Barking Blondes: Doggy apps, lost pooches and ‘petworking’

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

Dogs TV 225x300 Barking Blondes: Doggy apps, lost pooches and petworkingDogs are big business! As well as dog ownership doubling in six years, the pet industry has boomed in the UK, with an estimated value of £7 billion, increasing by seven per cent annually despite the recession. The past decade has seen an explosion of doggy gadgets, toys, clothes, beds, bowls, jewellery, collars and leads, not to mention foods, treats and doggy ice-cream.

Well, now it seems the computer age has targeted dog owners, with the app market believing it can enrich your relationship with your dog. They claim to deliver up to the minute information quickly and simply.

An app called Clickety Dog combines fun with learning about clicker training and offers hours of fun for the owner learning to train a virtual dog with the clicker. Providing the owner transfers this knowledge into actively training their own dog, this is a useful app that de-mystifies clicker training. It combines the world of computer games, peoples’ competitive streaks with clicker training, definitely more fun than playing a round of solitaire. Molly, our miniature bull terrier was clicker trained, leaving us wishing Matilda the bulldog had followed suit!

Doggity is an app that claims to be a touch point for dog-friendly dining venues throughout the UK and aims to ensure you and your dog stay together at all times. It’s interactive features mean you can add a venue, give it a review and share your experience with other mutts and their owners. Doggity’s mission is to promote responsible ownership. In principle we hail such a concept.

Another app called MyDogUK offers all this and more with a very clever feature called Lost Pet Alert that uses microchipping, GPS and database technology to help you find your lost dog. This really is quite impressive – any tool to help a distraught owner that’s lost their dog is worth its weight in gold. There’s other useful features like ‘petworking’ with like-minded dog owners. And planning a dog-friendly trip in advance, mapping your route around choice walks, attractions, hotels and pubs.

The Kennel Club’s Puppy Buying Guide app takes you on a journey from the thought of a puppy to bringing home the breed of dog best suited to your lifestyle. It’s an educational tool that’s really easy to use, bright picture led storyboards that are useful for first time dog owners.

With all these new apps on the market we have to ask how we managed before such choice and technological innovation? In the days of Barbara Woodhouse how did we learn responsible dog ownership? From books? Puppy classes? Is the typical dog owner so embracing of all this technology? For the two of us, there is nothing more exciting than discovering a jewel of a pub or tea room that will welcome the occasional,well behaved dog. Do we want hoards of “city types” with their dogs and offspring descending on the place because its been ‘discovered’?

Could apps be taking the adventure out of life, or our ability to research and source information for ourselves? No doubt the concept of offering information on dogs and living with dogs is a good thing, but the basic principles of owning and living with a dog is so far removed from interacting with an app that we hope dogs provide a needed anti-dote from our technology addiction.

We know information is power but can we have an overload? After all the relationship and living with dogs is basically the same as it’s ever been for over 10,000 years. Molly is 11 and has spent most of her life without the need for an app. It’s arguable that time spent interacting with technology is time that could be spent out walking the dog.

The Barking Hour’ is on Thursdays on BBC London 94.9fm from 3-4pm

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  • Heathbar

    Is there an app for training your bulldog not to eat duck muck?

  • MrReasons2BCheerful

    I don’t know – all this technology taking over – it just annoys me.

    Why can’t we communicate with our animals as we would normally and before the advent of an Ipad, or an Ipaw, or whatever you wish to call it.
    We don’t need an app to tell us what to say or do to train our dogs. We would be better off seeking the advice of breeders and the like on a face to face basis, and not relying on an app to do the work for us. If we’re going to start out lazy, then we’ll pick up bad habits on the way.
    Not for me, and cerainly not for my dog. Bruno, get off the Ipad now.

  • madgooner1

    Is there an app to tell you which dogs will attack you?

  • Ziggydog

    I too feel annoyed about all this gadgetry … dogs have simple but not simplistic needs. And quality time spent with their owner is definitely high up on the list. I question whether apps are necessary at all and as for Twitter don’t even get me started – the world was perfectly fine without either!

  • marcbletchley

    good evening jo and anna
    not sure about too much technology for dogs all seems a bit way out for me i’ll settle for the chip!
    interesting reading as normal
    woof woof from bletchley towers

  • MrReasons2BCheerful

    Oh, and sometimes, my dog might like a little break from me…!

  • Charles

    I think the main point about these apps is they help you manage you relationship with
    your dog. Never meant to replace one on one but great to know where the nearest pub or hotel is where I can take my dog. Also good to be able to report, at the touch of a button, if he has run away. Last thing I need is to be standing in the middle of a field trying to remember the Petlog phone number and his micro chip number let alone the post code of the spot he has gone missing! With the app it’s all there in case I need it

  • 5brian5

    Hi Jo, Anna, Molly, & Matilda; Our society has become so disconnected, disoriented, and just plain disgusting with people walking into walls with their shopping trolly at the supermarket face-booking, and running people over whilst texting and driving, its time to bring back valve-type radios and get real! I love and value my time with my cat, and the time I spend with my sons pit bull. Why don’t they come out with an app, that will send a virus to all apps, thus disabling them, so humans can see if their brains still function well enough to open up a map and find a nice place to enjoy and value pet ownership. We’ve all turned into a society of robot zombies dancing to the beat of someone else’s ideas. I may not be the best at everything,(or maybe anything), but some way , some how, I managed to bring my son up right, have had many cats and dogs whom were perfectly happy and healthy, and mysteriously, I did it without the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, or even a Dr. Spock app. Good God, am I technologically impaired or what? Great blog, and well worth my rant! Take Care! Brian (Detroit)

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