iCPooch is a video chat, treat-dispensing soother for your anxious dog


Brooke Martin, a 13 year-old aspiring scientist from Spokane Washington, has recently been named a top-ten finalist in the nationwide 2013 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.  Her entry, a product called iCPooch, is designed to help dogs (and their owners) with the separation anxiety that often comes from being apart. We’ve all witnessed those bad pet behaviors that crop up when you’re away from your dog for a long stretch; getting in the trash, relieving themselves on your favorite rug, chewing on a pricey pair of shoes, or scratching away at the already seen-better-days wallpaper in the bathroom.

iCPooch helps to sooth your dog by allowing them to see and hear your familiar, caring face and voice.  Using two-way Skype video chat (auto-answer mode) with a smartphone or tablet that’s attached to a wireless electronic treat dispenser, you can pacify your pooch’s nerves at a dog’s-eye level from virtually anywhere.  I can imagine this being used for kitties, too.

The unit uses a Raspberry Pi, WiFi-enabled motherboard to connect to your wireless home network and an attached motor to dispense the treat.  Login through an iCPooch password protected web portal using any internet-connected device (regardless of operating system) from afar to send a “drop treat” signal to the unit.

iCPooch is a current Kickstarter project with a pledge goal of $70,000.  The funding period ends Tuesday October 1st, 2013 at 2:08am EDT.  A pledge of $99 or more will get you one iCPooch device and a sample of the iCPooch dog cookies.

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10 comments… add one
  • michele m September 11, 2013, 7:57 am

    this is too perfect! I have practically halted all outtings that will take longer than 2 hours. I feel guilty and worry about how lonely my mini doxie/terrier rescue must be feeling when the whole family leaves and she has to stay behind….Really thinking about getting one!

  • Neal September 11, 2013, 10:22 am

    Great Idea – Wish I had a dog to try it on.

  • Ryan Chapman September 11, 2013, 6:20 pm

    We tried using FaceTime for my mom to talk to her dog at my sisters house while my mom was on vacation, and her dog looked confused about hearing her voice but had no idea where it was coming from despite the iPad being directly in front of her. Same with my sisters dog on their big screen TV.

    Seems like a gimmick to me since most pets don’t understand video chat like humans do. Imagine stressing your poor pooch out because he’s going to search left and right around your house for that voice of yours without any comfort of smell or touch.

  • Leah Hallett September 11, 2013, 7:17 pm

    I see your point, it’s not as good as being there, but I think better than nothing at all. It could be more soothing for the owner! It would be a good idea to practice a few scenarios in advance of being apart to see how your particular pet reacted. I bet you would get entirely different reactions depending on the breed. Kitties would probably be scratching their chins on it (o:

  • Ryan Chapman September 11, 2013, 11:18 pm

    I check in on my cat via webcam and set my mom up with the same thing.. Teamviewer + webcam = Animalcam!

    Based on Baylea (my moms dog) hunting around my sisters bedroom for my mom and dad during the FaceTime session.. I think it will cause more stress for the animal than good. Less stress for the human yes, but for $100 you can get a nice setup for watching Fido without having to stick an iPad in front of their face while they eat.

    (And can you imagine the food bits on the iPad? My cat is messy enough as it is, but a dog? Yikes!)

  • VernC September 24, 2013, 8:22 pm

    My dog has no interest in looking at the TV or anything like one. I understand dogs have brains/eyes that perceive TV and other screens as flickering light and would not respond to owner’s image:

  • Ann February 20, 2014, 5:59 pm

    I love this device. My dog does watch tv and has watched me skype with friends. He isn’t sure what’s going on, but I bet if it were ME on the other end, he would! Good luck to this young scientist!

  • cat lasee March 16, 2014, 9:47 am

    I want on hooked up to my ferrets cage while im gone. That would fantastic!

  • jeff white March 21, 2014, 5:46 pm

    Is it too late to get in on the pledge level?

  • Trish December 3, 2014, 5:28 am

    How can I purchase one? I saw this on WBIR!

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