It’s no mystery that screen time affects our relationships, causes fighting, and even causes us to lose track of time. There have be studies upon studies, and we’ve all had that friend who went through a bad breakup because their spouse spent too much time with their head tilted down rather than in the conversation.
But how do our pets react to our screen time? Are they affected? Do they care? Do they even know what’s happening? Well, it turns out that yeah, our pets really are affected by our device use.
Dogs for example. We take our pooch for a walk around our neighborhood in the evening, maybe after dinner while there’s still some light in the sky. Our pup is excited, they get to do their favorite thing, sniff out the smells, and visit that attractive Border Collie down the street they just love to say hello to. They’re happily walking along beside us, tongue flapping in the breeze, and they look up to see what we’re doing. Our face is buried in our phone, and they begin to act nervous, scared, or unsure of what to do. There’s a simple explanation to that.
Dogs are “pack animals,” so they look to see what the leader is doing, and try to figure out what should be done next. If they see that we’re not paying attention to what’s happening, they can’t get the feedback that they’re looking for. If they can’t get that feedback, they’re not sure what to do, and may start to panic, stress out, and no longer enjoy the thing they love in that moment. One of those little things that we don’t really notice, but it’s a huge thing to our pets.
They don’t even know what it is that you’re doing, they’re just concerned that you’re not paying attention to the world and they won’t be sure how to react to something or what direction to go when something happens.
Producer David’s dog will actually come up to you, and put her head directly on top of your phone while you’re using it. It’s her subtle little reminder that she exists, too.