I have recently moved on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky. My dog is having a few adjustment issues. What do you suggest?
A: Well George, I’m glad you and Weezy finally got a piece of the pie with your doggo.
I recently made a similar move, and my dog is still settling in, so I can relate. For us, our Caryn Terrier (think Toto) has a bit of a fit when we leave. We are concerned that her barking and restlessness will prove annoying to our neighbors. We are hoping to avoid the dreaded “condo association letter”, so we were looking for some solutions.
Between our Wednesday cleaning lady (Florence) visits and the occasional “bring your dog to work days”, we have limited her time alone, but that was not enough.
I had a Wi-Fi cam and watched her a bit, but was looking for a less passive tech aid for our loyal friend. I needed something so she wouldn’t feel so alone and abandoned. Enter Furbo (furbo.com).
Furbo is at its essence, a Wi-Fi camera. When I first noticed them two years ago as an Indiegogo project, they were well over $200 as part of their grandly successful $500K crowd funding raise. But, I bought mine recently during the latest Amazon Prime Day and paid less than $140.
Furbo is an attractive device. It kind of resembles a white coffee grinder, stands about 9 inches tall and is about 5” in circumference. You plug the micro USB cord into a standard USB wall charger. It should not be an eyesore or look terribly out of place in most homes.
The tech specs are pretty impressive. It has a 160-degree camera field with night vision. Video quality ranges from 360p to full 1080p (HD) to support varying Wi-Fi throughput. It also sports a great microphone and speaker.
Set-up is a breeze with the Furbo iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android apps. Within minutes you can see what Furbo sees, take stills, record videos, listen and talk to your pet from your phone. The app has plenty of settings to help it fit your needs.
But there’s more! Furbo has sound and motion sensors that will activate its (customizable) notification settings. This lets you get a notice on your cell phone when your dog barks or someone enters the room (dog sitter cam). You can click through the notifications to see what Furbo does and chat with your dog. The app also keeps stats for you. So you know how often and long your dog barks, how often your dog gets up from those endless naps, chews your slippers, and whatever else she is up to.
But there’s more! The Furbo app displays a little treat icon. You can use your finger to toss a treat (like a video game) do your dog. Furbo will play a little tune and then dispenses a treat or two to your Pavlov-trained canine from its built-in treat reservoir. It’s a great way to say hello and break the monotony of listening to replays of the Jefferson’s on the TV you left on for your furry friend. You can also ask Alexa to dispense the tasty morsel if you are away from your phone. There are (pricey) recommended treats. But I found perfectly acceptable tiny treats at my local Petco.
Furbo is not perfect, unlike Fido. The camera doesn’t pan, it’s still a bit pricey, and might be a target for larger dogs who don’t want to wait for you to dispense the treats. I could easily see your playful Labrador knocking this thing over, emptying out all the treats, and then falling into a food-coma on your newly made bed. Best bet, place it high.
The market for pet camera/treat dispensers is getting crowded. Good alternatives to Furbo include Petzi (petzi.com), Pawbo (pawbo.com), and Petchatz (petchatz.com). This article (bit.ly/2otMKpT) may help you make a good choice for your home and pet.
Oh Oh!. Lots of barking on the east side. Looks like Toddy is getting bored. Time for a Furbo break. Until next time.