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The SNIF Tag: Big master is watching

Cool or creepy? You decide.

SNIF Tag is a device you attach to your dog’s collar, allowing you to go online and monitor his activity. It doesn’t tell you where your dog is — only what he’s doing, within the boundaries of sleeping, eating and playing anyway.

The website explains it this way: “You’d like to be home with your dog all day long but sometimes the little things like work and travel get in the way. With the SNIF Tag, you never have to wonder what your dog is doing while you’re gone. Using motion-sensing and wireless technology, the SNIF Tag records all of your pet’s activity indoors and out and displays the information through a simple, clear, online interface.”

On top of that, the device records all encounters with other dogs wearing SNIF Tags, meaning, when you get back home, you can go online and read about the other dog’s owner.

You may, for example, be afraid to talk to the babe with the boxer, but with SNIF Tag, assuming the boxer is wearing one as well, you can look up her profile back home and send her a message.

“By recording encounters with other SNIF dogs, your SNIF Tag becomes more than a pet monitoring device– it’s a tool for social networking that expands your circle of friends every time you take your pup for a walk.” As the video points out, it can lead to new “friends … or maybe more.”

I can see how the device could provide useful information, such as making sure your dog walker is really walking the dog and for exactly how long, but all in all it strikes me as a little covert — and as a tool that will make life easier and more guilt-free for absentee pet owners, who shouldn’t have a pet in the first place.

Here, though, is the most disturbing part of all, it’s regularly $299! (A special $199 introductory rate is now in effect.)

Founded in 2005 by four MIT Media Lab graduates, SNIF Labs designed the SNIF Tag and touts it as an opportunity to network and learn more about your dog’s behavior in real-time.

“We loved the idea of using real-world social networking to let your dog do the relationship-building work and act as a kind of social catalyst,” said Noah Paessel, CEO and co-founder of SNIF Labs. “SNIF Tag not only gives dog owners peace of mind, it also offers a non-threatening way to meet new friends and companions via their dogs’ encounters.”

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I’d rather see my now dog run and wrestle in person, than as a blip on the computer screen. That’s┬ájust not how I like my interface — be it canine or human.


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time November 11, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Kind of creepy. I’d take the $299 and sign it over to the Humane Society. Or maybe to some rescue group that could put it towards microchipping expenses.

Comment from MG
Time November 11, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Very creepy
Make a donation to a Rescue or a Charity with that money.
More connected to your pet???
Take your pet for a walk or run!
People who get one of these shouldn`t have a living creature in their care.