Separation anxiety is a sentiment experienced by humans and their loved ones. When those we are closest to decide to relocate, travel or take a break, we are saddened by their departure. Well, the same holds true for our pets when they are separated from their pet owners.
Fending Fur Themselves 9-5
Every day, millions of dog and cat owners abandon their furry four-legged friend when they go to work. Fending for themselves leave many desperate to fill the void. Now, what if there were ways we could help them work through those lonely hours constructively? Technically, it’s possible.
There are two of apps and devices, which can address this need aptly. Remotely they can dispense treats, record video, photograph our pets and more — using either iOS or Android smartphones.
Anthouse Pet Companion Robot
Anthouse is a smart, app-controlled robot that allows pet owners to connect with their beloved pooch or kitty no matter how remote they may be.
The camera will allow you to see live-stream video and interact with them when you record them. You can also take photos of them and post them to your favorite social network.
The robot device has multiple speeds and will move at several speeds from slow [turtle] to fast [rabbit] mode to keep your pets fully engaged.
The Anthouse has a mini-tennis ball launcher that allows you to play fetch with your dog. You can set how far you want the ball to launch, from 2.5 to 8 meters.
You can also utilize the walkie-talkie button to speak directly to your pet and guide them through each process, while dispensing treats when you want to incentivize them.
Keeping it safe, the ‘obstacle avoidance’ feature on the robot has a smart built-in infrared system to detect any nearby object to automatically redirect and avoid collisions with the pets and other obstacles in the room.
Furbo & Alexa
Furbo is a similar pet app that differs from the Anthouse with one major distinction. With their mission to reduce separation anxiety, they are partnering with Amazon’s Alexa.
The team at Furbo enlisted the help of veterinarian Dr. Brooke Deaton Medders who helped with the Alexa integration.
According to Medders, many of her clients come in with pups who suffer from separation anxiety. These dogs are usually destructive to their environment and often themselves.
“As most people are leaving [their premises], they don't realize how stressful they are making this process. The pup sees mom or dad putting on their shoes, hears the jingle of keys, the coffee is brewing and everyone is scrambling around to get out the door. The dog then gets kisses as mom says ‘Be a good boy! Bye!’ By the time the door closes, the pet’s anxiety is through the roof. They race around the house trying to see you out the window and it's difficult to calm [them] back down,” notes Medders.
By scheduling treat tossing with Alexa before leaving the house, the pet owner can send alerts remotely. To kickstart the process, after linking the Furbo account and discovering the camera in the Alexa account, users can commence treat tossing by issuing the following commands.
- "Alexa, ask Furbo to toss a treat."
- "Alexa, ask Furbo to toss a treat every 30 seconds for 5 minutes."
- "Alexa, ask Furbo to toss a treat every 30 minutes between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M."
"The best tool in behavior modification is distraction and positive reinforcement. My Furbo does both," Medders said. "Usually my pets would be standing by the door whining for me to come back home. With Alexa asking Furbo to toss treats on a schedule, they lose focus on me being gone and turn their focus to treats! A fun reward for being calm and turning their attention away from what's stressing them out."
Leaving the house for work and errands is an inevitable part of our daily lives. So utilizing these two high-tech apps and devices in your home are methods to keep your pet comfortable and less anxious whenever you’re away for any prolonged period of time.