How smart is your dog collar?

3
ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

A fascinating new product currently in development came across the DOGthusiast desk recently, and it’s called the Smart Collar. I don’t normally review products I haven’t used myself hands-on, but this one gained my interest due to how it incorporates technology (not long ago I was posting my desire for a dog FitBit), and how it could introduce a new twist on training cues with sound and an accelerometer built into the collar. The collar is currently in development, so a hands-on is not possible quite yet.

What are the plans for this collar?

The idea is that the Smart Collar is tied to your smartphone to measure your dog’s activity, help with training, GPS tracking, geo-fencing, and the software offers other elements such as a social community to help with the training element of the dog collar. There are other products that do some of these things separately, but it looks like the Smart Collar combines them (and some new ideas) into a single uber-collar. Plus, it looks prettier.

In case you’re worried about the “invisible fence” part of the collar – this does not involve any kind of shock, spray, or other averse element. The collar development includes ideas around sound cues and positive reinforcement. If you’re a tech-geek, it’s geofencing for your dog (and as an avid user of geofencing on my phone, such as “When I get into my car, turn on bluetooth and launch my audio player app” – could be pretty cool with your dog, too). This was the first question I had for the development team, and they confirmed they are on the same page regarding positive, rewards-based training.

The Smart Collar is being developed by Ridogulous Labs. Here is more info about what the Smart Collar folks are working on, and mock-ups:

Smart collar mock-ups

Smart collar mock-ups – no clunky boxes hanging off the collar

smartcollar2

The Smart Collar integrates with your smartphone.

The Smart Collar integrates with your smartphone.

See their website for all of the details. To help kickstart the project, check out their page on Indiegogo here.

Training your dog with sound, not aversive punishments

The product design includes some very interesting ideas around sound training your dog, improving accuracy and proofing your dogs response. You can track your dog’s proximity with this dog collar, and based on that a cue can be emitted as sound from the collar that you can train your dogs to respond to in a particular way. It will still be up to the human to figure out what motivates your dog best – what kind of treats, toys, affection, or other reasons (or all of them combined!) your dog will need to come running back. But what this collar can offer is precise timing to help improve your accuracy and quality of training. Of course, it offers a lot more in being able to cue at certain distances or events that you might not be able to cue off at all. For example, one of my dogs always prefers to run behind me on a jog. If and when she is off leash on the trails, I wouldn’t notice if she fell behind me. This collar would be able to cue both of us of this event.

But only a shock will work to contain your dog? Not necessarily. A family friend had an invisible fence many years ago, and would let her dog out unsupervised… but discovered he kept getting past the fence. She thought it was defective, but all tests returned that the fence was in working order. So she started watching her dog while out, and he would brace himself for the shock and run right past the barrier. The cat (or whatever it was) on the other side was worth the shock, apparently. That said, it is possible to train your dog for an “emergency” response in events such as these. For example, your dog will respond to do an “emergency down” despite engaging in a highly motivating event (such as chasing a cat). Help with the cue, say your dog is behind you and you don’t see them starting to run off, could be a valuable tool at your disposal.

Long story short, training is between you and your dog. Motivation, relationship, and accurately telling your dog what you expect (timing and consistency) is the core of all training, and will set you up for success. Then practice and repetition will help you maintain success. It seems like this collar could be a neat tool to mix into this equation.

I’m interested in the possibilities of this dog collar as a positive, rewards based training tool that could potentially aid with accuracy. There could be some really interesting training possibilities with cuing on particular movements, speeds, and off of various sounds. Not to mention a whole bunch of geek toys in there I haven’t even gotten to yet (I wear a FitBit – now the dogs could and I can tell how many steps Mort does at a flyball tournament! Sounds like a whole competition of its own!). What do you guys think?

I plan to do a follow-up post combining feedback, and with more in-depth thoughts about this collar and training in a few weeks. I’ll also take a look at some of the other geek toys incorporated in the collar I haven’t mentioned, such as those that help you measure your dogs activity.

Post your thoughts below!

Creative Commons License
This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Share.

About Author

Jen deHaan is graphic designer, small business owner, and dog person living in Bay Area, California. She likes to support local and national efforts for animal welfare and advocacy. Jen enjoys learning about dog training and behavior, and has taken several courses and seminars since 2010. It all started with a great dog called Mikey (aka "dude"), loved and lost but remembered forever. Jen also runs a freelance business focusing on graphic, web, and UI design at FoundPixel, and a small business creating hand crafted dog products at Stylish Canine.

  • Jessica Perrins

    Great blog, very interesting. I have nominated you for the Shine on Award. Check out my blog animalrescueorg.wordpress.com for more info.

  • Tammy Sexton

    Hi Jen!

    My name is Tammy. I’m leaving you this comment on your blog because I could not find another way to contact you. I hope this is Ok.

    I thought you might be interested in our latest infographic “8 Tips To Keep Your Dog Safe and Stress-Free this Halloween”. You can view it at Flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/106131018@N08/10406281936/. FYI (in case you’re not familiar) Flickr.com is owned by Yahoo!. It’s a very safe site and won’t hurt your computer. To download the infographic right click on it and Flickr will show you some options.

    If you like this infographic and want to share it with your readers, please feel free to do so. The only thing that we ask in return is that you link back to TheUncommonDog dot com in some way from your post.

    As a way of showing our appreciation to those who choose to share the infographic, I’d be happy to spread the word about the blog post by linking to it from our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages. Just let me know that you posted it and send me the link.

    If you’d like to be removed from our contact list, please let me know.

    Big Tail Wag!

    Tammy Sexton

    Marketing Coordinator

    Tammy at TheUncommonDog dot com

    • http://dogthusiast.com/ Jen deHaan

      Hi Tammy,

      There is a Contact link in the top menu (which I do prefer for messages like these, but I will leave your comment for other people to see your infographic I suppose) and sidebar of every single page of this blog (in bright call-out yellow). So I’m not sure why there wasn’t an obvious way to contact me, unless a link to your site was desired in my comment section…

      And yes, I know about Flickr – my account linked in the top menu, so it’s also available on every single page, and has over 5000 photos added to it over the past 8+ years. ;)