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Home >Science >News >Leaving Your Dog Alone? These 5 Gadgets Will Help Feed, Exercise and Entertain Him

Leaving Your Dog Alone? These 5 Gadgets Will Help Feed, Exercise and Entertain Him

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While nearly any Wi-Fi-based security camera can monitor a dog, pet tech specifically designed to help dog owners has evolved.

  • Treat-dispensing cameras. Smart dog doors. While you’re away at work, these advances in pet tech ensure your pooch can eat, access the yard and even play a fierce game of fetch

THAT AFTERNOON in Atlanta, Jared Rodriguez probably should have been paying attention to his CEO’s lecture. Instead, the sales representative was glued to a live stream of his own Auburn, Calif., dining room. There, his smart “puppy cam" was recording his 9-month-old St. Bernard puppies assume the less adorable characteristics of rabid wolves. “I’m watching as they start chewing up their beds," said Mr. Rodriguez, 47, whose wife was at work. “I ran out of the meeting…and was yelling at my dogs to stop destroying their beds on my phone while my boss was giving a speech." Because the puppy cam has a built-in speaker, the dogs perked, ceased and desisted, he said: “That’s why we got that camera in the first place."

THAT AFTERNOON in Atlanta, Jared Rodriguez probably should have been paying attention to his CEO’s lecture. Instead, the sales representative was glued to a live stream of his own Auburn, Calif., dining room. There, his smart “puppy cam" was recording his 9-month-old St. Bernard puppies assume the less adorable characteristics of rabid wolves. “I’m watching as they start chewing up their beds," said Mr. Rodriguez, 47, whose wife was at work. “I ran out of the meeting…and was yelling at my dogs to stop destroying their beds on my phone while my boss was giving a speech." Because the puppy cam has a built-in speaker, the dogs perked, ceased and desisted, he said: “That’s why we got that camera in the first place."

While nearly any Wi-Fi-based security camera can monitor a dog, pet tech specifically designed to help dog owners has evolved. Your pup would prefer your company—and probably got spoiled by it during the pandemic. But if you’re returning to the office, or don’t want to cut happy hour short to rush home and relieve him, smart tech can fill the gap. Here, our picks for turning your house into a tech-enabled doggy daycare.

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While nearly any Wi-Fi-based security camera can monitor a dog, pet tech specifically designed to help dog owners has evolved. Your pup would prefer your company—and probably got spoiled by it during the pandemic. But if you’re returning to the office, or don’t want to cut happy hour short to rush home and relieve him, smart tech can fill the gap. Here, our picks for turning your house into a tech-enabled doggy daycare.

1. Cyborg Slinger

If you’ve ever guiltily wished your dog could play fetch with himself, the iFetch Too is a savior for sore arms and temporarily absentee owners. Train your dog to drop tennis balls into the top of the pod and the robot will sling them 10 to 40 feet up to 250 times on a single charge. Put the device in a fenced-in backyard, or set it for a 10-foot trajectory in a large room or long hallway. (You can aim the machine so balls don’t go flying into furniture.) $200, goifetch.com

2. Canine Caller

Un like a standard security camera, the PetChatz HDX attaches low on a wall, at your dog’s height, so he can see your face pop up on the 2 3/4-inch-wide screen. A companion smartphone app lets you call in to your pet, voicing reassurance via the device’s speaker—and even dispense treats from the built-in canister. “Our puppy got used to having us home [during the pandemic], so when we left for a couple of hours, he destroyed everything in sight," said Michelle Rosaline, who uses a treat-dispensing camera for her Rhodesian Ridgeback. Now, she said, even when the family’s at a restaurant, her kids talk to him through the phone, remotely “throwing treats in the air, and watching him jump for joy." For next-level communication, add in PawCall ($100), a wireless button that rests on the floor and, bizarrely, allows your pet to initiate a call to you. If you have a needy, clever pug with poor timing, this might not be the breakthrough you want. $350, petchatz.com

3. Grub Hub

A top reason to rush home: ensuring your pet gets fed. But timely nourishing is a popular task to outsource to a robot. The PetSafe Smart Feed Dog Feeder uses a normal-looking, detachable bowl. Get your dog comfortable with it first. Then clip it into the hopper and use your smartphone to drop in up to four cups of food on a set schedule. The translucent tank holds 24 cups of dry chow and, when running low, sends a notification to your phone. If your gluttonous best friend plows through food too fast, a slow-feed option can portion out the meal over 15 minutes. $170, petsafe.net

4. Discerning Doggy Door

Most dog exits must be cut into an existing entry door. With the built-in myQ Pet Portal, you buy the whole door, giving it a seamless appearance. The smart dog door pairs to a Bluetooth collar your pet wears. Once the door senses your dog nearby it slides open, letting her in or out while blocking unwanted guests. Two-way cameras and speakers let you talk to your pet, too. But this sophistication requires pricey pro installation, plus a nearby outlet for power. From $2,999, myq.com

5. Better Bone

Essentially a remote-control car masquerading as a dog bone, the Cheerble Wickedbone relieves your pet’s boredom and frustration through play. When you’re home, steer the toy with a companion smartphone app to encourage your dog to interact with it. When you leave, it operates for 20 minutes on a timer in one of nine “play modes." A pair of wheels—one attached to each end of the plastic bone—rotate to drive the spinning, vibrating toy across wood, tile, rugs and grass as your dog tries to bite it. Touch-operated, it “wakes up" if your pet nudges it with his muzzle or paws at it. The bot will even chase your dog, within limits. It won’t follow your pooch if she decides she’s done and goes into the next room.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text)

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