Think you know your dog really well and never struggle to asses how they are feeling? Well, a new piece of tech could back up your judgement, or tell you if you are barking up the wrong tree (sorry), using heart rate variability to monitor your dog's emotions.
If you are keen to find out how pet tech can make life easier for your furry companion (and you), then you will probably want to read on.
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Unlike cats, we believe that dogs wear their hearts on their sleeves. They wag their tails when they are happy, snarl if they feel threatened and if they roll over they want you to tickle their belly, right? Well, this might not always be the case, and many common behaviours we see in dogs, have small and very nuanced differences that can mean the difference between 'I love you, pet me more' and 'back off please'.
A piece of kit from Japan seeks to put an end to any cases of miscommunication with our pets. Inupathy, developed by Joji Yamaguchi, has been showcased at this year's IFA (Europe's biggest tech show). It consists of a harness worn by your dog to monitor their heart rate variability.
By collecting data from hundreds of dogs in various situations, the company has created data patterns that interpret how a dog feels from just their heart rate. When the harness is worn by your pet, the real-time heart rate monitoring creates a graph on your smart phone to tell you how your dog is feeling. This can spot common emotional states and tell you whether your dog is stressed, excited, relaxed, happy or interested.
The harness is fitted with LEDs that light up in the colour associated with the emotion your dog is feeling. If Fido's harness is multicoloured, he is happy. If it turns purple it might be time to remove him from whatever situation is causing him stress.
This tech does not only help avoid dog aggression caused by misread signals, or help you to pinpoint lifestyle factors that might stress your dog out. The heart rate monitor also keeps an eye on your dog's overall health – a feature the company are looking to develop to support pet healthcare.
Inupathy hopes their 'language-less communication' will have uses outside the household for animal healthcare and even the care of livestock. We are yet to test it out, but are intrigued to see whether it will make us into real life Dr Dolittles.