Proof My Alaskan Malamute Dog Really Watches TV

Statistics say (according to the American Kennel Club) that 87% of pet owners say that their pets watch TV. Now I find that hard to believe – or at least I DID until last week. However, I have to point out here (and I am not just a LITTLE prejudiced mind you) that my dog is something special as you can see by the videos. He not only watched TV but he appropriately got up and left the building so to speak during the commercials and then promptly came back and started watching it again when the program resumed!

Don’t let Griffin hear this but I’m beginning to think we have one sharp cookie in this package! (I'm also hoping he doesn't get on here and read this because then he's going to know I'm bragging him up and his head will really get big!)

The TV at our house is on ad nauseum (sometimes in my humble opinion). Bob is a sports junkie. He is a news junkie and he is a movie junkie. He is also a sports program junkie, a how things are made junkie….pretty much a TV junkie! That is his way of tuning out so to speak and relaxing whereas I like to pick up a book or listen to music or cook or combine all the above.

My point here is that the TV being on is not a new thing.

Our dogs are malamute – therefore they are by definition part of the family. They consistently ‘insist’ on coming into the house and being a part of our lives – something we have always enjoyed so no matter if I’m cooking or reading or we are watching TV, for any given part of the day or evening, we have our malamute ‘rugs’ in the house with us.

Well, on this particular evening, Bob became engrossed from the beginning of this show called the Bear Whisperer. Apparently so did our little Griffin, who is a 7-1/2 month old Alaskan malamute by the way. I have heard a lot of descriptions of the breed but none have included thus far watching TV! I had retired to the bedroom to go read a book and relax with our other malamute who is my faithful companion on cold, stormy nights and Denaya was happily sleeping away when I saw out of the corner of my eye Bob frantically waving his hands at me from the living room. I quietly crept to the door to see what was the matter and much to my delight, there was Griffin watching TV. A star was born! I happened to have my handy dandy FLIP video camera sitting on my night stand, so the rest is history.

I quietly crept out and sat on the love seat and watched to see how long this was going to go on, thinking it would only be a few minutes before he lost interest and went in search of toys or mischief as he is known to do! You cannot have enough eyes in the back OR front of your head for a 7-1/2 month old malamute in the house! (Things like loaves of bread disappear or hats suddenly come in 2 parts –or the front part of your upholstered dining room chair is missing - little things like that – and all in about 2 bloody seconds)!

So I sat there watching Griffin watch TV but what captivated me was he was not only watching, but it seemed like he was ‘absorbing’ this! His head movements, the way he focused on the huge bear ambling about and then his almost EMPATHY in the plight of this poor misplaced bear. I could not tell to be honest if he was mesmerized by this man’s low, melodious voice or if he was truly trying to puzzle out in his dog mind what kind of a huge DOG this was on the screen! Or if he truly was absorbing this whole program and feeling badly for the bears.

The funniest thing though was that except for a few brief moments when Bob was putting Denaya to bed later on in the show, Griffin remained completely and utterly fixated on this program – he ended up watching it for 30-45 minutes except for the times he got up at the commercial breaks. Why he knew to get up during those times was also a puzzle. The change in volume or the change in excitement on the screen triggered it? Who knows! I asked him but he didn’t feel like talking about it apparently!

Once Denaya left, the program turned to the plight of another bear and how they were probably going to be shooting the bear – maybe even a kill order. And now comes the craziest part of all – Griffin has been watching the bear that was trapped in a drainage pipe on the golf course and had been totally engrossed in that, yes – but not apparently upset (even though they fired darts at him and some benign explosives to get him to leave). But when the part of the show switched to the kill order possibly being leveled on this other bear for returning and trashing someone’s house, Griffin became noticeably ‘different’. He grabbed his stuffed animal and put it in his mouth – he didn’t chew on it as he normally does – he just kept it in his mouth as if he was pacifying or calming himself. That was just TOO WEIRD! He kept it there – and except for a few times as you can see on the video where he almost sighed and laid down (don’t know if his head got too heavy from holding it up or if he truly was getting depressed over the bear’s plight), he kept hold of his stuffed animal.

