these as a Christmas gift from Barkzilla's grandparents. Please see our disclaimer for more information. 

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