Seattle inventors hope toy can keep dogs out of trouble

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Igloo didn't seem to care about our cameras. All he wanted to do was play with his toy, a PupPod, designed by a former Seattle software programmer Erick Eidus.

Igloo is a border collie who's the first "beta tester" for the invention that Eidus hopes will help dogs stay out of trouble and get smarter when left alone.

"It's like a computer for dogs," said Eidus, who dreamed up the product after playing Xbox games and wishing there was a similar experience for his dog.

The product is like a multi-level video game for dogs: when they play with a wobbly toy, it triggers a separate dispenser to release a treat.

Eventually, the product requires more sophisticated behaviors to keep releasing treats.

At first, all Igloo needs to do is walk near the toy and motion detectors release a treat.

As he keeps interacting, the product requires him to touch the toy, then touch it after he hears a sound, and so on.

"The PupPod can help a dog exercise his brain," claims Eidus, who hopes to sell them for around $500 in the fall.

KING 5 did not test the device.

However, we showed the website, along with product videos produced by the company, to a Seattle pet veterinarian, Dr. Cary Waterhouse.

"Overall, a good idea," wrote Waterhouse in an email. "A lack of stimulation leads to destructive behavior and overall behavior / anxiety issues in a lot of dogs I see, so no harm trying to integrate some activity into the day if a trip to the park is out of the question."


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