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‘Whistle’ is like a FitBit designed for your dog

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 8:26 am

NEW YORK — Bad news for lazy dogs: A new device, called Whistle, lets pet owners track how much exercise — or sleep — their four-legged friends are getting.

Whistle is similar to popular activity trackers designed for humans. It wraps around a dog’s collar and syncs with a smartphone app, collecting data on the pet.

I tried it out on my dog, who would much rather sleep under the couch than chase a ball.

It’s no surprise to find out that he wasn’t getting at least 30 minutes of movement a day. But that was mainly my fault.

Whistle pushed me to take him out on more walks for longer periods.

At $129, it is as pricey as some of the latest human fitness trackers from the likes of FitBit and Jawbone.

One major difference: Whistle syncs data to its app through Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth. That lets you check up on your dogs without being near them, which is helpful if they’re at a doggy day care or with family members.

The Whistle app, available for Apple and Android smartphones, is nicely designed. Multiple people can download the app and see the same data through the same account, which is great if others help care for your dog.

The Whistle looks slick. It is round and is made of stainless steel. It weighs less than an ounce. It is about 1.5 inches wide and less than half-an-inch thick.

My biggest worry was losing it. But the device locks onto a rubber strap wrapped around the dog collar. It stayed in place and never fell off.

Because it is waterproof, dogs can take the Whistle with them for a swim, the company says. I used it during rainy dog walks, and it always worked fine.

Besides data on rest and activity, you can add what the dog ate, what medication you gave it and any additional notes or photos you want.

The app looks like a Facebook timeline for your dog. You can scroll down to see that day’s log, or swipe the screen from left to right to see past days.

Whistle is recommended for use on dogs that weigh more than 10 pounds. It works on smaller dogs, the company says, but the Whistle might be too big for them. My dog is a little over 11 pounds and didn’t notice the Whistle at all.

The built-in battery lasts about a week before it has to be recharged. The app alerts you when it starts getting low.

The Whistle is charged through a USB cord that plugs into a computer or laptop. It doesn’t come with a wall charger outlet, which is a pain if you don’t have a laptop or desktop computer. I used the wall charger for my iPhone, or you can buy one for less than $10.