Remember the “Simon Says” gem that kept you entertained for about twenty minutes before you threw it against the wall in frustration?
Thankfully, your dog probably has a little more patience (especially when treats are involved, duh) and two fewer opposable thumbs to hurl things across the room.
Meet CleverPet, the gaming console that can replace your dog’s food bowl and keep his brain occupied even when you’re away.
Designed by a team of PhDs and all-around dog-savvy and intelligent people, the device began as a prototype with two plush toy “buttons,” a little dog dish, and a paper towel roll. Today, the CleverPet console has received a sleek, modern makeover.
It has varying levels of difficulty, but no setting is too easy or too difficult to lose your dog’s interest. The device’s Kickstarter page reads:
Many dogs left alone at home are bored and unengaged, which can lead to separation anxiety and costly destructive behavior. With CleverPet, your dog is busy, engaged, and challenged at her learning level—automatically. A busy dog is a happy dog, and a busy, happy dog has no time for negative behavior.
The console starts out by dispensing treats or small amounts of dog food just for being awesome, then gives a reward each time your pup hits any of the touch pads.
Soon, your dog has to press the correct pad—assisted by colored lights and a sound of your choice, including a tone, squeak, or click (or a noise only your pup can hear)—to earn a treat.
The puzzles get more challenging as they learn. One version of the game asks your dog to only press the pads when they’re blue, other times they have to choose the color that is different from the others, and other times still they’re encouraged to press the pads as they light up. Cool, huh?
You can even record your own voice! “Touch Blue,” “Touch Right,” or “Good Boy/Girl” are a few options.
When CleverPet debuted on Kickstarter in April 2014, it took just two weeks to surge past the $100,000 goal and reach nearly $123,000. Early backers of the project received the device for as low as $199, but you can preorder now for $269.
It even took first prize at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. CleverPet’s CEO Leo Trottier said in his pitch to the judges:
A dog with a job is a happy dog. Our user base literally has nothing better to do with their time.
Of course, there’s always something in it for the humans too. You can use your smartphone while you’re at work or away to monitor your pup’s interactions and check their high scores. We totally bet they’re better at it than we were at Simon Says.
To snag a CleverPet device and save yourself some worry during the day, preorder at GetCleverPet.com.