The future is a scary prospect to some people while others find it very exciting. Today's entrepreneurs work hard to make sure that technology continues its exponential growth, and it's safe to say that the further we move along this highway of innovation, the more new products and methods we'll encounter on our way to a more advanced, state-of-the-art tomorrow.
The plan for what lies ahead is especially consistent with pet owners interested in making their own lives, as well the lives of their pets, easier with the use of technology for dogs.
No one person today can be absolutely certain how technology will affect dog owners in the future, but we can definitely make an attempt at some educated guesses. All pet parents and dog lovers know that no amount of technological advancements could ever replace their need for canine companionship, but most are eager to see what how this innovation will help them care for their pets better.
Physical dog technology products as well as all types of pet software are being developed just as I'm writing this opinion piece. Some of those “byproducts” of entrepreneurial ventures will help dog owners interact with each other, others will ensure a better healthcare for dogs or possibly find a cure for canine arthritis, and we've seen so much happen over the last year:
- Technology that helps to keep your dog free from separation anxiety
- A new way to convert dog poop into natural energy resource
- A device to better understand your dog's body language
- Dog water bowls that filter your pet's water
- And even having dog DNA turned into works of art
…and much, much more.
How Technology Will Affect Dog Owners in the Future?
I don't have enough whitespace here to list all of what interests me on the dog technology front.
There are GPS and activity tracking collars, high-tech dog homes, and automated dog feeders. There are even social networks for dogs, devices that let you play with your pet from the office, and there’s even an accurate dog bark translator being developed right now. I mean, what?!
There's no doubt in most people's minds that this rapid progress is good. Technology is making it easier to tell how long of a walk to take your dogs on, when to give them medicine, and how much food to feed them every day. There are pet apps for smartphones that assist in training your new puppy. There are even automated dog toys that will throw balls for them whenever they want.
Industry experts have been talking about pet technology that will monitor which neighborhood dogs are out for a walk and when, so you can avoid the ones you don’t like and meet up with the ones you do. And just before the end of this decade, we'll probably see devices to better decode a dog's brain and find a way to read into their thoughts. Wouldn't that be cool?
All of these advancements were developed in the most recent decade. So if the dog technology industry has grown that much in just 10 years, I'd say the future is looking pretty bright. Every part of life with a dog is affected by today’s technological advancements, making it easier, healthier and more productive.
“But there are already so many dog products on the market, are things really going to change that much?”
Not only will things change, but they have been rapidly changing for a long while at the time when you weren't watching, probably because you still try to pick up your dog's poop using the old school method. Yes, there's a technology for that too. And more than one.
Here are a few things that currently fascinate me the most.
One of technologically advanced dog products that has been talked about a lot recently but hasn't appeared on the market yet is the No More Woof dog translator that uses brain waves to tell you precisely how your dog is feeling.
Similarly, Samsung has developed a Dog Dreamhouse where everything can be controlled by your dog’s own paw: from a treadmill to a tablet to a snack dispenser and hot tub spa. It even includes a hydrotherapy pool so your pooch can unwind after a long hard day. With a dog house like this, your pup may never want to leave home again.
GPS microchip trackers are already being mandated in some countries, and there’s talk of using these trackers to improve the cities that dog owners live in. By seeing where pups and their owners frequent most often and where the highest concentration of dog owners live, city officials will be able to plan developmental improvements more appropriately. Data like this could be used to put dog parks, walking paths, and other dog-centered hot spots in locations where they would be most convenient.
Wearable technology for dogs is also changing rapidly, and dog owners are struggling to keep up with all the updates.
We are used to smart collars, pet activity trackers and even dog UV protective sunglasses, but a new dog vest is going to hit the market soon, and we've never seen anything like this before. Called the FIDO Vest (standing for Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations), this could be a potentially lifesaving device, as it allows the dog wearing it to use his owner's phone to call 911 in an emergency.