Bob and I just watched this whole thing in amazement. It was the funniest yet sweetest kind of dog behavior we have ever seen from one of our dogs- and believe me, we have had a LOT of dogs. Never once have we had a dog watch TV let alone watch an entire PROGRAM! This is legend! This is goofy!

Now, has he watched any more TV this week? No – which is really weird. We are going to experiment but the news and CNN don’t seem to spark his interest – it may be that it is too ‘deep’ for him – we can’t tell. We are going to turn on Animal Planet and see if we can get him going with that and maybe it will turn into his ‘special time’ at night to watch ‘his shows’ only hope Bob didn’t have other plans for the TV! I don’t really want him getting hooked on soap operas though because there is too much sex and scandal on those and I don’t want him picking up bad habits. And some of those talk shows – I just don’t think it’s necessary to get him hooked on Oprah and Ellen at his age. And I get enough sports to last a lifetime - but if he wants to watch those, I really don't see the harm!

Seriously, I have much research to do with Griffin the TV watching dog. Maybe it was a fluke – I definitely am going to experiment though and see if it was or if he is really the TV watching dog. Now if only I could get him to recite to me what he watched and how it affected him – then I’d really have something. If I could also teach him how to change the channels and use the remote, wouldn't THAT be something? I have a feeling though when I hand him the remote, my TV junkie husband is going to go ballistic, just a tad! He has seen what a malamute can do to a remote in 5 seconds or less and it was NOT pretty. It looked like it had been through a nuclear meltdown.

I am going to take him to the library this weekend as well and see if I can get him hooked on books though because I think reading is beneficial to everyone – no matter how old or young. Maybe I could start with See Spot Run and see if he could grasp the concept. Okay – not really! I’ll stick with renting him some videos at the library but he’s going to have to go in with me and pick out the ones that he wants. I wonder if they’d give him a library card…..

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Comments 42 comments

akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Hi Amy--mine is 3+ years old now--enjoy your young one! And Griff still watches TV~

Amy 4 years ago

He looks just like my Kodiak. He's 7 and 1/2 months :)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Laurel - That is Griffin when he was younger - he is a hoot and a half that one! I'm hoping Gabs will pose this year for the annual Christmas card from the Kirchner Kennel!!

lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

The photo of Gabby the Reindeer is absolutely precious, Audrey! Much love to all of you!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Dawn-Rae - How hilarious! Griffin is more discerning I guess and 'only' prefers nature programs. It still cracks me up though because he gets so engrossed. I'm just thankful he doesn't like sports...ha ha!~ Thanks so much for the cute story - bless her heart!

Dawn-Rae profile image

Dawn-Rae 6 years ago from Calgary

I had a Rottie and from the time she was a puppy until her passing she loved to watch TV. Her favorite was cartoons but she also liked a blond weather lady on the weather channel. When this lady was on you could not bribe her away from the TV. She would whine and cock her head from side to side when she was speaking. If the TV was not on she would come and nudge me and run back to the TV until I turned it on. Then she would promptly lie down in front of the TV and watch it. She is the only dog I had that watched TV and I have had dogs all my life and all different breeds.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Griff is the only one who seems to enjoy Yellowstone or other nature programs but we make sure he is never glued to the TV....too much else in life for him to do! I guess just like kids, eh?

Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia 6 years ago from Philippines

very funny dogs? do you leave them at home, they might sneak in to watch TV when you are awaY? dogs are really adorable.....haven't observed that with my dogs though hahaha I would love to see them watch Tv but not too addicted, I am paying so much in my electric bill already LOL

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

What a cute avatar, patdmania!!! That is totally neat that peanut watches TV all the time. It is strange that Griff doesn't really watch anything except he seems partial to wildlife programs and especially Yellowstone! We have the TV on all the time and there are barking dogs and meowing cats, but he is EXTREMELY selective in his watching! Thanks so much for confirming that they do actually enjoy watching it though. Merry Christmas!

patdmania profile image

patdmania 6 years ago from waterford, mi

My dog watches TV all the time. As soon as an animal is on TV, i say whats on tv peanut. She immediatly runs over to the TV to watch. She actually has to stand up and put her paws on the tv stand to watch it. So there is no denying that dogs do watch TV.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

KBlover - Thanks so much for stopping in - Wally sounds like he is more 'open minded' than my Griff. He doesn't seem to notice dogs, cats or anything else though he is fixated on those in real life! However, nature programs really capture his attention. Denaya, our older malamute just looks at him in disgust and I think she's rolling her eyes! If we knew what they were thinking, we'd be rich, eh?

kblover profile image

kblover 6 years ago from USA

Wally's picky about his TV. He'll only get interested if he sees/hears dogs, cats, or other "prey animal noises" (like squeaks and such), he'll perk up - and even then, it's only some dog barks. It's like some sound "too fake" for him to dignify with a response, while like on Dog Whisperer or a dog show - he's glued.

