Have you ever wished you had a Fitbit for your pet? Something to track just how active they are during the day? I mean, not as they move from lying under the table to on the couch, but actual high-intensity activity? That is the premise of Whistle, and based on going from winter to spring to summer – it works!
From the Manufacturer:
The Whistle Activity Monitor is a health tracker for your dog. It attaches to any collar and measures your dog’s activities, giving you a new perspective on day-to-day behavior and long-term trends.
Getting the Whistle set up involves charging it up, installing the phone app, linking to the Whistle sensor, tying it into your WiFi network, and then getting your dog involved.
The Whistle Activity Monitor attaches to your dog’s collar, and will track activity and send progress wirelessly to the app so long as the dog is in range of the wireless network.
The folks at Whistle were kind enough to send me two of the trackers, which I thought would be great for evaluating how our two Norfolk Terriers did compared to each other. During the winter it was hard to assess, as we had an especially cold year, but as spring has worked its way from cold to warm our dogs have fallen into their seasonal habits and we have seen how well the Whistle works.
The Whistle tracker is a simple disc which slots into a rubberized base that attaches to a dog collar. It is designed to be easily removable when it needs to recharge – all you do is pinch the collar adapter and twist the tracker and it comes off easily. The charging base just cradles the tracker and then a light ring around the edge of the tracker shows red or green as it charges up.
Whistle is also water-resistant – with our dogs it has been through snow and heavy rain without ever having an issue. It is also durable as it got mud-soaked as they ‘helped’ me digging up roots. I have yet to have any physical or electronic issue with Whistle.
The Whistle App is your view into your dog’s activity profile. For each day you get a dial gauge that tracks progress against goal, and it provides a bar graph with the activity level across the entire day, a list of sustained rest periods, and the ability to annotate and share progress. The app also includes the ability to add daily notes about food, medication, add notes or take a picture. When you first link up the tracker you are prompted to add a background photo of your dog.
All of the extras are great and actually useful, as I noted a couple of days when our dog wasn’t feeling well, so when I took her to the vet I had a history that showed decreased activity linked to the appearance of not feeling well.
But the star of the show is the overall activity tracking – Whistle monitors the level as well as duration of movement during the day. The ‘minutes’ monitor tracks activity of moderate or high level, so if your dog just walks from bed to food dish and back all day they won’t register much activity. And that is noted in the charts as well – low activity is ‘white’, moderate to high is ‘blue’.
The app also provides alerts when the Whistle battery is low, when it is fully charged, when your dog hits her activity goal and more!
How Well Does It Work?:
At first when we started using Whistle, it was extremely cold and so our dogs were mostly indoors and had relatively low activity levels that were pretty much the same. As a result we weren’t sure of the value. Add in a very long and cold winter and it took quite a while before we saw the value … but suddenly as spring really started to kick into gear we immediately saw the difference – our 7-year old male Norfolk is a lover of the outdoors and always on the go, whereas our 10-year old female is more apt to lay around at our feet.
Whistle reflected the difference between our dogs, the intensity of the activity, and it tracked well when we took the dogs for a walk. When you are away from WiFi the data is stored, then updated when you are back in range.
At this point we have been using Whistle for nearly six months, and have found it a tremendously accurate and valuable indicator of activity level and daily habits. If you are interested in keeping track of your dog’s activity level over time, definitely check out Whistle!
Source: Two Whistle trackers were provided to me by the Manufacturer as review samples
MSRP: $129.95 from Whistle.com
What I Like: Durable and ‘dog-resistant’; attaches securely to collar; easy to set up and use; app is useful and communicates effectively; activity reflects real-life experience.
What Needs Improvement: Nothing of note.
Here is my hands-on video review of the Whistle: