Interactive Dog Cameras for Dog Training
Over the Christmas holidays, it seems every pet owner had an interactive dog camera under her Christmas tree. Interactive dog cameras allow pet owners to peek in on their dogs while they’re away from home. Plus, these pet surveillance cameras offer special features, so pet owners can talk to or toss a treat to their dogs, making these dog cameras so popular. When used correctly, you can successfully train your dog through your interactive dog camera too—with a few caveats.
Let Sleeping Dogs Sleep
Most dogs sleep when pet owners are away, which is quickly confirmed after installing an indoor camera system. While it’s tempting to toss a treat or speak to your dog over the microphone, it’s best not to wake sleeping dogs.
Think about it this way: Waking up to the pinging sound of a treat being dispensed loudly from across the room is startling. Same things goes for when pet owners speak to their dogs through a microphone. These sounds can certainly scare some dogs so much so that they avoid hanging around the scary camera.
When dogs associate scary things with a pet camera, they’ll sleep in another room, defeating the purpose of camera check-ins throughout the day.
Common Dog Behavior Issues
Many pet owners worry that their dogs will bark incessantly when away at work, which is completely understandable. This is the perfect time to use the interactive treat dispensing feature! Most interactive dog camera systems will email or text a barking alert to notify you when sound is detected in your home. Quickly check the video feed and verify your dog is barking.
When your dog is barking, ignore it. Don’t say anything over the microphone; wait until your dog is quiet. Now, this may take a few minutes, but the moment your dog stops barking (even for a nano-second), dispense a treat. You’re rewarding quiet behavior even if your dog is quick for a split second. Plus, your dog will stop barking while he or she runs over to the camera and eats the treat. If your dog starts barking again, practice a few more times. Your dog will likely wait around the camera quietly, hoping a treat will fall out. 🙂
Take note of what causes your dog to bark, and prevent it from happening again. Close curtains and blinds, or prevent your dog from walking into rooms with front-facing windows by placing baby gates in doorways. Try leaving soft music playing in a windowed room to drown out noises. If ringing doorbells cause your dog to bark, hang a “Do not ring doorbell” note on the doorbell.
Management is an important part of changing dog behavior. Continue rewarding quiet behavior by dispensing treats when your dog is awake and quiet.
Separation anxiety is a common reason pet owners purchase dog cameras. It’s important to understand that separation anxiety is a very serious issue. In true cases of separation anxiety, dogs have complete panic attacks when left alone. Panicked dogs will bloody themselves trying to escape, vocalize for hours, pace, drool excessively and completely stress out. Pet surveillance cameras can only confirm your dog has separation anxiety, but it won’t help change the behavior.
When dogs panic, they won’t eat treats. And hearing a microphone version of your voice will likely freak your dog out even more. Unfortunately, this behavior won’t get better on its own. It’s important to work with a professional if your dog suffers from separation anxiety.
Schedule an appointment with a veterinary behaviorist. Record and save a video of your dog stressed out at home and send it to your veterinary behaviorist before your scheduled appointment. The information captured through your interactive dog camera will help you and your veterinary behaviorist determine whether or not your dog’s behavior is improving when you’re away.
Sometimes, when peeking in on dogs, pet owners notice their dogs chewing or destroying furniture. Instead of screaming over the microphone, make a smooching sound to distract your dog. When your dog looks away from whatever he or she is chewing, quickly dispense a treat. If your dog walks right back over and continues to chew on the pillow, make a smooching sound again over the microphone. Dispense a treat the moment your dog looks at the camera.
Usually, a recently rewarded dog will hang out, and sometimes fall asleep, next to the pet camera until you return home. They’re hanging out in hopes of treats dispensing from the camera again (smart dogs!).
Once home, management is important. Remove pillows from sofas, or block dogs from going into rooms containing chewable items. Crating your dog works well too; just make sure someone brings your dog potty after 3-4 hours.
Potty accidents happen, but an interactive dog camera system won’t change your dog’s behavior. Refrain from scolding your dog through the camera microphone—no use crying over spilled milk. Clean up the potty mess silently when you get home. To prevent your dog from pottying inside your house again, crate your dog while you’re away. Remember, it’s unfair to crate dogs longer than 3-4 hours, so hire a pet sitter to take your dog out to potty.
What have you witnessed while watching your dog through a dog camera system?