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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there DogForum community! 馃惗馃
We're conducting a study on the use of robots to assist with the care of pet dogs and we need your help! If you currently have a dog or have had a dog in the past, we'd love for you to take 3 minutes to fill out our survey. 馃搳
And don't worry, we're not trying to replace your furry best friend with a robot - we just want to understand how these technologies can supplement and augment the care provided by humans.
So if you're a dog lover and want to contribute to our research, just click on the link below and take the anonymous survey: Survey: Robot walking your dog

Thanks for your help!
 

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This is possibly the worst idea I've ever heard of. If you can't walk your dog then why do you have a dog... and why does the dog have you? Both you and your dog need those moment for bonding. I actually answered the survey but it's not going to be the encouragement you hoped for. There is no technology currently that even comes close to being reliable enough that I would let my dog out of the house leashed to one. No way. No way!

If you want to develop a useful robot (dog or non dog related) then try focusing on one that can do light house keeping and/or surveillance tasks (possibly related to the dog) when you are not home. I could see a role for a robot in the house that kept an eye on the dog but beyond that my Roomba is more useful to my dog than a walking robot would be. Moreover, a dog will know it is not human and while I'm pretty sure you could train a dog to tolerate the presence of such a machine, they're not going to warm up to it.
 

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My job on a walk is more than simply choosing a direction and acting as a mobile anchor to prevent the dog from running away. I'd say I do about 1/2 to 2/3 of my obedience training on walks. I'm also constantly monitoring the dog for signs of nervousness, arousal, or interest so that I can intervene.
I'm also constantly monitoring our surroundings for danger or problems. Some examples-- My dogs occasionally step on something or get a leash tangled around a leg; I need to assess the situation to determine if an injury has occurred. They occasionally want to step off the sidewalk and walk in the street; I need to ensure they stay on the sidewalk. I once encountered a bear on one walk and needed to quickly remove my dog (and me) from the vicinity. I've encountered loose dogs several times. A few years ago near my office a deranged groundskeeper, annoyed by dog poop and urine spots on the lawn he maintained, left poisoned bait out to kill dogs that stepped off the sidewalk.
I don't trust most humans to walk my dogs; my guys are too sensitive and reactive. There's no way I trust a robot to have the emotional and situational awareness to safely walk my dogs.
 

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No matter how sophisticated, how advanced, how intelligent the robot was, it could never have the empathetic, emotional response to a dog and its needs that a human has, so it鈥檚 a Heck No from me, too.

There鈥檚 something extremely sad about the thought of a dog, excitedly wagging its tail, barking, waiting for a machine that鈥檚 completely indifferent to its emotional state, to throw a ball, a frisbee or a Safe Stick for it. Or for enthusiastically recalling, sprinting back to a machine which tells it 鈥淕ood Dog鈥 and dispensing a treat with about as much emotion and enthusiasm as it would use for forecasting the weather.

Nor would a robot be able to gauge the value of the act the dog has done. Different responses from a dog or the same act at different stages in the dog鈥檚 training should garner different reactions. For example;

Doing its business outside as a house-trained dog? Meh, low value treat or Good Dog.

Doing its business outside for the first time as a puppy? You throw that dog a Graduation party.

A machine can鈥檛 tell the difference and can鈥檛 feel the necessary emotion to get it right. To the machine, both 鈥渁cts鈥 are the same and require the same response. A human will know - will feel - the difference and their response will (or should) be in line with the dog鈥檚 current level of house training.

And getting a machine to walk the dog so you (global You, not you personally) can have another hour in bed?! That鈥檚 the height of laziness! Anyone who decides to buy a robot just so they can have another hour in bed doesn鈥檛 deserve a dog in my opinion.

I do like the idea of a machine cleaning up the accidents in the house though. One which could empty the cat鈥檚 litter box and/or entertain him while I walk the dogs, that would be something I鈥檇 consider.

But walking or feeding the dog(s)?

Nah, not for me.

