I’m going to talk tech for a few minutes this morning.
There are several reasons to videotape your dog. The first is to get to know him better. Taping 15 minutes of your new puppy’s first time alone will give you a plethora of information from which to help with your training and living strategy. Separation issues, house soiling, garbage grabbing and making sure who of your multiple dogs is stealing the cheese from the kitchen counter, are just a few other reasons to have a camera on your dogs while you’re out to dinner.
In my first career, I was a techie and it’s helped my dog rearing immensely. When I bring up tech to my clients they always look at me with that, “yes I hear what you’re saying but no I’m not going to do it” look. ” Yes” I say, “I get it, but humor me just in the very beginning. Take 15 minutes of video of your new dog”. It is a great tool in your new doggie kit to help make your life easier in the long run. To do the very best for your new pooch, ultimately helps your whole family.
It all started with video cameras. One of the first things I learned about having dogs was to “know what you have from the start of your life with them”. Shortly after I got my first puppy, I put on a video camera, put her in her crate and left for 15 minutes as instructed by my dog trainer. When I got home, I let her out and the two of us watched the video. On the fifteen minute video, after I closed the door, she turned around two times, made her bed and fell sound asleep until I returned and the door woke her. Perfect, absolutely the most perfect response I could have wanted.
When I get a new dog in my home, I have some bonding and learning time for the first day or two, and by the second day it’s time to do a test. If your dog is crate trained use the crate, or if he is not crate trained yet use her safe area. Put her in the crate (area), give a little treat, turn on the camera, don’t make a fuss, and take a walk for 15 minutes.
If 15 minutes seems too long try 10 or even 5. Some dogs when in a new house can be fidgety for the first few minutes and then settle down for a nap. That’s why 15 minutes can be a good start, although some dogs take 20 minutes or more to settle. If the results are anything but what I mentioned earlier, don’t panic. Remember what happened with that puppy was perfect. There’s a huge continuum between perfect and awful, that somewhere may include your normal dog. Often puppies vocalize, in the beginning until they’re used to their new home. Do some research with a positive trainer or author to find what’s “normal” and find solutions. Don’t forget we’re talking tech today.
In 2010 your filming options are many. The first and (I guess) most old fashioned is the video camera with tape. It works for shorter outings and the first initial 15 minute test run. Because the tapes are not used for your spectacular Hawaiian vacation you can watch them and use them many times. Make sure to put the tape on the lowest quality recording for longer recording time (usually two hours), and then make double sure to put it back on high quality when you are taping your wedding at the ocean in a blizzard. Sorry I digress, but I do learn from my mistakes and hope to help you avoid them.
Next is a hard drive camera, which you can keep on for longer outings. As long as you have a power source that’s hidden away from accidents (dogs knocking over camera that have a cord in the way) you can tape for as long as your hard drive allows. They can give you 20-30 hours of taping on an empty drive. This is way longer than you would actually ever leave your dog alone. These tapes can be a little tedious to watch (hopefully) but you can watch them at high speed and only go to regular when you are seeing some action. My camera has a 60 times feature so I can watch an hour of tape in one minute. If they’re sleeping the whole time, it doesn’t take long to check on the report from the dog-sitting camera. There are also many new smaller video devices, called pocket camcorders. The Fiip, Sony Bloggie, or Kodak Playsport can often give you from 1-2 hours on a hard drive.
The coolest thing I’ve seen in this topic so far are the “live camera apps for our smart phones. The iPhone has a wonderful app called iCam. For $4.99 and a computer with a camera, you can watch live action (or hopefully sleeping action ) on your iPhone while you’re out. This is so far my favorite, and the most efficient wizardry I have found. It gives me great comfort to pull out my phone at any time and push a button to see my dogs sound asleep in their respective areas. The PC world has similar software called Vitamin D that you can download for free. Then get some basic cameras for about $25 dollars or use your laptop’s camera and you’re good to go also. This program has e-mail notifications, but so far (I think) it doesn’t go live to your phone.
One more thing about taping. Even if your first viewing is perfect like mine was, put the camera on every few months to make sure everything is still “quiet on the doggie front”. It’s a sure proof way to know if your pooch is “just fine”
Thanks for talking tech with me, it was fun.
As always, gentle teachings.