New Phone Ball Dog Toy Allows Your Pup to Call You Anytime, Where the Hell Did You Hide the Treats, Ted?!

If you have a dog, chances are you miss it when you have to leave the house. You wonder what your four-legged friend is doing while you’re gone. Is Fido peeing on the carpet? Snacking out of the garbage? Chewing your slippers? What if your pooch needs something from you? Well, now there’s a way for your pup to be in near-constant contact with you even while you’re on the go, thanks to a new invention called DogPhone.

The device was invented by Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, a lecturer and assistant professor in Animal-Computer Interaction at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. She created a high-tech ball that houses a sensor that, when picked up by the dog, triggers a video call to the owner from a computer. Owners can also call their dogs, but the pooch has to move the ball to “answer.”

Hirskyj-Douglas devised the clever contraption to help animals that are experiencing higher levels of separation anxiety as pet owners head back to work outside of the home.

“No one’s really done this sort of stuff before,” Hirskyj-Douglas told CNN. “The way that we make devices for dogs currently is not really the same standard as we make for humans — we’re treating them a bit like they don’t really have any agency.”

Hirskyj-Douglas was inspired to concoct this unprecedented communication system by her own 10-year-old black Labrador retriever, Zach. She teamed up with researchers from her former workplace, Aalto University in Finland, to make the idea a reality, then tested the concept with Zach. Whether or not the canine understood how to use the device is unclear, but Hirskyj-Douglas remains optimistic about DogPhone’s potential.

“The animals that we keep in our lives are a lot smarter and deserve a lot better technology than what we have for them,” said Hirskyj-Douglas.

Thanks to her, dog-owner relations are about to get a lot better…unless your best friend is super needy, in which case, you’re going to be using the “ignore” function on your phone a lot more often.

Cover Photo: University of Glasgow