Wolfgang’s Woof: FitBark – A Wireless Activity Tracker for Dogs

September 12, 2013

1:00 pm

wolfgangLast week, I sat down to have a serious conversation with Jen and Frank, regarding my future role in this company. No longer did I want to be known simply as the unofficial mascot for Tech Cocktail; I want to branch out and to fully involve myself in the family business – what aspiring dog mogul doesn’t? Well, it seems that their understanding of our [dog] language is more comprehensive than I initially thought; hence, I bring you my first product review. – Wolfgang Wolfdog

FitBark is a fitness and activity tracker for dogs (sorry, cats – it’s not like you do anything other than lounge around anyway). So, it’s kind of like your human’s Fitbit or Jawbone UP, except you wear it on your collar. I know, I know – the thought of a tiny machine on your collar is intimidating. Luckily for me, I’m not afraid of anything. No, not even that Maine Coon living two floors above us, the one whose owner – despite my howls of repudiation – repeatedly offers to feed me carrots, on her insistence that I am, in fact, a giant hamster. Insidious contumely. One of these days, I’m going to leave paw-prints all over her door.

Sorry for that aside, reader, but I know you can empathize with my low tolerance for felines and their owners.

The one I tried came in blue, but for those who aren’t as adventurous, FitBark comes in five different colors, so you can choose something a little more traditional and tuned-down, like a nice red or black. It’s much smaller than you would expect and didn’t at all irritate my neck; honestly, I forgot I even had it on. Though small in size, this alluringly bone-shaped device packs a bark, estimating the recommended amount of activity we should get based on our size, age and breed, and tracking our actual amount of activity over time.

Speaking on behalf of their owners – and founders of FitBark – Davide Rossi and Michael Chiang, I sat down with Louis and Freud (for which the FitBark was designed) to talk about the device. “The aspiration was to understand [us dogs] better and to be better connected. [Davide and Michael] created FitBark to give insight into [our] lives and to better understand [us],” says Freud.

Our humans definitely want better ways to understand us – surely, we’ve all experienced days when we’ve felt sick but couldn’t fully translate this message to our owners. Because the FitBark measures our daily activity, it will provide our owners with data that may hint at our being sick. It also allows them to keep track on our activity (through their phones) when they’re not at home and we’re forced to pretend to enjoy the company of our dog walkers and no, Justin, please don’t ask me to fetch your old shoe again.

I think it’s great that Jen can keep track of me, but it would be great if I could keep track of her. After all, humans need to live active lifestyles, too, and it’s much harder for them considering the time they spend with their iPhones, iPads, and their Orange is the New Black. Luckily for me, FitBark has an open API and works with human trackers like Fuelband and Fitbit. This means that someone (man, woman, or dog) out there can develop a way to notify me when Jen hasn’t taken her 10,000 steps for the day.

Overall, I think we dogs will benefit greatly from FitBark – definitely get your owners to invest in one when it comes out. Until next time, dear readers, stay active and keep woofing.

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Passionate + Hopeless Romantic + Adventurer + Mogul + Misunderstood + The Most Interesting (Wolf)Dog In The World. You can find me on Twitter @WolfgangWolfdog

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