Dogs are social animals. We call them our best friends. Although we’d like to spend all day with them, most of us can’t. While their owners are at work all day, pets are left alone at home with nothing to do. If it were up to Dan Knudsen, who graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in behavioral neuroscience; these dogs would be solving puzzles.
Dogs are very intelligent, and they need something to constantly stimulate their brains. It’s too bad these smart dogs are left alone for hours on end just sitting around. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work if you have a dog, instead, you could have your dogs play puzzle games. Knudsen co-founded “CleverPet”, a puzzle game for dogs and cats that aims to reduce loneliness caused by isolation while pushing the bounds of what pet owners think their furry friends can do.
“These are animals with rich inner lives that are just sitting around waiting for people to come home,” he said. CleverPet is an internet-connected food dispenser with three illuminated touchpads and a speaker on the outside. Once the pet successfully repeats the pattern that the device shows by touching the pads with their paw or nose, they get a treat. The sequence keeps getting longer with the level of difficulty.
The puzzles within CleverPet are rooted in behavioral neuroscience—Knudsen’s specialty. A device like this can be an effective solution to help pets fight issues that come with isolation and boredom such as depression, loneliness, emotional distress or anxiety. It could also lead to behavioral issues among other health issues. While we, humans have elaborate entertainment systems, pets have nothing – and this was a problem Knudsen said he had to fix.