Keeping an Eye on Alan with the Furbo Dog Camera
Just before the New Year, Alan received an early Christmas present, and with the rush of the festive season, it was one of the most useful items to have in the house. I’m talking about the treat dispensing Furbo Dog Camera - currently one of the top 10 dog cameras in the world.
Created with input from veterinarians and professional trainers, the camera has some practical features. It connects to your wifi and links up to an app so that wherever you are, you can see your dog (in HD) through the screen of your phone. There is a microphone so you can hear them barking, and you can even chat to them if you feel this consoles them. And the feature that really impressed me? … you can reward them with the touch of a button, with the in built treat dispenser. In this post I share what I’ve enjoyed the most about having this new device in the home, and my tips on how to use it effectively rather than obsessing over your dog when they’re alone.
The RSPCA recommends that a dog shouldn’t be left home alone for more than 4 hours. This is a general rule that I try and stick to, and thankfully my routine means Alan is rarely left for long periods of time. When he is, we are lucky enough to have friends and a dog walker on standby. They drop in so that Alan can have a big play in the park or a long walk, an essential part of his day to ensure that he’s not bored or distressed. Instead he’s sound asleep until the moment we arrive home.
So how do I use it, what are the benefits and what are my top tips?
1. The ‘Just left home’ check
Whether I’m walking to the shops or on my way to a shoot, I’ve naturally found myself checking the Furbo just moments after leaving the house. I like to do this just for peace of mind that Alan is settled. Most of the time he is and straight away he bagels (curls) up and falls fast asleep.
2. Trusting your Dog
If you have a puppy or a young dog, having a Furbo can bring so much peace of mind, it shows that (a) They’re coping well and (b) They’re not destroying all the furniture.
Getting a Furbo couldn’t have come at a better time for us, as we were just transitioning from restricting Alan to the kitchen when he was left alone, to him having free reign of the house. I think having the Furbo accelerated this step for us. Alan is still prone to chewing on cushion corners and ripping up anything that comes through the letterbox, so I was a bit wary about him roaming the house. But the decision came when we realised he found comfort from sleeping on our bed, and a new spot in the living room, which (after leaving a blanket out) he just made his own and which we’ve since dubbed the Al-cove.
Now that we allow him to be in whatever room he wants I can see a relaxed dog through the lens of the Furbo and I feel so reassured and also proud of Alan that he can be trusted. He still likes to destroy things but we’ve realised he’ll do it in our presence, probably for the attention. It’’s all about knowing your dog’s personality and that’s something the Furbo really allows you to get an insight on.
One of my favourite features of Furbo is that you can zoom in on your dog, even during a live stream. Sometimes when I do a random check on Alan, he’s sat upright in his corner, just looking or listening. I like to zoom in on him just to check he’s not scared or on edge.
3. Moving the Furbo around the House
When you get a Furbo, it’s important to think about where it’s going to live. When the dog walker is scheduled to visit the house we shut off the upstairs, so we keep the Furbo in the living room, but when friends drop in on him, we leave it in the bedroom. I guess it’s just about understanding your dog’s routine and knowing where he’ll be spending most of his time while you’re out. It’s not too bulky either so not a pain to move about on a daily/weekly basis. Alan was quite scared of the Furbo to begin with. When it dispenses a treat it makes a teency bit of a noise, something I’m sure doesn’t bother most dogs, but Alan was a little spooked. But with every day he seems to be getting more used to this new fixture in the home. There is a training feature via the app so you can get your dog more accustomed to having it in the home and all of its new noises etc.
4. Barking Notifications
So Alan is a bit of a barker. Something we’re trying really hard to control. He barks out of fear. Any car door, loud noise or knock at the door and he’s off. The Furbo sends an immediate notification to your phone when your dog is barking, a feature I’ve found really useful. Although I can’t always see what he’s barking at, I can see how long it takes for him to calm down and go back to sleep. I’ve also noticed that he actually barks less when we’re not there - this tells me that his noise making could be a guarding behaviour of ‘his pack’. Hopefully we will get to the stage where I can chat to him through the Furbo and command him to stop barking, but for now I don’t want to risk that as I think it would confuse him more.
Although having these notifications is really useful, you can only watch a live stream. So if I’ve been working and I’m away from my phone, I’m unable to watch past footage and see the exact point Alan started barking.
I’d say the biggest plus about the Furbo has been the fact that it’s actually improved and synchronised our daily routine.
I have to admit, before owning a Furbo I’d always been a bit cynical about at-home dog cameras, wondering whether they were more of a hindrance than a help? I used to think surely it’s better not knowing what your dog is up to, so you can get on with your day, saving your mind from going into worry overdrive? But to me, it’s not been about watching Alan’s every move, but about understanding his personality so that we can make sure he is as comfortable as possible without us. And as one of Pet Stories’ main values is to document a pet’s individual personality and routine through beautiful pictures, I’m glad that the Furbo allows me to be a fly on the wall for a different type of insight into my own pet’s behaviour.
If you like the sound of having your own Furbo, you can receive a special discount of 50% off at the checkout using code petstoriesuk50
Stay tuned to the Pet Stories Instagram, for more updates on Alan’s progress.