The dog could activate a wireless device through simple dog activities, like chewing or tugging a pull rope, which would then allow the vest to access the owner’s phone and call for help. The inventors of this vest plan to equip rescue dogs and medical alert dogs with it, but there’s nobody stopping the everyday dog owner folk from having one for their pet in the future.
Wearable technology is advancing for service dogs and their owners as well!
Technologically advanced harnesses may allow humans and dogs to have a two-way communication in the near future. Through the use of computers and sensors, you may actually be able to get information about what your dog is feeling, seeing, and what information they are taking in, even from a remote location.
The makers of this harness, called the Cyber-Enhanced Working Dog Harness, have proven that it is a potentially successful idea, and they are currently working to make it more lightweight and comfortable for dogs of all sizes.
With the use of Cyber-Enhanced Working Dog harness, the information about your dog’s emotional and physical state will be sent to the human’s computer or other connected device. The user can then give voice commands and dispense treats from the vest at will, allowing the dog owner to react appropriately to what his dog is doing at that moment. This harness will transfer information from a working dog wearing it to a smartphone where the handler can easily access. This means the dog could relay information about dangerous terrain ahead or let his handler know that he found something.
We know how technology will affect dog owners in the future, but a harness like this would not only be useful in at-home training but in many other canine related professional fields as well. Cyber Enhanced harness will most likely be used with search, service and rescue dogs, possibly saving your life or the life of your pet.
“What if the dog could stay with the person they found, [and] activate a sensor on their vest that would geolocate and send a message to the search and rescue handler that says, ‘Hey I found the person, and I'm gonna stay with them'?” – Dr. Melody Jackson director of the Center for BioInterface Research at Georgia Tech
Sometimes, it's almost difficult to even believe how technology might affect dog owners in the future and what comes next…
There are some major advancements coming to the science of animal intelligence as well. Already, there is software called Dognition that allows dog owners to test their canine's intelligence in various areas, similar to the way a standardized test judges a child's performance in academics.
Dognition tests your pets abilities in five areas:
Once you figure out your dog's aptitude in a certain area, you can play additional games with your pet to raise his score in areas where they were weak. This will help to increase your dog’s natural intelligence. The software charts and tracks your dog’s progress over time so you can monitor his improvements.
Major innovations are on the way to help dog owners with behavioral training too!
Dognition, and other dog intelligence training software, can help in assisting in behavioral training too, as it can tell you what your dog reacts to and how she learns best. You may just find out that your dog is more intelligent than you realized, and she is able to learn plenty of new tricks you never thought of before.
In the past, dog trainers had to use harsh punishment techniques paired with the occasional treat in order to train their puppies to be obedient. That is not the case anymore! Now, there are newer reward-based training technologies coming out, such as the Pet Tutor, which allow owners to train their animals by using positive reinforcement instead.
The Pet Tutor is another great example of how technology will affect dog owners in the future. Training your pet will be as simple as pushing a button when products like this one hit the market! The Pet Tutor is an automated treat feeder that can be used to train your pet remotely and automatically through sound and motion detectors.
It can reward your dog for silence when she gets anxious and want to bark, for pushing a door open slowly instead of rushing it, or any number of other exceptional behaviors. You'll be able to train, praise, and reward your Fido all without even having to hold the treat yourself.
This device can hold up to five cups of treats of varying sizes. It can also be activated by a remote if you’re in the room or even away from home and watching your dog on your laptop.
The Pet Tutor and its inventors are strong promoters of positive training methods, and there are certain to be many more positive training devices hitting the market as more people realize the benefits of positive reinforcement.
So what will the future have in store for dog owners?
The future of dog technology will lead to healthier, happier, and more intelligent dogs (or maybe their owners?) Between dog-operated electronics and remote-controlled treats, dogs may even begin to have more control over their own lives than we do; helping with their overall happiness and sense of independence.
Of course, there will never be a replacement for interaction with either the dog or the human, but these advancements will make life easier for everyone. Owning a dog is a lot of work, and at times can seem like quite a chore, but with a little help from technology pet owners can build stronger bonds with their pets, understand them on a deeper level, and ultimately both parties will be more satisfied with the relationship.