Smart homes. Smart phones. Smart dogs? High-tech has made its way into almost every corner of our lives. It only makes sense that we would find high-tech and smart technologies making their way into the lives of our dogs.
Technology for dogs can include:
Pet ID tags
Separation anxiety tools
Two-way cameras and monitoring
Digital Pet ID Tags
Companies like PetHub provide a service to help lost dogs get reunited with their families. Their services include (in part) scannable QR codes on your pet’s identification tag. When scanned, the QR code can pull up your pet’s unique identifier to help guide her back to you. Also, the pet parent receives an email notification, along with a map locator of where their pet is currently located. PetHub has various levels of service, but with a visible identification tag it is easier for a good Samaritan to reunite you with your pet.
Technology-Enabled Dog Training Devices
Invisible fences are a form of a pet training device. Rather than having to erect a physical fence, an invisible fence will keep your dog contained in your yard, based on the perimeters you’ve set. Flags are placed to mark the boundaries the dog is allowed to roam. Your dog wears a collar that beeps when he gets too close to the boundary where the fence cable is buried. The pet parent walks the line with his dog and teaches him not to cross where the flags are posted. If the dog goes too close to the invisible fence line, the beep sounds, and if the dog doesn’t stop a small vibrating shock is administered. Today, many invisible fences don’t even require the buried line, the boundaries are marked with GPS coordinates to keep the dog contained.
Smartphone-controlled training collars assist pet parents in training their dogs through the use of Bluetooth technology. Smart training collars can be combined to work with electronic/invisible fences and with automatic pet doors. Many of the smart collars feature various training modes that include: sound, vibration, static, and a clicker sound. The smart collar comes with a smartphone app that allows you to monitor your dog’s exercise. (This is ideal for pet parents who aren’t home with their dogs all day.)
Tech Tools for Combating Separation Anxiety in Dogs
One (of many) tech tools a pet parent can use to help dogs that suffer from separation anxiety is a subscription to television programming designed for dogs. DogTV is scientifically-designed to help dogs who suffer separation anxiety when left home alone. The programming offers relaxation shows to help calm an anxious dog. The dog doesn’t need to necessarily “binge” on the programming, or even lie on the couch and be fully engaged; she will benefit from the programming simply by its background sounds.
Tip: It’s always best to watch the shows with your dog first to help assure yourself that the programming will help calm your dog—as some dogs are stimulated by some of the sights and sounds, rather than being relaxed.
Puzzle Toys, Games and Treat Dispensers for Dogs
Toys—like those from iFetch or the Pet Tutor—allow pet parents to set their dog up to play a game while they are away or to dispense treats to keep high energy dogs entertained and in touch. The Pet Tutor is a gadget that can dispense treats on a set schedule or automatically based on the dog touching the dispenser. These items keep dogs entertained by offering them a treat on a schedule.
_Editor’s Note:_While exercising your dog is important for keeping his body fit and healthy, there are ways to keep his mind active too. Here are four (low-tech) brain games for your dog to challenge his mind.
At-Home Dog Monitoring
PetChatz, the pet tech product that features a small two-way camera, allows the pet parent to see the dog and vice versa. The pet parent can watch what their dog is doing and can talk to the dog. With PetChatz, and other similar devices, you can load it up with treats and dispense them from an app on your phone. Imagine calling your pup over to the camera device, talking to her, and feeding her a treat—it’s almost like being together!
Dogs who suffer separation anxiety inevitably cause their doting pet parents’ anxiety. No pet parent wants to think of his or her dog pacing, barking or destroying the house while they are home alone. These high-tech gadgets, and this list just scraped the surface, allow pet parents to monitor what their dogs do when home alone. More importantly, some of these high-tech gadgets give the pet parent an opportunity to talk with and see their dog to help reassure the dog that he is not truly home alone.
Do you use any high-tech devices to keep in touch with your dog or to help calm his or her separation anxiety?
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.