iCPooch - Invention that Could Help Separation Anxiety

Check out the iCPooch video below

Video chat with your dog?  There’s an app for that!

Dogs are increasingly left alone for long periods of time as we go about our busy lives.  This is particularly difficult for dogs that experience separation anxiety.  But what if there was an invention that could help separation anxiety?

The idea came from a 14 year old girl.   The idea that with the help of an iPhone or iPad, you can both see and hear each other as well as deliver a treat to your dog anywhere you happen to be, as long as you are connected to the internet.

Aside from the concern that it may encourage people swap technology for proper care and attention, and aside from wondering if separation anxiety could result in the destruction of your precious technology (although it can be moved out of reach), the iCPooch invention could have a number of applications for behavior modification including dealing with barking or aggression at the door.

For example, we had written about a dog trainer had used a similar technique to creatively help her dog with barking.  In that article the trainer and her dog had moved to an apartment building.  Her dog was barking in response to the strange sounds heard out in the hallway.  Barking obviously could cause some problems living in an apartment building. Read how she dealt with the barking in a very creative way using a Manners Minder (which evolved into the Premier Treat & Train Remote Reward Dog Trainer – and then became PetSafe Treat & Train Remote treat dispenser – see it on Amazon).

Do dogs respond to us… or the treat?

The site suggests that iCPooch can help prevent our dog from being lonely. But do dogs actually see and hear their owners voice the same way through technology as they do in real life?  We know that dogs rely on their sense of smell more than their vision and hearing. Without being able to smell the presence of their owner, how much does seeing the screen and hearing the sound of their owners through a little speaker really mean to a dog? After all, dogs quickly learn to adjust to a mirror image of themselves, even though the theory is they don’t realize the image they see is actually them.

We know that dogs do not generalize nearly as well as humans so.  What that means is that what dogs learn in one situation does not transfer well when any of the variables are changed.

For example, a dog that knows how to sit from a standing position has no clue what to do when you ask him to sit when he is lying down.  A dog that has been taught how to sit in the living-room does not know what you want him to do when you ask for a sit in the kitchen until he is trained there, too. So do they get that it’s us?  And do they need to know it’s us to make a difference?

Maybe the whole genius in this invention is being able to see your dog and deliver a treat when you are in a remote location.

Treating separation anxiety

The idea behind this is that you can connect with your dog and this helps your dog to not feel so isolated.  The nanny cam aspect to it – if it works that way – is undoubtedly appealing. But the idea that we can also interact with our dog from a remote location is something else.  It may sound silly, but being able to call our dogs over, deliver a treat, and connect may do something for our own separation anxiety. In turn we may just be a little less keyed up when we get home, which can only be good for our dog. It communicates to our dogs that departures and arrivals are not necessarily a big deal.

Here is another application to help our dog’s separation anxiety.  Some dogs benefit when they consistently get a signal that indicates we will be arriving home soon. Consequently, this let’s our dog know what to expect.  Anytime that we can make events more predictable for dogs helps. If this product works the way it sounds like it should, this could really help with that.

iCPooch Mixed Reviews

Initially we posted this when the iCPooch was first released and there were few reviews.  Unfortunately more than half of the reviews on Amazon have rated the product either three stars or less. While it appers to work well for many, the biggest issue for those who posted a critical review appears to be connectivity problems.

A better alternative: Petzi Treat Cam

A better execution of this idea might be the Petzi Treat cam. Like iCPooch, this gadget uses wifi to allow you to see your dog via your smart phone, but unlike iCPooch, it comes with the camera installed (so you don’t need to own a tablet). Your dog can’t see you, but they can hear your voice. Also solving one of the complaints about iCPooch, is that the Petzi treat cam can be mounted out of reach.

Unfortunatly the sound id just one way. They can hear you, but you can’t hear them so you can’t har if your dog i whining or crying. It also makes it a little more difficult to antispate rewarding them deliver treats when they hear something or someone outside.

Below is the manufactures videos for more information

If you are interested in this for treating separation anxiety or any other behavior modification application, you may also be interested in checking out the PetSafe Treat & Train Remote treat dispenser (formerly Premier Treat & Train Remote Reward Dog Trainer and Manners Minder) also on Amazon\, as well. This product has been on the market for a long time and has gone through a variety of updates.

It has no camera and you need to be within a 100 foot range. However it allows you to remotely deliver a treat to a dog which is helpful for behavior modification.  For example, if you have a dog who acts up at the door, you can teach them to go to a particular place away from the door and lie down as soon as they hear a door bell or knock.

For those interested in the iCPooch story and how it came to be, below is the Kickstarter video iCPooch used to raise funds to get the project going.