Your dog misses you every time you leave the house. That depth of feeling we perceive is probably the single biggest reason why we love them so much.
There’s no way anyone else in your life is going to spend hours waiting by the door or by your bedside for you to return.
While that super excited greeting we get when we do come back may warm our hearts, it can be a symptom of separation anxiety for pack animals not built for long periods of alone time.
But there are ways to remain a part of your dog’s day-to-day routine, without having to trundle them into work and let them sleep under your desk. Remote video calling has already been repurposed to allow small grabs of face time between animal and owner, and it could be used to let your dog travel with you in virtual video everywhere you go.
Video Calling for Pets
Such is our love for our pets, it was only a matter of time before someone paired it with emerging video calling technologies to create a niche market of video chat for dogs.
They begin with repurposed home security or child monitoring video cameras that let you watch over your dog all day long. More advanced models even allow for two-way audio so you can respond to barking with a calming voice. And you can solve the riddle of what goes on at home by recording the day’s events.
However, there are a few systems around that let the information flow in both directions so both sides of the relationship can express themselves. PetChatz, for instance, is probably the most advanced, and it offers a premium product that includes a paw-operated device that lets your dog send you a signal that they are ready to chat. The chat itself is powered through a remotely operated, wall-mounted camera and audio system positioned at your pet’s own height.
The conversation, regardless of who initiates it, can also include treat distribution via a remote doggy vending machine kept safely under the control of the human side of the video call.
That’s a step up from the Dog Monitor app, which essentially just leaves your iPad on at home while you listen in your dog’s barks and grumbles from afar through your iPhone. You can still send your voice and image back to pooch, but there’s no treat involved, and heaven help you if your fur baby knocks over or has its way with the iPad you left sitting on the living room table.
Wearable Tech to Keep Rover in Your World
All those examples above rely on smartphones or tablets to bring your dog’s home life into view. As such, they’re only able to let your dog see you when you can grab a few minutes of undisturbed time to call in.
But what if we could embed our canine to human conduit into wearable tech, like a smartwatch, that could give your dog an uninterrupted stream of your daily doings? Admittedly, there have been some bumps in the road toward deploying reliable, functional video chat within a smartwatch. However, the major drawback of the size of the screen isn’t really a major concern when you’re talking to your dog. You don’t need to see every hair on their adorable face, you just want to make sure they can sense your presence as much as possible.
So, could we set up a permanently streaming live video from a smartwatch that lets your dog hear your voice, and see your face whenever you can sneak a downward glance, all day long? You’d have to mute the dog’s incoming audio whenever you were busy, but at least they could still hear you.
Even if you let the wearable link run for just a couple hours in the afternoon you’d be giving your dog a more prolonged exposure to its master. To make things even more interactive, perhaps the doggy side of the video call could become moveable, maybe even chaseable.
A Moveable Video Link
The Internet of Things is already placing video and internet connections inside kettles, photocopiers, and exercise bikes, so why couldn’t you place a chat service inside a remote control dog toy?
With a little pioneering spirit you could do it yourself by strapping an iPhone to a remote controlled car, but in the spirit of protecting your investment into an expensive device like an iPhone, it’s probably best we let the more tech-minded find a better solution.
Still, with a readily viewable screen embedded inside a moving object, something padded and rounded and remotely controlled, you could play catch with your dog during your lunch break–with the twist being that you’re now inside the ball.
Manufacturer Sphero has already turned Star Wars droid BB-8 into a smartphone-controlled rolling dervish. Couldn’t we find room on the cute robot’s head for a video screen that shows your giggling face scurrying across the floor in front of your eager pup?
What could be better for the relationship between master and dog than a quick, virtual game of chase around the house over lunch?
Don’t forget the dispensable treat remotely deployed at the end.