Pets Get In On The Technology Act – But Not Like This
It was only a matter of time. Humans have their Fitbits, Apple watches and earbuds. Well nowadays, no self-respecting pet should be seen in public without sporting the latest in wearable technology. Dogs seem to be the major beneficiaries of wearables, but cats, rabbits and other animals can also get in on the act.
Wearables are becoming more prevalent because of the ongoing rapid pace of technological development. Devices are getting smaller and lighter, and batteries are getting stronger and more long-lasting. Wi-Fi is now everywhere, and GPS is ubiquitous. Smartphones support a mind-boggling number of functions, and new ideas are coming to market all the time. In this article, we’ll take a look at a few wearable gadgets that you and your pet will love.
Put the collar on your dog or cat to keep it within set boundaries. The classic way to set the safety zone is to bury a wire along the perimeter. The wire interacts with the collar to trigger a very mild sensation, such as a vibration or mild shock. The pet soon learns to avoid the areas outside the safety zone. But buried wires are old school. The modern version of the invisible fence requires no physical wires. Instead, you set up an electronic perimeter using GPS technology. The collar responds when its GPS circuitry detects the pet crossing the “fence” boundary. The advantages of this design include:
- You don’t have to dig up your yard
- You can easily modify the safety zone or set up multiple ones to keep pets separated
- There are no gaps in the system
- There is no maximum size limitation
- You can nest boundaries to keep off limits certain areas within the safety zone, such as pools and hot tubs
- The pet can’t break through the perimeter. The collar continues to respond even if the pet goes well beyond the safety zone. In some models, the reaction gets stronger the further the pet wanders off base.
- Can be used with avoidance solutions to keep pets out of closets, off of furniture and away from trash cans. Avoidance areas can be inside or outside the house.
- Can be used with pet door solutions to lock pets in or out. For example, you can set up the door to allow your pet to come in after 7PM but block exit after that time.
No one likes when a pet gets lost, especially the pet. Now with GPS technology, you’ll always be able to track down your pet wherever it wanders. The latest gadgets are GPS-enabled, weatherproof and can be attached to a collar. One nice feature is a safety zone in which your pet can wander without setting off any alarms. If the pet should wander beyond the confines of the safety zone, the locator sends an alert, vis SMS or email, letting you know in real time where the pet can be found. Good products can cost more than $100 and may have monthly GPS costs.
If you want more bells and whistles, “smart collars” go beyond GPS locating to provide activity tracking, two-way audio, invisible fence and voice or tone commands. The two-way audio seems way cool, because you can tell your well-trained dog to come home. We have our doubts as to whether cats and rabbits will be as cooperative.
The activity tracker tells you what your pet is doing, how many steps it’s taken and how many calories it’s burned, as well as monitoring data such as temperature or sound levels (for example, from barking). Fancy ones are equipped with a wide-angle camera that creates a live video stream of your pet’s point of view. The camera may too large for smaller pets. Units may provide geo-fencing, which emits an unpleasant high tone when your pet leaves the confines of the safety zone, much like an invisible fence.
Dog Training May Be Required
When using wearables on dogs, you should commit to training sessions so that the dog understands your intentions. For example, when first encountering an invisible fence, your dog may exhibit confusion and agitation. The equipment provider usually can provide training services directly or refer you to a certified trainer. You should speak with your veterinarian when any kind of wearable causes the pet to become moody, depressed, anxious or hostile. Your vet may also have information on some devices that have proven to be unsafe. For