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The Good Dog Pod - Good Dog EPISODE 47, 12th May 2021
Companion: a robot that trains your dog
00:00:00 00:24:50

Companion: a robot that trains your dog

John Honchariw is the founder and CEO of Companion, an automated dog training device. John introduces us to the inception of the product. He began by working on a robotics team at Google, where he had a realization: sensors can greatly help us understand the animals around us. A transition from robotics to animals? Pretty awesome. 

John saw an opportunity to use his prior experience in robotics to better understand canine movement. The movement and posture of a dog is very important, and can signal a lot about how dogs are feeling. More importantly, it is essential to see how that movement changes over time, and while it is difficult for us to remember how our dog moved 5 years ago, computers have perfect memories. John’s goal with this venture? To help dog owners maintain the essential human-animal bond throughout the dog’s life. 

Companion has worked on a limited number of dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, a relevant topic given the amount of pandemic puppies purchased during 2020. Companion steps in and gives dogs some more structure in their life - especially for dogs who now see their owners less because they are returning back to work. This device teaches your companion how to learn and keeps them occupied.

What does this device look like and how does it operate? Essentially, it is a device that includes a camera, a computer and a treat launcher. The goal is to train your dog that good things happen around the device through positive reinforcement. Once your dog is comfortable, the device starts looking for types of behaviors: sitting down, lying down or looking at the device. When these behaviors are recognized by the device, they are positively reinforced. 

When one acquires the device, you also gain access to a Companion coach. The coach is with you very intensively during the first month, to provide a white glove experience and make sure you become accustomed to the device. The app gives you direct access to your coach, where they are available for video chats during the first month. 

Interested in finding out more about the device? The website joincompanion.com demonstrates exactly how the device works and looks like. 

Will you be attending Westminster 2021? Join us for a Breeder Appreciation Party on Friday, June 11th. The event will be outdoors, at Hudson Anchor Rooftop in Tarrytown, NY. There will be free food, drinks, live music and giveaways. And better yet: dogs are welcome! Make sure to pre-register at: https://bit.ly/3f9fwGr and follow our Facebook Event for the latest updates!

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