He's also fascinated by Dora for some reason. My guess is the colors and the movement. He'll bark and get absorbed like you describe. If she points, he'll follow her finger to what she's pointing at (is he interpreting that as the same as when I point at something?)

It's really fascinating and funny. Makes me wish I knew what he was thinking.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Susan - they are my 'babies' although I LOVE Newfoundlanders. Griff totally ignores other programs which is what is so comical. But any nature programs that come on, he's right on top of it! I guess he just has particular tastes in his programs....what a character. Thanks for the read!

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Absolutely beautiful dogs! Love the story! Great writing. Yes dogs do watch TV. I have two Newfoundlanders and my male does love to watch the animated movies and dog movies. My female could care less about TV though.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

How cute, Susie Duzy - Griffin seems to only be partial to nature programs and he doesn't even react if dogs bark on weird is that?

SUSIE DUZY profile image

SUSIE DUZY 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

My little maltese whatches tv with me. When a dog is on the programs, she is very intentive and even barks at the tv.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Jaye - I will have to check that out. We've never had a dog quite like our Griffin. I had to do the hub because it was so unique that he followed the ENTIRE program - and then a Yellowstone program was on a few months later and he followed THAT one. He tends to just ignore everything else but every once in a while.....I guess he may need his own TV for his OWN programs!

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 6 years ago from Deep South, USA

My Puppy Girl is not a major TV watcher (neither am I), but on occasion she's become interested in something and focused on the screen for a while. Even though dogs aren't supposed to be able to see many colors, she seems to like animated cartoons. Perhaps it's the audio (kiddy cartoons usually have higher pitched voices). She will also watch another dog on TV, but some animals agitate her. She doesn't like cats in person, and, apparently not on screen! I have a photo on my first hub showing her lying on a bed watching TV. JAYE

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Actually, he seemed to be upset by it which was totally weird....when he reached over and grabbed his 'teddy bear' I thought we were going to die laughing. The fellow on the show had mentioned shooting the bear about that time and we both swore he was 'following the story'. Although in retrospect we have both decided maybe we need to get a life - ha ha - thanks so much for the read, Winsome! He really is a magical 'little' fellow that Griffin and even our other malamute shakes her head as in disbelief at him!

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Don't you wish you knew what Griffin was thinking while he watched that bear on tv? "They might be big but they look pretty slow to me--I bet I could take that one--well at least out run him. I wonder if he tastes like chicken?" =:)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Horsegirl - thanks for the tag - and will do that.

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Horsegirl1996 6 years ago

My dog loves the dog shows too! She watches and barks when they bark! It is so funny! Her favourite show is at the end of my leash! Anyway Check out my hubs!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks BKC - now that's hilarious! Maybe it was his voice or something. I could have died laughing only I was trying to be quiet and videotape Griffin so enthralled with the plight of these poor bears. But then when he did it again with the Yosemite program, it was too funny.

I guess I only have to worry when he starts stealing the remote from Bob although how the heck he's gonna work that with his big paws.....I guess fodder for another hub!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

According to my cousin, their lab from many years ago watched TV - and only one show, once a week. It was Perry Mason. Whenever it came on, his dog would come from where ever in the house, and settle down in front of the TV for the whole hour. Maybe Perry looked familiar? There was something about that show only.

Of course every now and then I must hear this story from my cousin. Sigh!

What a fun hub! Rated up. Thanks a lot! (Looove your photos!)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

I agree!

anonimuzz profile image

anonimuzz 6 years ago from There

Wow, that is so cool. Don't worry about the droning thing, your dog deserves the attention. Any good animal (and person) does!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks anonimuzz for stopping by on this one. This was actually so terrifically enthralling to watch because he truly DID watch the entire program. He seemed so mystified by the plight of the bears it was too hilarious and then when he picked up his toy for security, we were just howling....almost literally. He did seem to watch it from start to finish and that was what was so remarkable.

