Lhasa apso dog watching a movie at the cinema

Why does my dog bark at animals on TV?

Discover why dogs, like our very own Poppy, bark at animals on TV and learn practical tips for managing this instinctive behaviour, ensuring a more peaceful TV viewing experience for you and your furry friend.

If your dog, like our beloved Poppy, can’t help but bark at animals on the screen, you’re not alone! Rooted in canine instincts, this fascinating reaction is something many dog owners experience. In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons behind it and offer tips on how to manage your dog’s TV time.

Understanding your dog’s reaction to animals on TV

There are several factors that contribute to your dog’s response to animals on television:

Instinctive behaviour

Dogs are naturally alert and responsive to their environment. When they see animals on TV, their innate predatory instincts may be triggered, prompting them to bark, growl, or even lunge at the screen.

Perception of threat

Your dog may perceive the animals on TV as a potential threat to their territory or family. This can cause them to exhibit protective behaviours, including barking and displaying aggression.

Curiosity and excitement

Some dogs may simply be curious or excited by the sights and sounds of animals on television. They may bark or vocalise to express their interest or enthusiasm.

How to manage your dog’s barking at the TV

If your dog’s reaction to animals on TV is causing disruption or stress, consider implementing these strategies to help manage their behaviour:

Redirect Their Attention

When your dog begins to react to animals on the screen, redirect their focus by offering a toy, treat, or engaging them in a game. Over time, this can help to break their habit of barking at the TV.

Create a calm environment

Reduce your dog’s stress levels by creating a calm and comfortable environment when watching television. Dim the lights, lower the volume, and encourage your dog to settle down with a comfortable bed or blanket.

Use positive reinforcement

Reward your dog with treats and praise when they remain calm and quiet during TV time. This can help reinforce good behaviour and discourage barking.

Consider professional help

If your dog’s barking at the TV is excessive or causing distress, it may be helpful to consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. They can provide tailored advice and support to help manage your dog’s reactions to animals on television.

Final thoughts

Your dog’s barking at animals on TV is a natural and instinctive behaviour, but it can be managed with patience, understanding, and consistent training. By implementing the strategies outlined above, you can help your dog develop better habits and enjoy a more peaceful TV viewing experience together.


  • We too have a Lhsa Apso who loves watching T.V. He also reacts to theme songs that precede certain programs and commercials. Jumping and barking are all part of our nightly routine, as we have decided not to discourage this breed characteristic. His sister, a Shih Tzu, always joins the fun…

  • I have a female cavoodle that growls and rushes to the tv screen when any animal appears.
    She’s such a gentle girl, and is friendly with other dogs, so it’s a bit of a mystery why she doesn’t like the animals on tv.
    She does try to look around the back to see where they’ve gone.
    Honestly, it doesn’t bother me, I think it’s amazing she knows the difference between humans and animals on tv.

  • Our 2.8 pound Maltese loves to watch TV, who’s a year and a half. She barks at cats, dogs, pigs, horses, basically all animals, Charmin Bears, Energizer Bunny and other cartoons. She barks and lunges toward TV and she is very/seriously protective. I am excited to see this article. I will try training, calming and distracting her.

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