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Tag: walking

Would you let a drone walk your dog?

We report often on dog-related technology here on ohmidog! — both that which is budding and that which has found its way to the marketplace — and a good 90 percent of the time we have nothing positive to say about it.

Including this time.

A drone that walks your dog? No. No. And no.

This is just one man’s experiment, but let’s hope it doesn’t catch on.

Here’s the thing about dog-centered technology: It’s usually not centered on dogs at all.

Instead, it is aimed at making the lives of dog owners easier. Generally, it is something that relieves dog owners of responsibility, allowing them to both spend less time with their dog and feel less guilty about it.

Like machines that, on a programmed schedule or through remote operation, can dispense a treat to your dog while you’re away.

Or a machine that will play fetch with your dog while you’re away, or just too tired to go to all that effort.

And all those other contraptions, apps and gizmos that allow you to cut down on face to face time with your dog, thereby eroding the one thing that counts — the bond between the two of you.

Those devices aren’t really making it any easier for you to live your life. Your dog, on the other hand, is.

The video above shows Lucy, a golden retriever from Connecticut, being walked by a drone.

Jeff Myers, the mind behind this video, said he wanted to show it could be done — always a dangerous reason to do something, especially when it’s the sole reason.

Myers lives in New York City, and he borrowed his mother’s dog for the experiment, in which dog is leashed to drone and drone is controlled by an app.

It’s just a concept Myers says.

So too, at one point, was dog cloning. Those concepts — good or bad — have a way of turning into business enterprises once the realization that there could be profits kicks in.

This NPR report about the dog walking drone and other technological developments for dogs, concluded, “The future is here and it’s pretty darn cute.”

Pretty darn cute?

Yeah, right up there with using your car to walk your dog:

A hi-tech idea whose time shouldn’t come

Volkswagen says this special cap a dog can wear — allowing you to monitor and stay in touch with him as he goes for a walk alone — is just a concept.

And as concepts go, we would say this would have to be one of the most stupid ones ever.

Called the Connected Dog, it’s billed in this video as the prototype for a newfangled way to walk your dog — without ever leaving home.

“Just like the My Volkswagen app, the Connected Dog is designed to make the owner’s life easier. The owner no longer needs to be present to walk the dog. After he remotely unlocks the doggy door, he is able to track the dog through both GPS and a live cam, whilst the application enables the ability to provide the dog with location-specific voice commands and rewards for spotless behavior (or ‘being a good boy’).”

connecteddogThe video was made by the creative agency ACHTUNG!

In it, a dog is shown roaming the city and stopping at a butcher shop while receiving remote voice commands from his owner.

“The dog is in charge, and he has an incredible life,” Dutch dog trainer Martin Gaus explains. “We’ll have to wait to see what the future will bring, but the sky’s the limit.”

The Connected Dog cap consists of a camera that sends live video to the owner, GPS tracking to show exactly where the dog is roaming, and speakers for the dog to hear commands.

PSFK.com called The Connected Dog “a cute and clever concept.”

AdWeek reported that the video is a prank.

Achtung! made a similar prank video last year, featuring a self-driving, self-braking VW baby stroller.

This one though — early April Fool’s joke that it is — isn’t too far off the mark when it comes to some of the newfangled dog technology being marketed these days, much of it aimed at ways you can control your dog from afar, or otherwise shirk your responsibility as a pet owner.

To all who seek to do that we offer a high-tech alternative, a robot dog.

And, if you insist on a real dog, we offer a low-tech solution: Get your ass home.

Dog parking? Baguetteaboutit

They may be well-intentioned and address a real issue, but these parking crates for dogs that have appeared on the streets of New York worry me.

The woman behind them hopes to have 100 of them in place in Brooklyn by next spring, place them throughout New York City and, eventually, other cities across the country.

It works like this: You sign up for a membership, and receive a member card in the mail that unlocks the temperature controlled doghouse. Then you’re billed through the mail at a rate of 20 cents per minute.

Chelsea Brownridge told Fox 5 the idea grew out of her own concerns about leaving her dog Winston tied up when she has to run into a store.

