There has been a lot said about how dogs act mysteriously and suggesting they’re capable of understanding things that we humans can’t see or detect ourselves. Some believe dogs can see ghosts, can smell cancer in people and even fear the lens of a camera.
Today’s article is on that very subject – cameras and why many wonder why their dog seems always to turn away from them as if they are fearful of what it will do to them. Since I am a scientific person, the idea of dogs seeing ghosts or smelling cancer was thrown right out.
But what if dogs can see something that humans can’t? Like infrared rays. It turns out…
Dogs cannot see infrared light as their visual perception is limited to the visible light spectrum and UV. The human eye can detect wavelengths ranging from 400 to 700 nanometers, while dogs can only see in the range of 330 – 612 nm.
Infrared light has a longer wavelength, typically 700 nanometers and above, and is beyond the range of what dogs can see. Therefore, they do not have the ability to see infrared radiation and it remains invisible to them.
So, why do dogs turn away from cameras?
Dogs do not have a rich history of cameras being shoved in their faces, much less than we humans do. In the late 90s, 2000s and certainly in the 2010s, the rise of cameras was rampant, especially when smartphones entered the market, and everyone had a digital camera in their pocket. Then came the social media explosion and Instagram, and it all changed for dogs.
All of a sudden, they get a camera lens pointed towards them several times a day; others may have an indoor dog camera constantly watching them with what looks like an eye.
Why do dogs turn away from cameras?
To be able to understand why dogs may hate or be fearful of cameras, we need to try and put ourselves in their shoes and figure out why we think they would have a problem with it.
Dogs don’t necessarily hate cameras, but they may turn away if they’re frightened or intimidated by the flash or strange sound of a camera. Others may be uncomfortable with the close proximity of the camera lens.
The first thing for us to consider is that the camera, whether a digital camera, CCTV or a smartphone, is a foreign object to them with a big eye on it looking at them. Consider this, a dog doesn’t know what the phone is or what it does but what it can comprehend is that eyes are for looking. Now, this foreign object is suddenly staring at them, and the dog feels uncomfortable.
For them, they do not know if the camera is a living being or not, they may not even be able to comprehend what a living being even is, but they do know that eyes are there to look, and this device is staring at them. Dogs find staring unnerving and a sign of dominance/aggression. As good as a Clever dog camera is (see also ‘What Is A Furbo?’), it looks strange to them.
One of the reasons why your dog may turn away as soon as the camera is on them is because they don’t like being stared at. Simple as that.
To get them to feel more comfortable around the lens, we recommend giving them treats every time it’s used to let them know it’s a desirable behaviour as well as let your dogs see you regularly use the lens- if your dog knows you’re ok with it they’re more likely to be ok with it.
They’ve been disturbed.
Have you ever stopped your dog from relaxing, playing, eating or whatever to get them to pose for a picture for social media? If that happened to you, would you be in the mood to suddenly sit there still and quietly for someone to shove a lens in your face?
If you want to get a slice of the action on their terms, consider a dog collar camera.
Dogs can get the hump just like humans, especially if you’ve made them stop relaxing to be treated like a performing monkey.
There’s no conspiracy theory or any mystical explanation for why a dog turns away when you point a camera at them. They simply don’t like eye contact and things pointed directly at them whether it’s an actual eye on something circular that looks like an eye. With determination and some training you can get your dog to be fine in front of a camera but for dogs who aren’t this article hopefully answers that question.