I'm usually all for things that make it easier to care for your dog. But one new piece of technology just goes too far.
Drones Direct — based in Huddersfield, which is in West Yorkshire, England — has modified one of its drone models to walk your dog along a preprogrammed GPS route.
According to the Daily Mail:
"Owners simply set the desired walking route via their smartphone and set off, with the drone following a set GPS route and returning home on its own.
The company claim to have installed built-in collision avoidance and an automated altitude ability, to ensure the flying Dog Drone can navigate obstacles."
Ok, let's break down just how remarkably stupid of an idea this is. The biggest problem here is that there are things a dog-walking drone simply cannot account for. A drone cannot keep your dog from coming across and reacting badly to other dogs or people. A drone cannot account for a dog's desire to take off running after a squirrel. A drone cannot account for your dog's desire to sniff bushes and trees.
Even if a drone COULD account for every distraction and danger the outside world has to offer a dog, there's no way drone could control a dog that decides to walk less than perfectly. And make no mistake: Even dogs that usually stick like glue to their owner's heel are fully capable of deciding and choosing to do the exact opposite and running off into traffic.
And a drone could not prevent that. A dog that chooses to run is going to run and if it's only attached to a drone, that drone is going to be pulled out of the sky and dragged behind that dog. While a dog is certainly capable of pulling out of a human's grasp, a human has a far better shot — by which I mean any shot at all — of holding onto the leash and keeping that dog from pulling away and potentially running into traffic.
Long story short: Anyone who chooses to attach their dog to one of these things is needlessly putting their dog's life at risk. There is simply no substitute for an actual human holding a dog's leash.
There's also the life-threatening secondary implication. While neither the Drones Direct website nor the Daily Mail article suggest it specifically, the implication of this device is that you could potentially hit a few keys on your phone, attach your dog to the drone and let it go for what is essentially a completely unsupervised walk. Hell, you could even figure out how to get your dog out for a walk when you aren't even home if you put a little thought into it.
There is no world in which this is in any way ok. Dogs in the world need supervision.
Also problematic, though less life-threateningly so, is the fact that this device encourages dog owners to intentionally avoid interacting with their dogs. A walk is a great time to bond with your dog. I don't — no, I can't — understand why anyone would choose to avoid that.
The bottom line: There's just no substitute for a walk with your dog.
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