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Communicate with Your Dog on Your Phone

I had never thought I would see the day when we could communicate with our pets on our phones. But the PetSafe® SMART DOG® Remote Trainer makes that very thing possible. It allows you to use your iPhone® or Android® as a remote to control tone, vibration, or static stimulations on a sleek, navy blue collar that your dog wears. Your phone communicates with the collar over Bluetooth®4.0, allowing you to do such unbelievable things as recall your dog back to you from up to 75 yards away.

Wait a second. How does the technology that disconnects from a Bluetooth speaker at less than 20 yards reliably connect with a collar at 75 yards? I’m glad you asked. As it turns out, there are several different kinds (core specifications) of Bluetooth. The most common today are Bluetooth BR/ EDR (basic rate/enhanced data rate)—the kind used in most speakers. But, thanks to its extremely low data flow requirements, PetSafe Brand was able to build the collar off of the Bluetooth Low Energy standard, commonly marketed as Bluetooth Smart®.

Randy Wacasey, Senior Engineer for New Product Development explains, “We took Bluetooth’s low energy standard, and we put our hardware spin on it to make sure we could achieve the kind of range we wanted. Believe it or not, it made battery life better than typical Bluetooth applications. Because not as much data is moving, it truly is low-energy.”

So not only is the range great, but the system uses very little battery power from either your phone or the collar. That’s great news since, for better or worse, most of us rely on our phones for a lot nowadays. And though your results may vary depending on use, you can expect somewhere in the range of 80 hours from the collar’s built-in rechargeable battery. And though your phone may not be, the collar is waterproof, so your dog can go for a swim with it on—no problem.

When I first held an average training remote, I was confused about the button functions. And it wasn’t much fun to program when I decided to “customize” some functionality. The app, on the other hand, couldn’t possibly be easier. Senior UX Designer, Bryan Garvey says, “We started by studying heat maps of different phone screens to understand what areas are most reachable with your thumb. We wanted to make sure people would be confident they were tapping the right button at the right time. With the heat map information we decided to make the primary button the largest of the three, and we placed it in the most reachable and natural spot on the screen.” And, you can choose which correction type to make primary, giving it the largest button.

The three icons clearly communicate which is tone, vibration and static stimulation. The same screen allows you to quickly adjust between 15 levels of static stimulation, so it can easily accommodate dogs of any temperament. Plus, the orientation can be quickly flipped for lefties. “We also tested different backgrounds at different screen brightness settings to make sure the buttons had enough contrast to make them easily visible even in sunlight,” says Garvey. All this attention to detail has culminated in an app that makes it hard for traditional remote users to ever want to go back. In fact, Garvey says, “When we were testing, a gentleman picked up a traditional remote and said, ‘If you give me this, I’ll lose it by four o’clock. But I guarantee I won’t lose this,” holding up his iPhone®.

All in all, PetSafe Brand has developed a great training tool designed to fit into your life. We hope those of you who use remote trainers will step with us into the future.

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