The Best Dog Game to Stimulate Your Pooches | PupPod

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Animal Innovations Show - Episode 79 - PupPod

The Best Dog Game to Stimulate Your Pooches | PupPod

The best dog games might seem simple, but a lot of thought process actually goes into developing them.

Just ask Erick Eidus, who serves as the CEO and founder of PupPod.

The world’s first multispecies gaming platform, PupPod provides dogs with software-driven, positive reinforcement games, while simultaneously providing humans with a powerful tool to be great pet parents when life gets in the way.

As per Erick,

“I had this idea to make better products for our dogs. Like, the idea of giving my pet, Ollie, and everyone else’s dogs just pieces of plastic or plush toys—it just didn’t seem like that was the best we could do for the animals in our life.”

So, with his career and history in building early smartphone devices, it became obvious to Erick that there was going to be a disruption of software in the pet product category.

This eventually led him to the idea of using software to make better items for animals’ health, and eventually, to developing PupPod.

PupPod as the Most Advanced Dog Game of the Future

PupPod website

One of the most interactive dog game platforms ever created, PupPod is a smart tech toy that is not just for pets but also for people. In addition to letting you play with your furry kids anywhere you may be, it also gives your dog the physical activity and mental stimulation they need.

Erick explained,

“The software in the toy…becomes a puzzle where the dog has to figure out when to interact with the toy at the right time. And then the reward for the dog is the treats coming out of the feeder. That’s really just to make the connection between the toy and the feeder.”

Although dogs may consider PupPod a toy from their perspective, Erick and his team really see it as a sophisticated piece of hardware.

It uses operant conditioning to make the animal realize that there is a connection between the toy and the rewards they can get. Once they make that connection, the game can then start getting more interesting for the pet.

Playing With PupPod

puppod rocker feeder and mobile app

To use PupPod, the dog has to interact with the toy within a few seconds of sound play. The time it takes initially starts with two seconds. But, you can, later on, choose to increase the time between the sounds.

Once they get used to the duration and the activity, your pups will eventually learn to build concentration, discriminate between tasks, and control their impulses.

“The best scenario that we recommend is to just let your dog get their meals this way. That way, they’re still getting the same calories that they’re getting when they just scarf their food down out of a bowl. But, at the same time, with PupPod, they’re also getting mental stimulation and physical activity.”

dog playing with puppod rocker and feeder

With PupPod aiming to become a platform for cognition research for all kinds of animals, intellectuals and researchers can more easily learn more about the relationship between humans and animals.

“With our platform, we can take all the unnecessary stuff out of the middle. For example, you come up with a hypothesis. If we can code that hypothesis into our system and into our game, then all of our customers can just play a new level. And all of that play is all cognition research. We can give the [anonymized] data back to the research groups to write their papers, their hypothesis, their conclusions. And hopefully, we’ll be able to help research go from, like, two years for research project down to months.”

 

 

Learn more about PupPod!

Visit their website at https://puppod.com/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Erick: Hi, I’m Erick Eidus, CEO of PupPod, and this is Ollie and welcome to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: So, Erick tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals. 

Erick: Ok. So, as CEO of PupPod, I had this idea to make better products for our dogs, like the idea of giving Ollie and everyone else’s dogs just pieces of plastic or plush toys.

It just didn’t seem like, we were— that was the best we could do. So, it was obvious to me after building that product category that there was going to be disruption of software in the pet products category and that we could use software to make better products for the animals in our lives.

Chris: Yeah. I love that.

It seems like something so simple, but— I think it’s really amazing. Why don’t you describe for people how PupPod works, right?

Because there’s a lot of thought process that went into this. This isn’t just a treat dispenser.

Erick: In fact, the treat dispenser— You can kind of think of the dispenser— the way you think of a TV with Netflix, like, you have to have a TV to watch Netflix, but nobody sits there just staring at a blank TV.

It’s the content that makes the TV interesting. And so the toy, and we call it— it’s really a pretty— tech sophisticated piece of hardware.

But from a dog’s perspective, it’s a toy. They interact with it. And the software in the toy—either plays different lights, different sounds. You can vary the timing of the lights and the sounds.

