I'm a bit of a technology nerd all round, if I'm being honest. So when I got sent this dog webcam I was pretty much over the moon.
I have two border collie dogs - Seven and Pancakes - and they're super hyper and lovable and generally hilarious. But they're not *quite* perfect. They have a nasty habit of barking if someone knocks on the door when we are out of the house. So I've been thinking about getting something like the Skymee Petalk AI for quite a while. I've had it for a week now, using it every day. Here are my thoughts:
Setup was pretty easy. Once the Skymee app is downloaded, it generates a handy QR code that you show to the webcam, and boom! - it's on your network. Pretty nifty. I will tell you to choose your webcam spot wisely though, because you have to go through the setup process every time you unplug the device and move it. So pick somewhere you'll get the most use out of it.
Me? I stuck it right by my front door. My plan? To check in on the dogs throughout my day via my phone, and should I find them barking like demons, talk to them and throw lovely treats at them.
Oh yeah. Did I not mention? The Skymee Petalk lets you give treats to you dog from anywhere with an internet connection. What a time to be alive!
I have to say, the treat delivery is my favourite feature of the Skymee. There's a door at the top of the device, and you can fill it with a treat of your choice. Dry, hard treats work best. Then from the app, you can press a button and out come the treats.
There's a generic dog barking noise to signal the treats as default, but you can (and should) record your own message so that your pet will hear your voice, and then lovely treats will appear. It's super fun. I'm not going to lie both me and my husband use this feature several times a day just because it's so cute watching the dogs wait for the treats. There are very sensible options within the app to count how many times your pet has been fed and such, but we don't like to keep track. It's much too much fun just going wild with it.
Talk and Listen
Along with the webcam feed, which works in colour and also black and white night vision, you can also hear what's going on in your house. You access this by pressing the listen button on the app. You can hear your dogs sleeping peacefully... or barking at the postman. If the latter is occurring - or if you just want to say hi - you can also press a button to talk to your dogs, through your phone. The signal is loud and clear, and it always gets my dogs' attention. You can watch them approach the webcam, cocking their heads to listen. It's super cute.
And, more practically? Say hi to your dogs, throw them a treat, and they soon lose interest in barking at the postman all together. Problem solved!
On this note, there is a motion detection notification in the app, which notifies you when your pets start moving about, but that isn't much good for me because they have the run of the house. What I'd much prefer - and hopefully it will come in a later update - is a noise notification. So if my dogs bark, and make noise over a certain decibel level, I'll get a notification on my phone and I can put a stop to it. At the moment we're just checking in at random to see what they're up to, which works OK, but a notification would be even better.
Other Good Bits
- The device is very well built, and sturdy on its base. This is a particular plus point if you have a clever dog that works out where the treats come from and tries to paw at the lid (I'm looking at YOU, Seven.)
- The webcam is white and pretty minimal. It fits right in to most rooms pretty discretely.
- You can record and take photos in the app. I love this! You can record your dogs being cute, waiting for treats and stuff.
- When everything is set up, the app really does work well. Whether you're inside the house (being lazy from your upstairs office *cough*), at work, or on holiday, you can see what's going on at home. It's great. It would likely double nicely as a burglar monitor too, provided you got the notification of movement/sound on your phone and pressed record in time.
- I was concerned the treats would get stuck or misfire, but after using this feature approximately 8000 times this week, I can safely say they don't get stuck.
So, there we have it: a slightly off-topic but wonderfully tech-filled review of the Skymee Petalk AI. If you're in need of a way of seeing your pets when you're out of the house, this is a wonderful option!