Can the PitPat activity monitor help your dog?
It’s rare to come across a product that is simple in its implantation that it quickly becomes irreplaceable. The Pipat is such a device, a simple no nonsense product that does its job and does it well.
My first interaction with the developers left me somewhat deflated. At first I was excited to discover more about what was on offer from this orange paw. But my perception of what it could do was way off, that was my mistake.
My assumption was that I could record and track the movements of my dog on top of all the activity (walk, play and rest). Which the representative from Pitpat pointed out that in doing that wouldn’t give the 12-month battery life, it could also mean subscription costs or a higher device price.
Setup is one of the easiest I have seen. Velcro keeps the PitPat secured to your dog’s collar. During all our forest walks and lake swims Ziggy has been unable to shake this device from his collar.
Click to view PitPats Setup Page
With that our call ended, my authoritarian in all things break and play related arrived on cue tail wagging and plenty of drool to boot. Grabbing his lead, we headed out for some much needed air.
My mind set during our conversation was of how will this product help the owner? This is a very broad question which PitPat answers quite well on their website. The question needed to be; ‘How will this device help Ziggy (my distractor) and I’.
Ziggy is an 8-year-old, Yellow Labrador. Strangely for the last 12 months or so his weight has been a nightmare to control. I know Labs, right, eat everything in sight. You spend all day stopping them eating so they don’t get fat.
Not Ziggy, he drops weight! Vet visits, blood tests but no real clue as to why. Has he just gone off his food as most dogs can at some point. No, nor was his exercise regime contributing factor.
Continuing our walk, I notice a flyer highlighting that there had been incidents of dog thefts, within the area. Where the perpetrators had initially marked the house before coming back to carry out the heinous act of steeling ones loved one.
Obviously, I am concerned about this, but it did get me thinking about the Internet of Things and their hack ability. Everything is hackable by someone, something or both and we would be foolish to think otherwise. As criminal’s progress through the range of devices that are available, god forbid, if there was a chance that would-be criminals were to get past the developer’s strict security protocols of any of the current devices available. In that context why would I want to use something that would put a beacon on Ziggy?
It has been a long road with Ziggy, we have routines in place to manage the problem. He is fed relatively late, if a walk turns into anything longer than the norm, he is rested for a couple days to compensate. Returning back to my question, it was obvious;
In our busy lives the crossover of who does what can in its self be a nightmare to manage. Up until receiving the Pitpat I was the only one allowed to walk Ziggy, just to make sure the level of exercise was consistent to his feeding regime.
Whilst the family joined me most of the time, I did feel as if I was stealing him away from the rest. However, the Pitpat has given Ziggy whole heartily back to the family. With just a click of a button that day’s activity is instantly blue toothed to my phone. Allowing me to instantly see what he has been up to. Too much and I hide the dog lead, too little and we are sneaking out the door for a quick lap of the park.
Where the PitPat is let down is the app, I’m left wanting more every time I use it. I want more user ability, more customisation. A longer history to track the where the improvements are. More importantly, not taking anything away from the technological achievements of the PitPat device. It is a simple device, as such should be balanced by the app to deliver a better user involvement.
There needs to be a better integration of sync notifications that could be set by the user from default pre-sets. As the device is so good at working seamlessly that one can easily forget to transfer data.
Another thing I would like to see is a better weight and activity user interface. Obviously, the weight would have to be entered manually like most activity apps. But if combined within a longer history stream, one could get a better understanding of weight behaviour.
On speaking with developers, a second time it was clear, what makes the Pitpat special is their ability to address all my questions with positive resolutions. Some of which I can’t go into detail, but there are some exciting changes coming to support this little orange paw. Whole app is being rethought to address some of its short comings. With a release date between September – October time, the developers are working hard to bring the very best to existing and new customers.
As the device stands, I whole heartily recommend it even with the few negative points. Throughout our trial the Pitpat has performed without question even with Ziggy enjoying an afternoon swim. With the team behind this device not resting on their achievements and forging ahead for new improvements. I reckon we will be seeing a lot from these guys.