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Karen B. London
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Robot Dog Expands on Virtual Pets
Wappy Dog is here

Having a dog is so enjoyable that gamers are seeking out the experience in the virtual world. Wappy Dog is a robot dog that interacts with a person by way of a Nintendo game.

Virtual pets are not new, but this system expands on virtual pets by including an actual toy. The toy robot dog develops—changing its behavior, skills, mood, personality and responsiveness based on the virtual interactions the person has while gaming with this system. The addition of a physical toy is supposed to lead to a stronger bond than a game alone can create.

A toy dog is no substitute for a real dog, but I think the educational opportunities are intriguing. Just as people can learn about parenting through virtual experiences, there is the potential for people to learn skills from Wappy Dog that could enhance their ability to raise, care for and train a real dog.

Has anyone tried out Wappy Dog?

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Frances | June 15 2011 |

Ummmm - not sure how realistic an education it is, with no puddles, no poops, no needle sharp puppy teeth and no regular walks regardless of the weather!

Submitted by Karen London | June 15 2011 |

True! You are so right that some aspects of the reality of having a dog cannot be replicated. The parts related to consistency in training, learning theory, the dog developing in response to your behavior etc. are more promising in regards to education.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 4 2012 |

cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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