That said, I wouldn鈥檛 say there isn鈥檛 a market for this sort of thing, just like there鈥檚 a market for clipping the dog鈥檚 leash to a fancy clothes line so the dog can get 鈥渆xercise鈥 while the owner鈥檚 at work/busy doing other things鈥 And as a forum, that鈥檚 another thing we would strongly advise against.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is possibly the worst idea I've ever heard of. If you can't walk your dog then why do you have a dog... and why does the dog have you? Both you and your dog need those moment for bonding. I actually answered the survey but it's not going to be the encouragement you hoped for. There is no technology currently that even comes close to being reliable enough that I would let my dog out of the house leashed to one. No way. No way!

If you want to develop a useful robot (dog or non dog related) then try focusing on one that can do light house keeping and/or surveillance tasks (possibly related to the dog) when you are not home. I could see a role for a robot in the house that kept an eye on the dog but beyond that my Roomba is more useful to my dog than a walking robot would be. Moreover, a dog will know it is not human and while I'm pretty sure you could train a dog to tolerate the presence of such a machine, they're not going to warm up to it.
Thank you for your feedback and participation in the survey! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We could already gather a lot of useful information from your posts and we appreciate everybody answering the survey. It would be nice if you could forward the survey to other dog friends of yours. But please do not influence them with your opinion or postings from this forum, since the study has to be unbiased. Thank you a lot everybody and have a nice day! Best regards,
The research team
 

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I feel the same way as everyone in the thread thus far. But I've also seen dog owners who never walk their dog or who walk their dog only once a week. (Some have health problems, and some are just unwilling to put in the time.) They might be willing to purchase a robot walker, and that could improve the dog's life.
 

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I also have no need for a robot dog Walker, I look at that as an opportunity to train my dog(s) and look forward to whatever we might encounter each day. My response will change depending on the situation after I assess it, I just don't think a robot could ever decipher. But on the other hand, if I absolutely couldn't walk my dog and paid someone else to walk them, I might consider a robot dog Walker.
 

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This is not a new or novel idea, and was thought of in 2011.


Considering there is no current information on Loomo Puppy, I gather the idea was a flop.

https://www.reddit.com/r/robotics/comments/88rd0t
I'm going to make a guess that the first time they tested that thing that the dog pulled the robot over and the robot fell on the dog and killed it. :)

That said, I honestly do believe that robots will become very VERY common in people's lives in the future. I think people will own them like we own PC's now.

To my mind there is a very big (future) market for robots that clean the house, wash the dishes, do the laundry, tidy up etc... things that people need to do but don't necessarily enjoy. I already have a robot that vacuums my floor while I'm sleeping and I view it as a "must have". if mine breaks I will definitely buy another one. Moreover a "tidy up" robot, once told where things go will be able to put things back where they belong (something humans have trouble with) so you can find them again. You will be able to say to the robot, "find my keys" and it look for them. If you ask the robot "where are my keys" it will know because they don't forget where they saw things last.... etc etc. It will require a level of AI that isn't commonly available right now, but these things are coming.

Another application for robots that I think has a HUGE future are robots with "companion" functionality. I'm not talking about sex robots. Imagine a "companion" robot that lives in the house with you. Not like a pet, but one that can play games with you, maybe cook light meals, make tea, find recipies, help you balance your diet and exercise routines, do grocery shopping, engage in some conversation about ... current events or whatever... monitor grandma's blood pressure and interact with the doctor on her behalf if needed, make sure someone is taking their meds, getting to bed on time, getting up on time, etc etc etc. This is going to be a HUGE market once the robots are sophisticated enough. People don't WANT to move to geriatric centres when they get older. They WANT to remain in their own houses but many will need help in order to do so.

Robots can fulfill that role once their programming and functionality matures. I know for sure that if I lived in some future world and I were single, older and companion robots were sufficiently mature that I would want one. I would use it like a personal assistant.
 

