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Deciding who is in charge of the remote control has long been a bone of contention among families gathered around the TV set.
And now someone else is set to get in on the action – the family pet.
A new television controller has been developed which will give dogs the chance to change channels.
Researchers have created a mat-like device with extra-large controls and a multi-coloured design to help them see – and it also comes with a paws button, of course.
The mat is coated in extra thick plastic so that the pets cannot chew through the wires.
The device, designed by Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, a PhD researcher in animal computer design at the University of Central Lancashire, and pet company Wagg, is currently being tested by 20 dogs and their owners.
The plan is to have it on the market next year priced at about £50. Ms Hirskyj-Douglas said the remote was the next step in the growing trend of animal computer interaction, which has prompted many pet-focused interactive toys.
‘By building TV technology for dogs, we can provide entertainment for them when they are alone or through participating in activities with us,’ she said.
‘This works towards the overall aim of dog technology to provide enrichment and improve their welfare.’
Ms Hirskyj-Douglas added that her research had shown most dogs liked watching videos of other dogs, with Crufts an obvious favourite. Another canine hit is Britain’s Got Talent, which often features animals performing tricks.
‘Dog technology opens up new routes for research into dog behaviour, their intellectual capacity and cognition,’ Ms Hirskyj-Douglas said.
Wagg claimed its research showed the average British dog spends an hour and 20 minutes a day in front of the television and often barks along to popular theme tunes. And 91 per cent of dog owners admitted that their pet regularly sits on the sofa watching television with them.
So far, the prototype is able to change five terrestrial channels, but Wagg hopes future models will link to all of an owner’s TV services.
Dan Reeves, from Wagg, said: ‘Dogs are a key part of family life so, why shouldn’t they get to choose what to watch on TV every now and then, just like the rest of us?’