Smartphone for Dogs

New collar lets you 'video chat' with your pup.
By JoAnna Lou, January 2015, Updated July 2016
These days it seems like everyone has a smartphone, even toddlers can be regularly seen playing with the expensive devices. So it was only a matter of time before the technology reached our pets too.

This week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Motorola unveiled the Scout 5000, a collar which is being billed as a smartphone for dogs. While there are other GPS-enabled collars, the Scout 5000 adds Wi-Fi connectivity, a wide-angle video camera, and a speaker/microphone. In addition to being able to track your pet with GPS and geofencing, you can watch a live video stream and talk to your pup remotely. So theoretically, while you're at work, you could see your dog jumping on the couch and have the ability to tell him to get off.

I think that the voice capability will end up being more novelty than practical. Dogs will quickly learn that you can't enforce anything when your voice is coming from the collar. And trying to calm an anxious pet through the device might confuse them even more.

Also, I've tried talking to my dogs over Skype and they don't seem to recognize my virtual voice. My theory is that they know who is in the room and will zone out other voices (perhaps learned from ignoring meaningless voices on television and radio). But maybe it's just my crew. It would be really interesting to see what they're up to all day (although as one guy who filmed his pup on a GoPro found, you may never want to leave your pets again!).

The Scout 5000 will be available in June and includes one year of 3G service. It's a bit bulky, so only larger dogs will be sporting this version.

Would you get a high tech collar for your pup?


JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.