Dogs need a lot of stimulation and sometimes we humans are just too busy. The company Joipaw is trying to fill that need. It makes a series of video games for dogs and even has a console that dispenses treats when they complete a level. Playing games can keep your best friend interested when you’re at work. It also helps avoid separation anxiety and fights the risk of doggie dementia as they age. The video below shows some very good doggos testing out a version of Whac-A-Mole. No, the dogs don’t lift a mallet, they play by pressing the screen with their nose.
If you don’t have the time to set up elaborate challenge games with your doggos to keep them occupied, you can sign up for a Joipaw console of your own. The product is still being developed but will hopefully be available to the masses soon. There’s also a pinball and counting game. It includes a wearable fitness tracker and a phone app so you can monitor your fur baby’s progress and control the treat supply.
We learned about this on DesignTAXI. Sadly, the video is short. We could watch dogs nose those video game moles all morning. Cleaning the screen of all those nose prints must be an unending task, though. According to Joipaw, during their testing phases, dogs kept playing the games even after the session was over and the treats stopped flowing. That’s good news for pet owners whose dogs aren’t food motivated.
This product feels like the inevitable next step after scientists determined that board games lower the risk of dementia in humans. There are plenty of educational video games but studies show that even playing regular video and virtual reality games helps improve memory as we age. Researchers have also found that lab-grown human brain cells can learn to play Pong, so why not dogs?
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.