We've all seen the videos of dogs caught on camera when their owners aren't home. From stealing cupcakes, to tearing up the couch, and crying all day long. People have been doing their best to use technology to see and hear their pets. But now, for the first time, there's a way to interact with them from afar.
PetChatz Co-Founder Braden Kroll told Action News, "My dad was Skyping with my sister and the family dog came running into the room because she recognized Molly's voice."
Braden Kroll's father, Dr. Mark Kroll - who is a medical device inventor, got the idea for a way to alleviate that "doggy guilt" a few years ago.
"He thought, what can I do about this? There's got to be something I can do about this experience," said Braden.
So, this is what he and his business partner came up with. The Minneapolis based company named it PetChatz. The device allows you to call your pet from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a phone, tablet or computer.
PetChatz Co-founder Lisa Lavin added, "I love the ability to be able to call her in the middle of the day, check in, give her a little bit of stimulation, maybe make her sit or do a few tricks and give her a couple of treats and, oh, by the way, I can also record it, because she did this really cute thing, and I can share it with my friends on YouTube or Facebook."
Think of it as a Skyping with your dog. You connect with the device, mounted at your pet's eye level at home.
A ringtone alerts them, and then you can interact with each other on screen. And to reward your four-legged family member, you can push a button to dispense a treat.
Braden said, "It is just a missing link and missing peace of mind between pet parents and their pets when they're gone all day."
It's not just about allowing your dog to see you and hear you, or get to dispense treats -- the device also dispenses smells, from aromatherapies, to your own scent.
Lisa explained, "The fan blows the scent out, and it's an associative response, so that your pet learns when they smell that scent, they know that this is the fun experience."
Dog Behavior Consultant Jody Karow said, "Dogs are the most social being out there, besides humans, so they love connecting."
Jody says it's possible to a device like PetChatz to train your dog throughout the day.
Braden's Burmese Mountain Dog, Lancer, also now knows a familiar voice, face and treat are coming when he hears that ring.
Beyond animals, the company hopes to adapt the treat dispenser into a medication dispenser for elderly people or the developmentally disabled.
PetChatz will be available for about 350 dollars in select pet stores and online by early summer.