We kinda thought it was just a fluke but then a few weeks later, a program came on about Yosemite and he was again glued to the TV. This time he was howling and barking - when he saw the wolf pack especially. He couldn't figure out how to get inside the TV I think and join them - but he was but a pup back then.

Thanks again for the read - I tend to drone on and on about my 'little Griffin' - he is the wonder dog of all time! We just watch him and get our daily dose of amusement I think.

anonimuzz profile image

anonimuzz 6 years ago from There

My dogs watch TV sometimes, but they're never very interesting. It's more like "What is that noisy colorful thing? Just switch it off and come play with me." After three years with dogs around me, I've realized that they're much smarter than most people think at first.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks Happyexplorer for commenting - I'm still trying to figure my wonderful mals out but I know they know a LOT of stuff!

happyexplorer profile image

happyexplorer 6 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere

I wonder how much dogs really do understand. If you come up with more insights on this, I'd love to hear about it!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks opismedia for stopping by - the dog makes it all possible! He is a great fellow and a great personality...he gives me tons of inspiration!

opismedia profile image

opismedia 6 years ago

Hey that's funny... Well my dog never did anything like that, actually he shows no interest in TV. But your videos are amazing... Keep it up man :)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Yes - maybe one day they will walk upright and drive cars like they do on TV. I call Griffin down to my computer regularly and have him watch the vids of himself (I know I need to seriously get a life). I get such a kick out of him watching intently and I always wonder (and ask him of course to complete the insanity) does he know it's HIM? Probably not - it is I guess entertainment! Thanks so much for commenting.

Saxyroro 6 years ago

I know my Golden Retriever watches tv. The tv can be paused with a cat on the screen. She'll see it and go crazy. If I bring up the picture of a cat on my computer she starts going crazy. The dogs are evolving.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Oh gosh - I don't know - I'll have to ask The Griffin as he seems to be more up on TV than me! Thanks for stopping by....Audrey

Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 7 years ago from New York

Is this going to lead to more dog food commercials on TV?


akirchner profile image

akirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon Author

I know what you mean - this was just plain weird because he watched the WHOLE thing except for a few minutes when Bob took Denaya downstairs to put her to bed. He even got up at the commercials and waltzed around and played and then as soon as the show started, he came back! I think he is spooky funny....God we laughed and laughed - I guess we need to get a life.....thanks for tagging me as always. Audrey

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

Ahhh! What a lovely dog! I am glad he like the programme, wonder what he would think of lassie? We used to have a dog that did watch TV, at least I think that is what he was watching, or it could have been the fact that i was sat in front of the TV eating something..! cheers nell

akirchner profile image

akirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon Author

That's funny that you should say that - I swear he is my mal that I lost in May (that's how we ended up getting Griffin - to keep Denaya company ha ha- it was to replace my poor Kodi because I was heart broken). Anyhow, Griffin seems to be Kodi all over again in so many of his mannerisms and his goofiness although Kodi did not watch TV. Griffin is a gift that is for sure - someone was knowing I needed a new spark and a new laugh and he sure is giving us that and more! How one dog can be so hysterical is beyond me - but then I guess I'm in dog love so there ya go.....thanks for stopping by.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Fun, fun, fun! What a great Hub.

I have no doubt that something very important was going on in Griffin's head. You used the word "fluke". Have you read the book by that name or seen the movie?

Your Griffin just might be a reincarnation of someone who was close to you.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon Author

I've had SO many dogs and they might have watched like in passing or if a dog barked or something but I've never seen the likes of this guy - I just have to keep trying it and see if he keeps it up. Something about this bear show had him though from 'hello' - He honestly watched the entire thing which I could not believe as his attention span is like a gnat's! Gotta see if he watches the Super Bowl though or my favorite - soccer! Maybe I could get him his own shin guards.

habee profile image

habee 7 years ago from Georgia

My boys love the animal channel! They especially like the dog shows. Seriously, they sometimes sit there and watch intently!

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