From smart collars to “Fitbit for dogs,” man’s best friend is so not being left out of the explosion occurring in the wearable-technology sector. And now there is a company that claims it can measure your pooch’s emotions.
DogStar Life believes its TailTalk, a smartband-like device that fits around your pup’s tail, can help owners understand their dog’s emotions. “DogStar Life’s tracker reveals the subtle cues in every tail wag, giving you a direct window into the emotional life of your pet,” co-founder Yannis Tsampalis said in a press release.
The company launched the product on crowdfunding site Indiegogo and has received a positive response, with everyone from TechCrunch to Yahoo covering it. Currently, dog owners can only pre-order the item, with it expected to ship in spring of 2016. The device is available in three colors – orange, green and black – and is said to be water- and chew-resistant. The band syncs to the DogStar app, which tracks a dog’s emotional level throughout the day. Worried about the whole poop situation? Well, it could be a problem. The company states, “TailTalk is placed below the danger zone, but it still does carry that risk. Luckily, TailTalk is water-resistent and is made from materials that can be wiped off easily, without losing a beat.”
While this sounds exciting, some people aren’t as confident about the product. The science behind TailTalk’s claims come from various research pertaining to tail wagging, with some scientists believing a dog is happy if his tail wags to the right and sad or anxious if it wags to the left.
“It’s true that dogs wagged more to their right side when they saw owners, and wagged more to their left at the sight of an unknown dog,” animal-cognition expert Alexandra Horowitz told Slate. “But does that mean that wagging more to their right means ‘happiness’ and wagging more to their left means ‘anxiety’? Not quite. If the wag is forceful enough—loose and broad—I’d say that both are indications of excitement, either tinged with delight (owner) or with apprehension (unknown dog).” She adds: “There are so many other kinds of tail wags than the happy one.”
This skepticism has done little to curb dog owners’ enthusiasm. TailTalk has only been live for nine days and has already received more than 260 backers and raised more than $40,000. The company has 21 more days to reach its goal of $100,000.