How do you get your dog to do something without saying a word? Scientists at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel may have the answer in the form of a vibrating haptic vest.
The vest acts as a middle ground between owner and pet. Vibrations from the dog vest differ depending on the command the dog is given.
Yoav Golan, the study’s lead author and owner of Tai, the dog who tests the haptic suit, says that this dog vest is a good complement for dogs who may have audio or visual impairments that can get in the way of receiving and executing commands.
Golan developed four different commands translated to the haptic suit vibrations. Through the suit, be communicated turn, lie down, come, and back up to Tai successfully.
By pairing specific vibrations delivered by four different motors, the dog associates the commands with certain actions. Of course, treats help improve the learning curve, too.
Haptic Commands Can Benefit So Many Dogs And Humans
From a military and search-and-rescue perspective, there’s already a reliable market where this technology can be used. Some search-and-rescue operations involve distances between dog and handler, so the sense of touch provided by the haptic vest can be a great means of sticking together.
Common dog owners can also benefit from this, especially those living alone or in more remote locations, like the countryside. A unique command like “go home” through the vest may be just as effective to make sure their dog will be home in time.
Hearing-impaired dogs or dog owners who have speech impairments may benefit greatly from this development. The haptic dog vest acts as the bridge that lets them clearly communicate with each other.
The Magic Dog Touch
As much as dogs effectively communicate using whines, whimpers, and barks, they also communicate simply yet meaningfully through touch. Touching using their noses may be one of the more fascinating ways dogs communicate with other dogs or their human owners.
Both cats and dogs make snout contact or the “nose touch,” but dogs tend to be more selective on who they do it with. For pups, the nose touch gets them used to socializing. Dogs associate early nose touching with non-threatening approaches.
Studies show that learning the nose touch early on tends to lessen nipping or aggressive vibes when dogs grow older.
It’s probably the same as people dipping their toes in the water to test the temperature. Dogs want to explore a person through the nose touch before diving in with full trust.
What are your thoughts about the magic of touch when interacting with dogs? Do you think the haptic vest is a breakthrough that can help dogs and people communicate? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!