About the author:
Fanna Easter CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, ABCDT-L2 is a professional dog trainer and lead writer for Dog Training Nation. She owns Positive Pooch Dog Training, which specializes in dog reactivity. Also, Fanna teaches reactive dog group classes in Dallas, TX, with a veterinary behaviorist.
As a professional dog trainer, I look at dog products a bit differently than pet owners. Dog devices shouldn’t frighten dogs. They should be easy to set up and able to positively change a dog’s behavior.
One such product that meets these criteria is the Furbo dog camera. When opening and operating a Furbo dog camera, I was pleasantly surprised by its featured options. Check out my review on the Furbo treat dispensing dog camera.
Setting up the Furbo dog camera is easy. Seriously, it took seconds to open and plug in the Furbo device. The instruction booklet provides super simple instructions with clear pictures. Once I opened the box, I plugged in the dog treat dispenser and found my Wi-Fi signal within a few seconds. Immediately, the light turned green, indicating it was ready to connect to my phone. The next step was to download the Furbo app.
Downloading the App
Here’s where I ran into a snag. Finding the Furbo app on my iPhone took a couple of seconds, but downloading it was super simple. Once downloaded, the app finds the Furbo using Bluetooth and then begins setup.
Several times, setup was unsuccessful, so I had to retry. After the third attempt, setup finally completed and the app opened. During setup, the Furbo device chirped, clicked and changed indicator colors, which attracted my dogs into the living room. Every time the device made a sound, I gave my dogs a tiny treat. Within seconds, my dogs were glued to the device because treats appeared when Furbo made noise.
Pro tip: Treat your dog every time Furbo makes a sound, so he gets accustomed to the treat dispenser and associates it with a treat.
From opening the box to downloading the app to connecting my phone, it took a total of 23 minutes to completely set up
Setting Up the Treat Dispenser
Once it was all set up, I filled the Furbo canister with hard dog training treats, which I broke into quarters. Before test launching the treats, I placed both of my dogs in their crates with food stuffed toys.
Dispensing a treat is super easy. The treat launched at least 5 feet away from the device, which is fantastic! As the device is dispensing a treat, it makes a binging sound, which is another great feature. Once I finessed my treat launching skills, it was time to introduce my dogs.
Setting Up the Camera & Microphone
For the most part, the camera feedback is clear, but it does have a 2- to 3-second delay. Timing is everything in dog training, so dispensing a treat for a “sit,” “down” or no barking may cause issues due to the delay.
The microphone feature was a bit tiny sounding, but worked quickly. It does have a slight delay as well though. Once the camera and microphone were set up, it only took 1-2 seconds to open the Furbo app and see a clear view of the room.
Tips for Using Furbo
From a dog trainer’s perspective, the Furbo dog camera offers useful options to check in and reward your dog for good behavior throughout the day or evening. Below are a few tips on getting the most out of your new device.
Place It on a High Surface
To keep your Furbo safe from dog teeth, place the device on a counter top, table or shelf with the popper facing toward a large open area. It’s best to place the device on a high surface 2 inches from the edge because the popper is where treats are dispensed. You also want to make sure the popper faces toward an open area to prevent treats from getting lost behind furniture or appliances.
Positively Introduce Furbo
Before leaving the Furbo with your dogs, take a day or two to positively introduce Furbo’s sounds. Grab a handful of yummy treats, and sit next to the Furbo device. Open the app, turn down the microphone sound and play with all the features except the treat dispensing option for now.
Reward your dog every time the device chirps, bings and your voice is heard through the microphone. Pairing good things with strange sounds lets your dog know these sounds are a good thing and make treats appear.
Use Hard Treats
Now, it’s time to play with the treat dispensing option! Fill the treat canister with hard treats. I used Fruitable treats. While it’s tempting to use soft treats, such as string cheese or hot dogs, these dog training treats will probably cause the dispenser to jam.
Bring one dog into the living room with the Furbo and slide the treat dispensing icon on the app screen. Your dog will hear a binging sound and a treat will shoot out. Soon, your dog will learn that the Furbo binging sound means treats are coming, and he’ll run toward the device. After 5-6 dispensed treats, it’s time to practice with your other dog.
If your dogs argue over treats, it’s best not to use the treat dispensing option when they’re together.
Lower the Volume
Dogs have incredible hearing abilities, so loud screeching noises can be painful. Turn down the microphone volume or, better yet, skip this option altogether. This feature was likely added because people enjoy talking to their darling dogs. While chatting is normal human behavior, it can be distracting and scary to dogs over a microphone.
Instead of calling your dog over to the camera using the microphone, dispense a treat instead. When treats are dispensed, the Furbo device makes a binging sound that will alert your dog that treats are coming. When your dog arrives to gobble up his treat, you can see that all is well.
Treat for Good Behavior
Having an HD camera with night vision to check in on your dog is comforting. Place the Furbo camera up high, so you’re able to view the entire room. When you spot a happily sleeping dog, it’s best to let him rest peacefully. If your dog is sleeping somewhere else, dispense a treat to check in on him. Same goes for barking: When your dog is quiet, dispense a treat.
Treat dispensing tip:
Due to the camera’s slight delay, treats may not launch properly. After playing around a bit, there was a message that read: "The connection is unstable" at the top of the screen. If this happens to you, give the camera a moment to catch up before dispensing a treat. If you don't, the device will ding, but won’t launch a treat.
Does Your Dog Need a Furbo?
Most pet parents purchase monitor camera systems to check in on their dogs. Furbo not only provides you the comfort of being able to see your dog when you’re not at home, but it also dispenses hard treats. While I reviewed this dog camera from a dog trainer’s perspective, I find it’s a great device for pet parents as well.