Do Labs Watch TV? Do They Like Watching TV? (Explained)

By Benjamin Tash

Have you ever had your Lab staring intently at the TV screen from time to time? Or do you take joy in watching your curious Lab as it moves its head from side to side when it watches the TV? Also, are you curious if it’s normal for your Lab to not have any interest on TV screens?

Or do you have to wipe the dog slobber off the TV screen every now and then for how much they love the TV program? Labradors are well-known for their curiosity and it’s no different when it comes to TV screens.

So Here’s Whether Or Not Labs Like Watching TV:

Labradors are able to watch TV and they seem to love certain programs over the other. On the other hand, some Labs wouldn’t even bother watching TV no matter how interesting or alluring the TV content is. And this is perfectly normal — as each individual dog is unique and has its own preferences. To top it off, modern day LCD TVs have a much lower flicker rate (motion blur rate) that are visible to a Lab’s eye — so it’s no surprise why more Labradors seem keen on watching TV now more than ever before.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons and factors behind their inclination towards TV screens (and if not, why) so that you can better understand your Lab — as every dog breeds are different and unique.

26411809039 d9f0cccdf9 z 1
cc Marco Verch

3 Main Reasons Why Labs Do Like Watching TV

1) Modern day high end LCD TVs have a much higher refresh rate of 120Hz to 240Hz.

A part of the reason why Labs, in particular, have shown much interest in watching TV primarily has to do with modern day high-end LCD TVs that have a higher refresh rate of 120Hz and beyond. To a Lab’s view, that sort of a motion rate comes off as sleek and has better fluidity compared to the older versions of TVs, hence a better interactivity.

A dog’s typical flicker rate threshold stands at around 75Hz according to a study and that may have explained why older TVs (which typically has a refresh rate of 60Hz) may not seem as realistic and interesting to a Lab’s view as it comes across as choppy and distorted.

Also, Labradors are known to have a much sharper and better vision compared to other dog breeds as they have been bred for hunting & retrieving in the waters that requires a good eyesight. 

While most dog breeds fare at a 20/70 vision range, Labradors have an almost perfect 20/20 vision – coupled with a better depth perception ability thanks to their reduced eye spacing.

Read Also: Do Labradors Have Good Eyesight? (A Detailed Explanation)

2) Bonding experience with their owners

As people-pleasing dogs, Labradors also love watching TV as a way of fostering closer bond with their owners as they love picking up on their owner’s emotions and reactions. It’s been scientifically proven that dogs love imitating their human owners and as social dogs, Labradors love being in close proximity to us and that explains why they too, have picked up on the habit of watching TV along with us.

Labradors may also have been positively reinforced to find enjoyment in watching TV together with their owners as they’ve been rewarded with attention and treats whenever they try to keep their owners company in the living room. And they’ve grown accustomed to watching TV together overtime.

Read also: Why Are Labradors So Loyal? (Explained)

3) Mentally-stimulating

Labradors may also have an inkling for watching TV due to the fast-paced visuals with improved motion quality, alongside a high resolution audio systems of modern day TVs.

Labradors, in particular have better vision and hearing compared to other breeds according to a study, and that may have contributed to why they tend find certain TV programs to be highly engaging, stimulating and interesting — especially when they are bored and mentally understimulated at home.

Check also: Why Are Labradors So Goofy? (8 Goofy Labrador Behaviors Explained)

What Kind of TV Programs Are Mentally Stimulating For Labradors?

Most Labradors would find any TV shows that depict other animals or dogs, nature and any fast-paced visuals such as a football games as mentally stimulating. This is particularly because it activates their hunting instincts whenever they are presented with real-life like visuals of other animals or triggered objects such as balls.

Also, the depiction of nature like visuals is somewhat familiar to them, depending on their outdoor exposure in their walks. Speaking from experience, they will typically find those 3 types of visuals mentioned above as highly engaging and interesting.

Due to a higher refreshing rate of modern day LCD TVs, combined with the exceptional eyesight of Labradors — they may perceive other animals on TV as potential predators or prey. Hence the barking and overreaction you’d tend see when they encounter animals on TV.

But this usually isn’t much of an issue as Labradors usually perceive threat through a combination of smell, vision and hearing and with the absence of scent as an adjunct, they are well aware that the threat or the animal is non-existent or behind a “barrier” so to speak.

But it does mentally stimulate them as they get excited or triggered over the prospect of seeing other animals as Labs are social creatures by default.

Coupled with a large and well-developed auditory cortex, Labradors do pick up on higher frequencies that are beyond the range of human and other dog breeds’ hearing capabilities.

That may also be the reason why they tend to react to barks and all other distinctive animal sounds on the TV that may have otherwise been ignored by other dog breeds.

You might also be interested in Why Are Labradors So Clumsy? (What To Do About It?)

Is It Good For Their Eyes To Be Glued On The TV For Hours?

No. Labradors are high energy dogs that require copious amounts of physical activity and mental stimulation. Leaving them to watch the TV for longer periods compromises their required physical exercise routines, as well as other daily activities. The last thing you’ll ever want for your Lab is to turn it into a couch potato. Ideally, Labs should only watch TV with you as part of a bonding session.

Besides, watching too much TV is just as bad for Labs as it is for humans – if not more. This is because though modern day TVs are equipped with a high refreshing rate of 240Hz and beyond which actually reduces the flicker rate, a dog’s eye has higher flicker rate threshold.

And too much of a screen time may cause eye strain and discomfort for your pooch’s eyes — especially if they watch TV in a dimly lit living room.

If your dog has a knack for watching TV, you may want to ensure that there’s adequate lighting for the TV viewing experience as well as to not let them watch the TV too close.

Keep them at a comfortable viewing distance and at the same time, monitor for any eye discomfort or any stress your pooch may get caught up on from the content they’re watching.

Should You Leave The TV On For Your Lab?

I wouldn’t recommend you leaving it on when you’re completely out of reach with your dog. It also depends on how reactive your pooch is to the content of the TV. And you’ll never know what your Lab may be triggered by on what’s presented on the TV — especially when you’re away and not monitoring them.

I had an instance where my dog had knocked the TV down from the cabinet when I was away, and I suspect it had everything to do with the birds that randomly popped up on the screen in a nature show. So I’ve never left the TV on eversince.

Apart from the eye strain your pooch may potentially suffer from since they love watching TV from a near distance, TV programs may also be a huge form of distraction for your Lab from engaging in mental stimulation and physical activities around the house or yard.

If you’re keen on wanting to keep your Lab comfort when you’re away, try the following:

  • Leave relaxing nature-themed sounds on
  • Keep them mentally stimulated with chewing toys or interactive puzzle toys. (Amazon)
  • Hire a dog walker you personally know to take care of your pooch’s exercise needs when you’re away
  • Or provide plenty of space for your dog to walk around or to play in the yard with tons of activities it can engage with, i.e., automatic fetchers, dig box or with an outdoor obstacle course. (Amazon).

Other Articles You’ll Enjoy:


Artificial Light & TV – Labradors Forums

Watching TV | Labradors Forums

Anybody else’s dog watch tv intently? | Rokslide Forum