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I'm going to make a guess that the first time they tested that thing that the dog pulled the robot over and the robot fell on the dog and killed it. :)

That said, I honestly do believe that robots will become very VERY common in people's lives in the future. I think people will own them like we own PC's now.

To my mind there is a very big (future) market for robots that clean the house, wash the dishes, do the laundry, tidy up etc... things that people need to do but don't necessarily enjoy. I already have a robot that vacuums my floor while I'm sleeping and I view it as a "must have". if mine breaks I will definitely buy another one. Moreover a "tidy up" robot, once told where things go will be able to put things back where they belong (something humans have trouble with) so you can find them again. You will be able to say to the robot, "find my keys" and it look for them. If you ask the robot "where are my keys" it will know because they don't forget where they saw things last.... etc etc. It will require a level of AI that isn't commonly available right now, but these things are coming.

Another application for robots that I think has a HUGE future are robots with "companion" functionality. I'm not talking about sex robots. Imagine a "companion" robot that lives in the house with you. Not like a pet, but one that can play games with you, maybe cook light meals, make tea, find recipies, help you balance your diet and exercise routines, do grocery shopping, engage in some conversation about ... current events or whatever... monitor grandma's blood pressure and interact with the doctor on her behalf if needed, make sure someone is taking their meds, getting to bed on time, getting up on time, etc etc etc. This is going to be a HUGE market once the robots are sophisticated enough. People don't WANT to move to geriatric centres when they get older. They WANT to remain in their own houses but many will need help in order to do so.

Robots can fulfill that role once their programming and functionality matures. I know for sure that if I lived in some future world and I were single, older and companion robots were sufficiently mature that I would want one. I would use it like a personal assistant.
Check out Boston Dynamics (now owned by Hyundai)

 

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This is possibly the worst idea I've ever heard of. If you can't walk your dog then why do you have a dog... and why does the dog have you? Both you and your dog need those moment for bonding. I actually answered the survey but it's not going to be the encouragement you hoped for. There is no technology currently that even comes close to being reliable enough that I would let my dog out of the house leashed to one. No way. No way!

If you want to develop a useful robot (dog or non dog related) then try focusing on one that can do light house keeping and/or surveillance tasks (possibly related to the dog) when you are not home. I could see a role for a robot in the house that kept an eye on the dog but beyond that my Roomba is more useful to my dog than a walking robot would be. Moreover, a dog will know it is not human and while I'm pretty sure you could train a dog to tolerate the presence of such a machine, they're not going to warm up to it.
Roomba really is the best robot to help with dogs... seriously, I even named my newer one "FurminatorJ7" (my second [older] one is named "PsychoRoomba690", but he can still get a job done). Haven't gotten the mopping version yet, but I can definitely can see it in my future! Now all they need is something that sucks up spilled water, food, and dog puke 馃槅.

As for dog-walking robots, I would never let a robot walk my dog... hell, I don't even let my husband walk him half the time. Probably wouldn't do a whole lot of good either way... it would get halfway down the street and my dog would either knock it over or push the power button, and I'd be walking down to get it anyway 馃檮

I really dont know what it is with my dog and power buttons... once he figures out where they are, he starts pushing them for fun. He usually turns the Xbox and roomba on for his own amusement... though he has often turned the xbox off a number of times when my husband was in the middle of a game 馃ぃ
 

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For a dog of any significant size a dog walking robot would need to have some serious heft to prevent the dog from overturning and dragging it. I once watched a Golden Retriever, tied to a chair outside Starbucks, spook and run. Unfortunately the chair was too light to restrain the dog; the chair merely got dragged along behind when the dog fled. I have no idea what originally frightened the dog, but the metallic clattering of the chair only increased the dog's panic. One one side of the road was a guard rail; on the other side were stone walls. The dog couldn't get past either barrier, so the poor animal shot back and forth across the busy road looking for some way to escape the chair. Fortunately all the cars stopped, and a couple of pedestrians were able to capture the dog.
 
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