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CleverPet
Photo: CleverPet

Video games have taken the world by storm over the last few years. Consumers spend billions of dollars every year in the video game industry, and now they can bring their dog in on the fun. It’s taken three years to develop, but a San Diego-based company is finally releasing their gaming console for dogs.

Although it’s nothing like the gaming consoles that are made for humans, CleverPet, a pet-tech startup that shared their business with the public last week, is now allowing dog owners to pre-order their product via their website.

Company CEO, Leo Trottier, said that orders will be shipped beginning in April. Consumers can pre-order the device now for $269 instead of the future retail price of $299.

CleverPet
Photo: CleverPet

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Last week the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) hit Las Vegas, and that’s where the company chose to debut the CleverPet device. Today is the last day to pre-order the product, as the special only runs through the end of the trade show.

CleverPet was designed by a pair of dog loving neuroscientists, each with a PhD, as well as a little help from Mike Nuttal, the co-founder of the design and consulting firm IDEO. The hub was created to entertain bored pets while their owner is away. It can be controlled by both dogs and cats.

Instead of spending his days lounging on the couch being lazy and gaining weight, your dog can solve puzzles using the CleverPet and receive rewards in the form of dog treats or kibble. The console consists of three touchpads that light up in various colors that dogs can see. It’s also equipped with speakers that emit numerous different sounds and tones.

Your dog will need to recognize and remember the patterns of lights and sounds in order to receive a treat or kibble of dog food. The patterns start out simple and become more complex as your dog begins to catch on. Some dogs pick up on these types of puzzle games very quickly, while others may need more practice to become an expert.

Daniel Knudsen, CleverPet co-founder, says that it may seem like a challenge to teach your dog to master memory games, but it actually isn’t as difficult as you’d think. In fact, lab mice and rats have been doing essentially the same thing for quite a long time. Now, CleverPet is bringing the concept to pet parents around the world.

Trottier says that the pair hope to bring other smart products to pet parents in the future. Their goal is to be able to turn homes into a virtual pet playground. CleverPet was founded in 2013, and the company is backed by $1 million of venture capital and $180,000 raised by early believers of the product via the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

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CleverPet
Photo: CleverPet

Last Tuesday the product took the number one spot in a startup competition at the CES show, and why not? The beauty of this product is not just the fact that it is already popular with consumers, but that it uses available technology to solve a problem that almost every dog owner has – a bored pet sitting at home alone during the work week.

Yes, this product is unique and expensive, meaning it won’t appeal to all pet owners. But it does meet a need that most pet parents have, and therefore I’m sure it will be a popular item. There are other similar products on the market that use technology to engage dogs while their owners are away, but this is the only product that I’ve seen that offers unlimited, adaptive, all-day activity for canines.