Of course, that’s a troublesome practice, too — and more than a few dogs have been stolen after being left tied outside stores in New York, and elsewhere.

Dog parkers are now in test mode outside of two Fort Greene businesses, including Baguetteaboutit on Vanderbilt and DeKalb, where a spokesman welcomed the idea.

“A lot of our customers will open up the door and yell out to us, ‘Can you bring me out a sandwich? Can you bring me a menu? I don’t want to leave my dog.’ And we’ll accommodate them. This gives them an opportunity to take care of their dog while they come in and take care of themselves.”

Seems to me taking steps to accommodate dog-walking customers outdoors would be an easier solution — as would people leaving their dogs at home when they have the need to shop.

My main objections though come from being claustrophobic, and a technophobe.

The dog parking crate reminds me a little bit of those newspaper boxes (which you can probably get a pretty good deal on nowadays) — and simple as they were they often malfunctioned.

Dogs can see out of the boxes through a small plastic window, but the boxes still seem uncomfortably confining. And anything that is “temperature controlled” can see its temperature go out of control.

On top of that, anyone who has had to return to the hotel lobby three or more times to get one of those key cards rejiggered — so it actually opens the door to their room — knows those cards can’t be trusted.

What’s going to happen when a dog owner can’t get his dog out of the box?

An app is in the works that will allow customers to reserve boxes, but they otherwise will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Will New Yorkers end up fighting over them too, as they do parking spaces and taxi cabs? Will Uber dog parking boxes surface, charging only 10 cents a minute?

If a key card is able to open any dog parking crate in the city, might thieves just maybe figure that out and sign up for membership?

There are just too many questions. It might be easier to just make all business establishments dog friendly.

Until then, always walk with another friend when out with your dog, or leave the dog home, or — difficult as it may be — skip the baguette.

The fastest dog on two (front) paws

There’s a new “fastest dog on two feet,” Guinness World Records reports.

While Jiff, a pomeranian who once appeared in a Katy Perry video, is listed in the 2015 Guinness World Records as the fastest dog to walk on two legs, a new two-legged runner has laid claimed to at least part of the title.

Konjo, a Papillon-Jack Russell-Chihuahua mix from California, wrested the title away from Jiff after scooting 5 meters on front paws in 2.39 seconds, breaking Jiff’s record of 7.76 seconds.

Jiff still holds the record for being the fastest while using only back paws.

Konjo started walking on her front feet when she was a puppy, explains her owner, Julia Pasternack.

“My theory as to why she started doing this is that her center of mass resides primarily in the front, allowing her better balance,” Pasternack said.

Growing up in a two-story home, Konjo probably became used to putting all her weight on her front feet when she went down stairs.

All the positive affirmation she received when walking on just her front paws while on level ground probably led her to continue to demonstrate the talent, Konjo’s veterinarian thinks.

Jiff: The fastest dog on two legs

A four-year-old Pomeranian named Jiff has been named the fastest dog on two legs.

He has four of them, but he only needs two — front or rear — to propel himself so speedily and over such great distances that he’ll be honored for two records in the 2015 Guinness World Record book. The 60th anniversary edition is coming out September 10.

jiffNot that Jiff wasn’t already pretty famous.

Jiff has appeared in several television ads and was featured in “Dark Horse,” a music video by singer Katy Perry. His Facebook page has more than 1.3 million “likes.

Originally from Grayslake, Illinois, Jiff recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, according to his owners, who prefer to remain anonymous.

“When Jiff first walked into our offices, we weren’t even sure he was real,” Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday said. “He looks like a living, breathing cuddly toy.”

(Photo: from Jiff’s Facebook page)

Dog walker blasted for leaving Lab in his Jag

rocketIf there were a Professional Dog Walker Hall of Shame, we might have to nominate this Jaguar-driving hipster — at least based on a first-hand account recently published on the Echo Park Forums

The writer was in a Los Angeles supermarket when it was announced that there was a black sports car in the parking lot with its windows rolled up and a dog inside.

She went outside and saw a black Jaguar, with a black Lab panting in the black leather driver’s seat. The car was locked, with its windows up.

Standing by the car was a frantic woman — the one who had reported it to the store and called 911.

