Friday, December 18, 2015

Tracking the activity of your dog doing agility - FitBark dog activity monitor

I recently wrote about tracking my own activity when playing tennis using a Misfit Flash activity monitor.  But what precipitated it all was getting an activity monitor for our dog and that piquing my interest in tracking my own activity.

My wife and I have a very energetic Cocker Spaniel, and realized pretty early on that we needed to find something for him to do.  My wife ended up getting into agility with him, first for fun, but now competing in agility trials, and they are both doing great.

A natural question we had was how active our dog really was.  We came across an ad for pet activity monitors, and after doing some research purchased a FitBark Dog Activity Monitor.

The small bone shaped device attaches to your dog's collar and monitors his activity just like an activity monitor you would wear does.  What makes it really useful and interesting is the app you install on your smart phone that "fetches" the data from the device and displays it for you.

The data that is retrieved is turned into points, and a daily point goal is set based on the dog's breed, age, gender, weight, etc. (but it can be overridden).  In the image above, the details for the day are displayed and then a summary of the daily totals for the week.  The green line is the daily goal, which you can see the our dog is exceeding his daily goal on a regular basis and on this day was over 50% over it.

But it isn't just the total for the day, but the hourly view you get in the chart and the break-down of how much time was spent resting, active, and playing.  The hourly view is great as we can see exactly how much activity he gets when we go for a walk or go to the park to chase the ball, or in our case how many points he gets from a run through an agility course.

The app has other features to track a "pack" of dogs, compare your dog's activity with other dogs of the same or similar breeds/sizes, share the information with friends, family, or your vet, and even link it with your own activity monitor should you go running or biking with your dog.  The app has even been updated several times in the couple of months we've been using it so they continue to enhance and improve it.

And the FitBark even collects data when you aren't home, so you can see exactly how active your dog is when no one is home.  There is even a WiFi station you can get that fetches the data while you aren't there and uploads it to the cloud so you can run the app and see the up to the minute activity and points.

We have been very pleased with the FitBark and would highly recommend it to any agility dog owner, or any dog or pet owner, as it provides new insights into the activity and health of your pet.

Do you have a FitBark or other activity monitor for your dog?  I'd love to hear your comments.