I first attached Whistle, the dog activity monitor, to my dog’s collar about a month ago. While I was looking forward to tracking Rocket’s activity, I can honestly tell you that I had no idea exactly how much one little electronic device would change our lives together.
I mentioned in past articles, in 2008 I was in a serious car accident, which has left me with a chronic pain issue. There had been days that, due to the pain, I’d regretfully slacked on the amount of time I’ve spent walking Rocket. Instead of an exciting trip to the dog park, we had merely gone for a jaunt around the neighborhood. I wanted this to change, and with Whistle, it did.
I’m a list maker, a goal setter, and a perfectionist. I’m adamant about ensuring I cross the “t”’s and dot the “I”’s of my life. If I set a goal, I do everything within my power to achieve it. When I received Whistle, I was determined that, regardless of my pain level, Rocket would receive the exercise he deserved. As added encouragement, during the first week of Whistle use, his vet pointed out Rocket’s chubby midsection. She said the extra weight was doing him no favors. While Rocket had been getting at least 45 minutes of walk time each day, it clearly wasn’t enough. I had to change his diet and my own habits. He’d get at least 60 minutes, and as many days playing at the park as humanly possible.
Not only has Whistle helped me become more accountable for Rocket’s activity each day, there has been an unexpected pleasant side effect. My partner, Eric, is also registered as an owner, and he receives updates on Rocket’s progress. The app has opened up more frequent, open, and honest dialogue between us about Rocket’s well-being. Is he receiving enough exercise? Have we cut back enough on his food so he’ll lose weight (as the vet instructed)? Does he still seem to be experiencing some difficulty with his back and legs during his walks? Does Rocket seem generally happier?
When we go to the park, Rocket now runs faster and plays harder. He tires less easily, and takes fewer breaks to catch his breath. On our walks around the neighborhood, he urges me to cross streets we hadn’t crossed a month ago, so he can walk farther and explore new ground. Rocket has been less antsy in the evening. At night, he lies down and stays in the same position all night; there is no restless tip-tapping of his nails while wandering around the house. He even wakes up later in the morning. He just seems more settled in general.
Before wearing Whistle, Rocket was planting himself on the sidewalk during most of his walks. He’d extend a rear leg — an indicator of the discomfort associated with a painful back condition common to the Corgi dog breed. Now, after a month, there are days he exhibits no pain symptoms. Upon his last vet visit, our pudgy, short legged, Corgi–Pit Bull mix had even lost a pound. Most important; Rocket actually seems like a happier dog.
If you and your pooch are up for a challenge, you might want to consider Whistle. I think you’d be surprised how much it affects your lives together.
For more thoughts, please see “Whistle Overview: Week 4” sidebar to the right.