When will PupPod be available?
Is a Bluetooth feeder required?
No, but a feeder is really awesome, especially for using PupPod as a game for earning meals. You can purchase a PupPod & Pet Tutor bundle here to automate the reward delivery. If you don’t have a dispenser, the PupPod mobile app will play a “marker” sound on your smartphone and prompt the human to provide rewards at the correct time.
How do the different levels work?
- Level 1 is all about learning the connection between the toy and treat source. This isn’t obvious, but dogs make the connection quickly with the right set up and environment. The PupPod Wobbler includes two motion sensors, so just getting close to the toy (e.g. coming over for a sniff) or touching the toy earn a reward.
- Level 2 only provides rewards for touching as the motion sensors are turned off. Some dogs are very touchy and get this level quickly. Others are more gentle and need encouragement to touch.
- Level 3 is where the game starts to get interesting. There’s a 2-second window after the “treat” sound plays where touching the toy earns a reward. Outside of that window, no reward is provided. The PupPod mobile app allows a pet parent to decide how frequently the treat sound should play. We recommend starting with a 10-second time interval between sounds, but as a dog starts to figure out that treats are only earned just after the sound play, start bumping up the time interval setting in 5-second increments to add difficulty.
- Level 4 takes things up a notch by introducing a second sound that does NOT pay a reward. Dog trainers call this a discrimination task. At level 4, the “treat” sound and the second sound alternate and over time, a dog will focus on the “treat” sound that pays a reward and ignore the second sound. Dog trainers call this “shaping” and the PupPod software can measure the shaping progress.
- Level 5 is for PupPod ninjas. This level builds off the same two sounds used at Level 4, but if a dog touches the PupPod Wobbler when the second sound play, the next time a sound play, they’ll hear the second sound again. In order for the sound to cycle back to the “treat” sound, your pup will learn self control…to only touch the toy on the “treat” sound and to ignore the toy when the second sound plays.
- The description above refers to sounds, but the entire game can be played using lights too. This is great for deaf dogs and also provides a new set of challenges for dogs who have mastered the game with sounds. Letting your dog play using the lights is also great when you are working from home on a conference call and don’t want the toy to make noises. 🙂
- In addition to the goals at each level mentioned above, there is also a feature to set the Time Interval for the cue (whether sounds or lights). At levels 3 -5, this feature plays a big role to slowly increase the challenge since the dog has to increase their attention span and concentrate for longer as the time interval increases. This feature also slows a dog down so they have to work longer and eat slower.
Can I control the difficulty level manually?
Yes you can! Use the plus and minus buttons to manually increase or decrease game difficulty. Level changes define a new success criteria, but increasing the time interval just makes the dog focus longer and slows down reward opportunities. Descriptions of each level are in the mobile app.
What’s the typical battery life?
If the PupPod toy is turned off when not in use, 4-AA batteries should last a few months.
Is the PupPod Wobbler rechargeable?
The PupPod Wobbler toy takes 4-AA batteries and rechargeable batteries may be used.
Does the game remember the last play session?
Yes it does. The game currently remembers the last play session. If you only have one dog, the game will always pick up where your dog left off. If you have more than one dog, the game will start where the last session ended. You will have to adjust the level and time interval if your dogs are at different degrees of difficulty.
Can I create multiple dog profiles?
Yes you can. It’s easy to add multiple dogs to the PupPod app. Then just tap the dog that playing and start the game. The stats for each dog are stored with each dog’s profile.
Can multiple dogs play at the same time?
PupPod was designed for dogs to play one at a time, but as long as there is no food aggression between dogs, there is no reason dogs can’t play together.
When letting multiple dogs play together, we recommend tossing several rewards on the floor or position the dispensers to drop rewards on the floor. In our observations, letting food rewards scatter on the floor reduced the likelihood of food aggression.
We recommend letting dogs play PupPod on their own if they are food aggressive or show signs of resource guarding.
How difficult is it to train a dog to play PupPod?
We’ve designed PupPod to be intuitive for dogs so no human training is required. The principles of the game are based on the well-established concept of operant conditioning, which is the foundation of clicker training. You can definitely encourage your dog to explore the toy, but as soon as they figure out that interacting with the toy earns treats from you or the Bluetooth dispenser, they start experimenting and working through the various levels.
Can PupPod make my dog smarter?
Playing PupPod requires dogs to use their frontal cortex to process information in the game. The more frequently they use this part of their brain, the stronger it gets. This can help dogs increase their attention span for in-person training and reduce senility in older dogs.
How difficult is it to chew through the toy?
We intentionally selected the KONG Wobbler for the toy housing because they are incredibly tough and have been around for many years. The Kong Wobbler is made of ABS plastic that is 3/8″ thick. It is very difficult (but not impossible) to chew through.
We have noticed that because there is no food in the PupPod Wobbler toy, dogs are not typically motivated to destroy the toy. In addition, their attention is constantly being directed away from the toy when they earn treats from either you or a Bluetooth dispenser. We recommend that pet parents supervise their dog until they feel comfortable with their dog’s style of play. If PupPod isn’t the right fit for your dog, return it within 30-days for a full refund.
What is the return policy?
If PupPod isn’t right for your dog, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a full refund up to 30-days after shipping. Customer is responsible for return shipping.
What is your warranty policy?
We guarantee the PupPod Wobbler toy to be free of manufacturing defects for 1-year from purchase. Email email@example.com if you encounter a manufacturing defect. Customer is responsible for return shipping.