I saw an article recently on a collar that lights up in different colors to reflect the emotion the dog is showing — a mood ring, or mood collar, for dogs.
The collar, called Inupathy, was developed by a Japanese biologist. The collar monitors the dog’s heartbeat and shows whether the dog is calm, excited, anxious, or angry. Co-creator Joji Yamaguchi told the BBC that he wanted to better understand his dog’s emotions. Fair enough.
But couldn’t he just pay closer attention to his dog?
It’s not always easy to tell distinguish an anxious or scared dog from an aggressive one, unless you get really good at reading the early signals of stress. By the time the dog is barking, the frightened, overwhelmed dog looks a lot like an aggressive terror.
If this collar had a sensor that was sensitive enough to pick up on early signs of anxiety, it could be a great training aid. I could see using it to figure out what the stress triggers were, then teaching the dog’s human to recognize and avoid or manage those situations. It would also make it easier for trainers to teach the dogs’ humans to recognize the early signs of stress — calming signals for example. If they saw the dog yawning or licking his lips a lot and the collar started showing anxiety, well, the owner could be trained to notice and respond to those signals.
I read somewhere else, a while ago, that someone was working on a collar that would translate barks into the language of the owner’s choice. That seems less useful (and less possible) to me. The mood collar, though, sounds groovy. And useful. I think it would be a great training aid!