Wednesday 21 June 2023

Furbo 360° Dog Camera is potentially a failure for this reason

There's a new dog device on the block and it is called the Furbo 360° Dog Camera. It's being promoted as a way to keep your dog happy when you are away from your home. Where's the cat equivalent by the way?

It contains a rotating camera which allows you to glimpse of your pet pooch when they are at home alone. The camera has a smart sensor to track your dog when they move and when they bark.

You can speak to your dog through a real-time two-way radio. This allows you to soothe them while they are alone and becoming stressed.

It is said that the Furbo 360 "gives you peace of mind when you’re away from your pooches" (Picture: Furbo).  Yes, and in doing so it encourages us to leave them alone for longer. It can be a counterproductive device.

It has another interesting function. You can command the device to release a treat to your dog at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen. Metaphorically speaking the device throws a bone at your dog. You control the device through an app on your phone. You swipe the screen to release the treat.

Promotional articles obviously state that it is a wonderful device but perhaps typically of me, I see it differently.

It may be good in some instances but knowing human nature as I do it may be a device which encourages people to leave their dog home alone more often and for longer. They might see this device as a means to assuage their guilt. To get around the problem that they have of not being able to be with their dog daily for long periods.

Of course, we all know that nowadays many more people work from home at least part of the week thanks to the extraordinary Covid-19 lockdowns which changed the way the world works forever. This is potentially good for dogs.

It is said, by the experts, that a dog should not be left alone in their home for more than four hours at a stretch. That's quite a tight time limit. I wonder whether people realise this. I doubt it.

The manufacturers of this device obviously saw a window of opportunity. A niche market as they say in business.

But I would argue that it is exploitative of a weakness in the human-to-dog relationship. Dogs need their humans around. Ideally at all times. The human is the pack leader; the alpha dog.

Among the gray wolf packs in the wild, the alpha leader is always there; leading, guiding and educating.

The human-to-dog relationship is a week reflection of the original wild dog relationship and we like to devise devices to make up for our weaknesses. That is the way I see it; slightly negatively admittedly but perhaps also realistically.

Separately, but incidentally, people also have a misconception about domestic cats being independent and therefore being able to accept being alone all day. This is a complete fallacy. You leave a cat alone all day, every working day, and you will have a stressed cat liable to mark territory with urine and liable to stress-related illnesses.

How long can I leave my cat ‘home alone’?

In respect of the need of a cat to be with their caregiver, they are little different to dogs despite the fact that the domestic cat's wildcat ancestors is solitary. This change in character of the domestic cat has occurred over 10,000 years of domestication. They've become sociable and connected to their caregiver. It is to be expected.

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