I started using Whistle, the dog activity monitor, with a bit of angst: I was afraid I would prove to myself and the world that I am, in short, a lazy dog parent. I was under the impression that my chronic pain issues were drastically affecting my dog’s ability to exercise (especially during my super painful days). But the results recorded by Whistle have been an unexpected pleasant surprise.
Whistle is set to a default of 30 minutes of activity per day. Meaning, the goal would be to surpass 30 minutes of activity (walking or playing) each day. As I wrote in last week’s article, my dog, Rocket, had vet’s orders to slow down due to a diagnosed back issue prevalent in the Corgi breed (in his case, Corgi mix). To be perfectly honest, I thought if I was required to cut back his daily activity, there’d be no way we’d hit 30 minutes. To my surprise, even though I had a wicked case of the flu, and after reducing his activity, he was still reaching between 45 to 60 minutes a day. (The app states vets recommend 30 to 60 minutes per day.)
After Rocket’s few recommended quiet days, I quickly increased his goal to 45 minutes. I knew we were being monitored by Whistle. While I understood I’d be held accountable for the results, I noticed it didn’t take much effort to blow 45 minutes out of the water. We were averaging over 60 minutes per day. (One day, he reached 102 minutes of activity. Good boy, Rocket.) This is where Whistle gets fun; I then increased his goal to 60 minutes. Now, each day, I’m fully aware 60 minutes is the bare minimum amount of exercise my little goofy Corgi-Pit Bull mix will receive. In fact, one late evening (I was still a bit under the weather), I noticed we had only achieved 38 minutes. I promptly threw on my rubber boots, grabbed his leash, and we headed out the door for another half hour walk. Whistle did its job that day.
I live in a very dog-friendly apartment complex. I know all of the dogs and even some of the dog parents (I always introduce myself to canines first). Several people have asked, “What’s that silver thing on Rocket’s collar?” I give them a brief rundown. Not only have people smiled and said, “Oh, that’s really neat,” but a couple folks said they would consider ordering the device. To the highly interested parties, I offered to send them Whistle’s website link, so they could learn more.
When I first created an account as an official Whistle user via their app, I had the option to sign up by using Facebook, or merely as a user. I chose the latter. This past week, I thought some of my Midwest friends, who I keep in contact with predominately through Facebook, might also be interested in keeping better tabs on their dogs’ activities. I tried to go back in and link Rocket to Facebook, hoping my friends could view his progress. I did not find this as an option, so I emailed Whistle support. In less than an hour, I received the following email reply:
“Thank you for being an early supporter. Our Facebook integration currently won’t allow sharing. This is something we will incorporate in the future. No benefit for connecting via Facebook.”
So perhaps in the future, my Facebook friends can see Rocket’s daily or weekly updates, which can be more of an incentive to be accountable. But for now, Rocket and I will just have to reach our goal without the cheerleading of hundreds of Facebook friends. I think we can handle it.