Fit Bit For Dogs?

We live in a world with so many gadgets to monitor our activity levels, but what about exercise monitoring for our beloved pets. Enter the Whistle Activity Monitor; $99.99 on Amazon.com . As a loving and active dog owner, I had to make sure my 6 month-old Cane Corso puppy, Dexter, has his activity levels monitored and documented.

The Good, The Bad and What’s The Point:
dexter1Whistle is a fun gadget. It is entertaining to see the levels of your puppy’s activity and helpful to know how active your dog is. For owners who are guilty of not giving their dog enough exercise, Whistle is a good reality check. Whistle is great for owners using pet walker/hotel services to ensure that their pup is getting the amount of exercise promised. I already have a very good idea of Dexter’s activity levels, so for Dexter and Me, the Whistle is definitely just for fun.

Design and Appearance:

  • The design of the Whistle is nice and slick. Shaped like a large coin, it looks neat and clean.
  • The design is solid, however the rubber cover for the function button did not hold up against Dexter and was lost within days of use. To be fair, few things can withstand the destructive power of a mastiff puppy and the device still works just fine.
  • The strap is sturdy and is conveniently designed to wrap around the dog’s collar.
  • The unit is about 1.5″ wide. It fits well on the neck of a large puppy or a medium dog, however, it might be a bit too big for your chihuahua.

Use and setup:

  • Whistle is designed to interface with your mobile device and apps are available for IOS and Android devices. To setup the device, download the app and create an account (Facebook account use is allowed).
  • The app allows you to create the owner and pet profile and connect the device to the Wi-Fi networks.
  • The synchronization of the data is done over a Bluetooth connection directly with your mobile device or over Wi-Fi. Dexter and I found that the Bluetooth connection is temperamental and it took several attempts to connect the device to my iPhone6.
  • The app also allows you to add basic info like photos, notes, food and medical information
  • The profile allows you to setup daily activity goals and provides comparison data with similar sized dogs in the Whistle network.

whistle-appFunctionality:

  • The device will track your dog’s activity levels and is somewhat accurate in differentiating between your dog’s play time, walks and high energy running and playing. The app provides a chart with an intensity scale with a detailed breakdown of activity. Whistle also tracks rest periods. You can scroll through the past days or view a “Trends Chart”, which will provide a Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Overall breakdown of your puppy’s activity and rest times.
  • The tracker doesn’t count steps, distance, elevation changes or provide location for your dog’s activities.
  • The app provides notifications of goal completion and achievements for consecutive goals reached.
  • The app appears to synchronize with the service every few hours and allows for you to view updated information throughout the day.
  • The device can be associated with multiple mobile devices with different owner profiles.
  • The app provides a battery life status. Battery life is great and lasts on average about 10 days. Charging is done using a special dongle and requires a USB charger or a computer USB port. It takes about 2 hours to charge using a 5 Watt USB charger.

Possible Deal Breaker:
A significant shortcoming with the service is that there is no web access to the account and profile; it’s only available through the app on your phone. So if a web interface for Whistle is a must have, you’re out of luck.

Dexter’s summary:
If having this device will get you to be more active with your dog, then it is well worth $99.99. Being more active will make you healthier and your puppy happier. Have fun and walk your dog.