Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Does Your Dog Video Chat?

By Tamara McRill

Video chatting isn't just a great way for us humans to stay in contact—it can also keep our dogs in touch with those they love. I have one dog, Cody, who always gets face time with the camera when someone he knows comes up on chat. Okay, to be honest, sometimes people come up on chat just to say hi to him. (Like a lot of animal lovers, I've made peace with the fact that my pets are more popular than I am.)

Cody doesn't make much noise when his friends (mostly my nephews) video chat with him, but his crazy-happy tail thumping shows how excited he is.

Checking in on Vacation

Like a lot of responsible pet owners, we always have a pet sitter stay at our house when we go on vacation. Given how stressful not seeing us for a week is on our three dogs, I wish I would have thought of checking in via video a long time ago. Video chatting can work both ways when it comes to separation anxiety during vacations. Not only does your pet get visual affirmation that they will see you again, but you also get to actually see how well they are being taken care of.

Keeping Tabs on Loved Ones

From going to college to divorce to moving and more, there are many reasons dogs get separated from people they are used to interacting with daily. With video chatting, dogs don’t have to wait months or even years to see them again. Don’t forget closely bonded animals that get torn apart for some reason or another – say your roommate and her cat move across country. They may appreciate seeing each other on the computer, as opposed to never having any type of contact with each other ever again.

Teaching Your Dog to Video Chat

Your dog may be a natural at video chatting, like Cody was, or you may have to help them keep their focus on the screen. If you want to reward them with CANIDAE dog treats, try to do so before and after the chat. Keeping the treats out during the chat will just distract them.

You’ll also want to make sure your dog is safe to have around your computer or laptop. Teach them not to get right up on the screen and that the keyboard is off limits. My number five key never snapped back in right after Wuppy plucked it out with his claw when he was a pup.

Words of Caution

It’s smart to keep drinks away and have your monitor stabilized while letting your pet video chat with his pals, but there are also some tips you can give the humans they are talking to. As cute as it may be, encourage people not to try to get your dog too excited while online. This can be hazardous to your computer and your dog’s emotional state.

Along with that, I also try to remember to tell people not to promise my dogs anything they can’t immediately deliver. So no asking if they want to go on a walk, get a doggy num num or play fetch. That is, unless it is something we normally do while chatting and it’s pre-arranged that I will deliver the goods. That can be fun for everyone.

Do you think your pet would enjoy video chatting? If they already do, who is their favorite chat buddy?

Photos by Tamara McRill

Read more articles by Tamara McRill


  1. Finn is afraid of the phone but loves the tv, so I wonder what her reaction would be to images and talking from the computer like this. I am thinking she would love it. Such an interesting idea!

  2. I have never thought of that. Hmmmm sounds neat!

  3. I never thought of that either but it sounds like a fun thing to do. I don't know whether my two would catch on to it. I guess if I was at the other end saying their names, they might figure it out. Neat idea.

  4. That sounds great! We talk with our cats when we are away. Moosey especially gets excited at the sound of my voice, and will start purring and headbutting the phone receiver. :)

  5. Brilliant idea!!! Thanks for sharing this. Wish I thought of it when I had my parrot. She could actually talk back : )

  6. Really Funny. Dog will do video Chat. Hah ha hah


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