Simple strategies for spying on pets
There are some really simple strategies to spy on your pets.
If your pet is an inside pet, try the following:-
- Place sheets of newspaper on beds, couches and even in hallways – the more ruffled they are, the more your pet is using the area in which they are placed.
- If you have wooden or tiled floors, puff Talcum Powder into doorways or hallways to determine where your pet is traveling during the day – lots of paw prints mean lots of activity. If your dog is really distressed, you may also be able to detect dog slobber in the talcum powder. (If you see that, it’s serious – contact us for advice.)
- If you have white tiles. use the colored builder’s chalk commonly used in string lines.
- Detect movement of pets in to various rooms of your house or parts of your garden by placing cotton ‘trip wires’ between blobs of Blu Tack or similar put across entrance ways or across pathways.
Recording your pet’s noisy behaviour
Using some form of sound recorder is often a very useful strategy.
Most pets make noise when they are active (and possibly distressed) but are silent when they are resting and calm.
So, what’s the balance of chaos and calm for your pet?
There are many alternatives but for years we have been using Audacity which is free software available for Windows platforms.
For mobile and Apple devices, a similar piece of software called WavePad is available.
If you set Audacity or WavePad to record when you leave it will run continuously but you can easily see noise activity on the screen when you get back and examine that part of the recording to determine what happened. It gives a time trace so that you can see when in the day the activity occurred.
Audacity also has a sound-activated mode but as one sound event is joined to the one before, you can’t determine when in the day that sound event occurred. Adding a voice-chiming clock near the computer will solve the problem and there may be software available that will do the same task. There are also verious desk-top free clocks that will chime on an hourly basis. The chime is recorded by Audacity or WavePad.
To take photos of your pet’s daily activity, the free webcam software Yawcam is very useful. This software has a motion-activated mode so that movement in Yawcam front of the webcam will trigger it to take photos. Because each photo has a time stamp you can easily determine what your pet is doing during the day. The photos can be compiled into a video using the Yawcam software. You can also view the webcam through the internet so that you can look at what your pet is doing when you are away from home – for instance, while you are at work.
The popular telephone software, Skype is also useful. Skype can be configured to automatically answer calls with video on (that’s usually in the Tools > Options > Call Options section). That means you can use Skype when you are away from home to see what your pet is doing.
If you use Snooper’s email alert to tell you when you pet is barking, you can then use Skype to see what your pet is up to and even use the speakers of your computer to speak to your pet at that time – which may not always have the effect you want!
Skype can also be viewed through smartphones and similar devices.
Mobile Phone Surveillance
Most modern mobile phones have an automatic answer facility. This can be useful if you have a spare mobile phone because you can ring that mobile to listen to activities in the area in which you have left the phone.
Most phones need to have a headset or a hand’s free attachment installed for this to work but even a cheap corded headset that comes with most phones works well for this purpose.
Using a mobile phone is particularly useful for the early treatment of separation anxieties (using the staged leaving technique) when you are teaching your pet to be calm after you leave. Listening to your pet via your mobile as you walk or drive away will let you know how long you can stay away from home.
If you have two mobile phones and a Gmail account, the free software Alfred will allow one phone to be the camera and the other the receiver.
Spying on your pet is not only good fun – it’s useful for behavior therapy!