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Keeping an Eye on Your Pets
Surveillance isn’t just for the government anymore.
Discover the origins of bad behavior via hidden cameras?

If you want to keep track of your pets via a live online video feed, you can now do that. The Vue personal video network lets guardians watch their animals at home while they’re at work, or anywhere else with Internet access. If you worry about your pets when you’re away from them, this system will allow you to see with your own eyes that they’re okay.

The system uses small wireless cameras that can be put anywhere in your home, and the batteries last up to a year. By logging onto a secure website, guardians can ease their minds by seeing how their pets are doing. You can even set it to record for short times, so that you can watch past events, too.

Of course, cameras with a live feed can be used for a variety of purposes, and the company is not just marketing this product for pet watching. A traveler can watch a family member blow out the candles on a birthday cake, employers can check up on their telecommuting employees, parents can track their kids---the possibilities for suspicious spouses are endless. The company considers these options among the many features and benefits of their system, which costs just under $300.

As a behaviorist, I’m intrigued that this system could reveal more about what is going on when there are behavior problems. For example, if I wanted to know which dog in a multi-dog household is soiling the carpet or chewing the couch, The Vue could help. In cases of possible separation anxiety, it’s useful to know when the associated problem behavior starts. When the barking, destructive chewing or eliminating happens immediately after the guardian leaves, that’s consistent with separation anxiety. If the problem behavior starts hours later, a more likely reason for the trouble may be boredom, inadequate house training, or a reaction to some other stimulus.

I will be curious to hear about anyone’s experience with this system. Would you consider buying it, and if so, what is it you hope to see?

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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 Dani | May 20 2009 |

I don't have any experience with this specific system but I do have experience with the live feed aspect. Last year I watched my mom's dog for a week while she was on vacation. My boyfriend and I decided to set up our video camera to watch the dogs (my mom's and our own) and to make sure nothing happened while we were away at work. We connected to JustIn.tv, a free video hosting site (FYI: the feeds can be password protected too).

While at work we saw what we expected to see, a couple of sleeping dogs. Occasionally they would both run to the window or play around. But the best (actually worst) part was finding out that my mom's dog was peeing on our couch!! Not once but several times through out the day! It was a very useful tool for my mom. Plus, it is nice to have a laugh during the work day watching my dog running in her sleep.

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