Another onlooker was threatening to break the car’s window when a fire truck was waved down. Firefighters got the door open and, as the car’s alarm system blared, they let the dog out.

According to her tags, her name was Chloe.

Chloe perked up after some water, and police showed up at the scene a little later, determining the car’s ownership by checking it’s VIN number. (It had no license plate.)

echoparkThe post says a good hour passed before the driver of the Jaguar showed up. He told officers he was from New York and didn’t understand that the Los Angeles weather was too hot to lock a dog in a car.

He told police the dog was his.

But after onlookers called the phone number listed on Chloe’s collar, they realized he was lying — about that and more.

The dog’s owner answered, saying Chloe belonged to her, and that the black Jaguar was her dog walker’s car.

He has his own dog walking company, Rocket Dog Walking, in Los Angeles, which serves downtown, the Eastside and the Northeast.

He has been identified in Internet comments and on Facebook as an aspiring actor who has appeared in two low-budget movies.

We don’t know if he has a future in acting, but based on this report we know how much future he should have as a dog walker:


(Photos: Echo Park Forums and Facebook)

How many dogs can a dog walker walk?


How many dogs should a dog walker walk at once?

After half a century as an amateur dog walker, and three months as a professional one, I’m prepared to give a qualified answer to that question.

It depends on the dogs. It depends on the dog walker. But three at a time should be plenty.

Many a dog walker might scoff at that — and view the idea of limiting the number of dogs a person can walk at one time as cutting into their profit margin.

It would be nice if dog walking was the one industry in the world not obsessed with upping its profits. But it’s not.

Many dog walkers balked when San Francisco — one of very few cities that regulates professional dog walkers — suggested limiting them to walking no more than eight dogs at once.

I can’t imagine doing that.

I can’t even imagine walking all three of the small dogs I walk for residents of at an assisted living facility all at once.

bgdogs 042Their leashes would get tangled, I’d trip and fall, and, given a couple of them tend to snarf up anything that resembles food — including Punkin, the handsome Boston Terrier to your left — I wouldn’t be able to monitor all three at once.

So — even though it takes three times as long — I opt for walking them one at a time. Bean counters and efficiency experts would say that’s stupid of me.

But then again, I’m 60, and not as agile and speedy, maybe, as once I was.

Here’s a news item that came out of Mill Valley, just up the road from San Francisco, this week:

A 71-year-old dog walker who fell more than 200 feet down a ravine in California was found by rescuers — with all six dogs she was walking huddled around her.

Carol Anderson fell into the ravine near a remote fire road during a storm Tuesday in Mill Valley, KTVU reported.

It’s not clear from news reports whether all six dogs fell with her, but she did manage to hold on to her cell phone during the tumble, and use it to contact one of her dog walking clients.

A Mill Valley Fire Department official said Anderson told the client, “I fell down, I don’t know where I’m at. I have the dogs. I’m dizzy. I’m nauseous, come help me.”

Authorities were able to track her down through her cell phone signals. The first rescuers to arrive found all six dogs curled up around her, which authorities said probably protected her from the cold. Firefighters climbed into the ravine and hoisted Anderson back up.

Anderson was hospitalized in fair condition. All the dogs were returned safely to their owners

It wasn’t the first time the dog walker has run into some bad luck.

In 2007, three of seven dogs Anderson had been walking — all at once — all got sick and died, just hours later, from what turned out to be strychnine poisoning intended to exterminate gophers.

After a morning walk on the Alta Trail above Marin City, the three dogs experienced high fevers and seizures. Two died at an area pet hospital, and a third was dead on arrival.

Walking six, seven, eight or more dogs at once strikes me as asking for trouble — no matter how well behaved the dogs are, or how experienced and physically fit the dog walker is.

I don’t think the rest of the country needs to go all San Francisco and regulate the industry. Dog owners can do that themselves, simply by asking, or insisting if necessary, that their dog not be walked in a group the size of a baseball team, or jury.

The dog walker who refuses to comply with such a request is probably more of a money seeker than a dog lover and may be better off avoided anyway.

(Top photo, a dog walker in San Francisco, by Mike Koozmin/ San Francisco Examiner; bottom photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)