We can all agree that dogs are our best friends. Even though we don’t always understand the way they communicate, that hasn’t stopped us from believing we know exactly what they’re trying to tell us. It turns out we won’t have to fake it anymore, thanks to a new smart-dog collar that translates a pup’s bark for us to understand.
The Pet Puls collar listens to a dog’s bark and identifies the emotion behind it. The collar can detect five emotions; happy, relaxed, anxious, angry or sad. The smart-dog collar was developed in South Korea and uses an algorithm to pull information from a database of more than 10,000 bark samples from 50 different dog breeds. The collar then displays the emotion and other information, such as activity level and rest, through an app that can be downloaded on a smartphone.
This isn’t the first attempt of humans trying to develop a better relationship and communication habits with our dogs. There have been other studies to see how a dog’s brain reacts to words and sounds. One study trained dogs to lie still for seven minutes while in an fMRI scanner to see how their brains reacted to words they were familiar with. They used both positive words such as “that’s it” and “clever” and neutral words such as “if” and “yet.” Both sets of words were spoken in a positive tone and in a neutral tone. The results showed that the words were processed by the left hemisphere of the brain, whereas the tone it was spoken in was processed by the right hemisphere of the brain, which is the same way humans process speech.
Another study demonstrated the effects of music on dogs, showing that soft rock and reggae reduced their stress levels. It showed they were more likely to lay down, and it increased their Heart Rate Variability (HRV), meaning there was more time between heartbeats.
A form of communication that has been made popular by a dog on TikTok named Bunny is the FluentPet button system. It’s a set of sound buttons that a human uses to record a word, such as “food,” and it is placed on a special mat with cut-outs for the buttons. The dog is then trained to press the buttons with their paw to communicate what they want, such as pressing the “food” button at dinner time. Bunny has about 40 words that she uses to communicate, ranging from names, places, things, activities, adjectives, and verbs. Other people have started to train their dogs to use these buttons, but so far Bunny seems to have the most complex button system, this impressive dog and system has attracted Bunny’s 5.7 million followers on TikTok.
Although people investing in these button systems might seem like they are taking things a little too far, there are many other products on the market that let us connect on a deeper level with our pets.
The FitBark is the canine equivalent to a FitBit. It’s an activity tracker that attaches to the dog’s collar to track their play, activity and rest. Also in the fitness category, we have the DogPACER, a treadmill built specifically for dogs. Finally, the Furbo, a pet camera so that humans can keep an eye on their furry family members when they aren’t at home. The Furbo also has built-in two-way speakers allowing you to talk to your pets, and it even has a “treat toss” feature, with the press of a button on your smartphone the Furbo will dispense a treat for your dog at home.
One thing is for sure, human’s never-ending love for dogs will always support the science and creativity that go into the experiments and products to help us better understand our wonderful companions.