Whistle week 1: Getting the ball rolling

Even if you’re the impatient type, Whistle is simple to install — even on Rocket’s thick leather collar (like the clean, simple, and minimalistic product packaging, too).

I was really excited about the prospect of Whistle, the dog activity monitor, coming into our lives. As I wrote in my last article, “Why Whistle?,” I viewed Whistle as a way of becoming fully accountable for the amount of activity I would provide for our dog, Rocket, despite my own constant chronic pain issues.

Last Friday, the day before I received Whistle, we took Rocket to the vet. I told her I had noticed within the week prior to our visit, Rocket had been exhibiting signs that he was uncomfortable, and these symptoms seemed to be increasing in frequency. While on walks, he’d plant himself in the middle of the sidewalk with one leg stiffly extended. I’d massage his leg muscle; he’d pop back up and proceed to walk. In addition, while petting his back, I had noticed an involuntary contraction of his back muscles, paired with face wincing. After a thorough examination, his vet told me Rocket is experiencing a common back issue associated with the Corgi breed (he’s a Corgi-Pit Bull mix) — not necessarily caused by back length, but structure. She suggested a pain reliever, approximately three days of reduced activity, and some weight loss. “Weight loss”…two words that can make a dog parent feel like a failure.

After I recovered from feeling especially crappy about myself, I immediately thought this would actually be the perfect time in Rocket’s life to start using Whistle. While I understood I’d have to keep him quiet for a few days, I was looking forward to our soon-to-be more active life together.

I received Whistle the following day (see sidebar “Brief Whistle Overview” to the right). The packaging was clean, simple, and minimalistic (I’m a sucker for nice packaging). The actual monitor was attractive and sleek. And even for this easily frustrated, highly impatient girl, the setup was actually a breeze. I downloaded the app, and then followed the step-by-step instructions to pair the Whistle by connecting it to our home Wi-Fi network. The instructional graphics provided inside the box displayed how to easily attach Whistle to Rocket’s collar. Because Rocket is such a rock star, he sports a relatively thick leather collar adorned with fashionable, pounded metal studs. I was concerned that his fancy collar might interfere with Whistle. By merely positioning the sensor between two of the studs, an accurate reading was achieved. Whistle still worked good as gold.

Whistle enables its users to set daily activity goals. The default is 30 minutes. The app states that vets recommend 30 to 60 minutes per day. I thought I’d begin by splitting the difference and set a goal of 45 minutes — not too aggressive, as we had vet’s orders to take it easy for a couple of days. It was delightful to see Rocket surpass his 45-minute goal, even during his initial quiet time.

So far, I’m satisfied. I’m still excited. And Rocket is happy to know that we are increasing his goal to 60 minutes per day this week.

Ready, set, go!