And it becomes a puzzle where the dog has to figure out when to interact with the toy at the right time. And then the reward for the dog is the treats coming out of the feeder.

And so part of our role, I think with our platform is to also provide a hardware reference design. So that, folks in the pet industry that are making nontechnical pet products things that don’t have a power switch, they don’t have any software in them.

They can more easily move from pieces of plastic to connected pet products that have a much more interesting user experience for the animal.

Chris: But I have to ask you, Erick, who designed the app?

Because when I was looking at the videos and things like that, the demos— the app is just so super intuitive and has all of the items that I want to know about the interaction between my phone and the modules.

Erick: A lot of that came from me.

After working on the smartphone platform at Microsoft, I then ran my own consulting firm where I designed and built mobile apps for about 12 years.

So, this wasn’t my first crack at designing a mobile app. And even the product that’s in the market right now, is our second version of the product.

So, in the first version, we learned a lot about how to design the user interface from the generation—the first generation product. This is really our second generation.

So, a lot of that learning is what shows up and you described it as being an intuitive user interface.

Chris: Yeah.

Well, kudos to you and your team, of course. And just going, wow, like that— totally makes sense. And the feedback is providing the data.

So, I’m curious because you’ve got things such as I can interact, right? Live videos, and things like that. So, is this designed to put down when I’m gone for my dog, or is it designed for me to interact while I’m here?

Erick: If you’re with your dog or not, you can use the product. Yes, you can start the game remotely and then with the video, watch your dog, you can see get that feedback and see that they’re actually playing. Or maybe they’re not playing.

You want to be able to have that visibility when you’re away from home. I think more challenging and probably less— less of something people are thinking about and aware of than making the user interface intuitive for the human, is making a software user interface that’s intuitive for animals.

Chris: Yeah. And I was going to say, I think you have had some experts and dog behaviorists and all these other people that have really worked with you to build this.

So, this isn’t just like Erick said: Hey, let’s make a cool thing on techie. There’s a lot of science that goes into this.

Erick: There is, we’ve worked with vets that are board-certified that then go on to have a— an additional degree in behavior.

But in addition to that—yeah, so it’s rare. But in addition to that, we work with a lot of dog trainers. We work with a lot of animal behaviorists, that aren’t necessarily vets, but they focus on all kinds of animal behavior problems.

Chris: Yeah. It sounds like there’s just so many ways that you’re taking this, right. Again—I’m back to it. It’s much more than just one thing.

You’ve got a real big plan for the future as to how this is going to grow and evolve, and the platform can actually power— support other devices.

Erick: The way we describe the platform is as the world’s first multi-species gaming platform. The product that you buy today does a lot of useful things.

Dogs love to play the game. And the best thing—scenario that we recommend is to just let your dog feed their meals this way. That way, they’re getting the same calories that they’d be getting if they just scarf their food down out of a bowl.

But they’re also getting mental stimulation and physical activity. And because with our mobile app, you can keep increasing the difficulty of the game. That it’s not like a piece of plastic that once the dog figures out how to get all the food out,  then they just beat the game.

They can’t beat the game because the game is in software, they only get the opportunities to earn a reward within the frequency that you set for the sounds to play.

Chris: That’s really super cool, Erick. And I’m excited to see where you guys are going to take this in the next few years.

Is there anything else you want to mention before wrap things up today?

Erick: Well, folks, to get the product on our website, that’s probably the best place to buy. Go to PUPPOD.COM

It’s a little bit of a tongue twister, but it’s P-U-P-P-O-D.com. Other than that, we’d also love to really have the plan to go deep with the dog training community.

Chris: Very cool, Erick. Well, thank you again for coming on.

And as we wrap up, I’ll just remind our viewers and listeners that if you got a big vision for the future like Erick does an amazing product, ideas, whatever, we’d love to talk about it.

So, go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW and come on the show and tell us about it.

So, thanks again to Erick for coming on. Really excited to see what you’re doing, and hopefully, we’ll see big things coming from you guys in the next few years.

Erick: That’s great. Thanks for having us on.

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