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Start-up develops video games for dogs to assist ageing canine brains

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In case your pooch has grown uninterested in fetch and tug-of-war, perhaps they is perhaps more enthusiastic about a doggy video game.

Joipaw, a start-up based in Hong Kong, has developed a series of touchscreen games designed to maintain our furry friends’ minds energetic.

These include a whack-a-mole style game that the player can tap with their snout, and a counting test where they select which side of the screen has more bubbles.

The corporate’s founders hope the video games will bring more long-term stimulation to dogs, and will help stave off a style of dementia often known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.

Joipaw, a start-up based in Hong Kong, is within the means of developing a series of touchscreen games designed to maintain dogs’ minds energetic

SIGNS OF DEMENTIA IN DOGS 

  • Forgetting members of the family.
  • Forgetting normal or familiar walking routes.
  • Toileting in the home – your dog may forget to inform you that they should go outside, or goes outside, forgets to bathroom, after which toilets in the home on their return.
  • Anxiety or restlessness.
  • Less prone to rise up and greet you if you come home.
  • Decreased desire to play.
  • Not following house rules.
  • Forgetting training.
  • Slow to learn latest tasks.
  • Changes in sleep cycle – being awake at night and sleeping more throughout the day.

 Source: Companion Care

The games are still within the prototype stage, but are designed to be played on a lick-resistant touchscreen.

The Joipaw team claims that dogs can initially be trained to the touch the screen by smearing on some peanut butter, after which step by step reducing it.

Co-founder Dersim Avdar told Axios that, while testing the games with nearly two dozen dogs, ‘probably the most difficult step’ was phasing out the spread to get them to play on their very own.

But, once they finally get it, there may be a ‘magic moment where you see the sunshine of their eyes’, he explained. 

Further treats are disbursed from the console when the dog wins a game, to maintain them hooked on attending to the subsequent level.

Mr Avdar told MailOnline that it normally takes one or two 30 minute sessions for a dog to choose up the right way to play a Joipaw game, but that some dogs get it after just ten minutes. 

The team has also developed a motion-sensitive tracker for collars that records the dog’s physical activity, and hope it is going to provide an alternate control method to the touchscreen in the longer term. 

Mr Avdar was inspired to create dog video games by his own mixed-breed pooch Kawet, who he adopted together with his wife in May 2021.

The energetic dog quickly lost interest in puzzle games and toys crammed with treats and have become restless, tearing up its owners’ furniture and shoes and going to the bathroom on the ground.

The couple quickly realised these were all symptoms of separation anxiety, and that Kawet needed further stimulation once they left the home.

Mr Avdar told MailOnline ‘We simply didn’t find an answer that might keep our dog busy and stimulated after we couldn’t deal with him, and we felt very guilty of getting to say no when he desired to play because we had work.’ 

The video games include a whack-a-mole style game that the player can tap with their snout, and a test where they choose which side of the screen has more bubbles

The video games include a whack-a-mole style game that the player can tap with their snout, and a test where they select which side of the screen has more bubbles

Mr Avdar was inspired to create dog video games by his own mixed-breed pooch Kawet (pictured), who he adopted in May 2021. The active dog quickly lost interest in puzzle games and toys filled with treats, and became restless, tearing up furniture and shoes

Mr Avdar was inspired to create dog video games by his own mixed-breed pooch Kawet (pictured), who he adopted in May 2021. The energetic dog quickly lost interest in puzzle games and toys crammed with treats, and have become restless, tearing up furniture and shoes

Mr Avdar read a study from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna which claimed that having elderly dogs play games on a touchscreen might stave off cognitive decline.

The study explained: ‘Unlike puppies or young dogs, old dogs are almost never trained or challenged mentally.

‘As well as, on account of their increasing physical limitations, we often spare old dogs the kind of training we’d expect from young animals.

‘This restricts the opportunities to create positive mental experiences for the animals, which remain able to learning even in old age.

‘As is the case with people, dopamine production in dogs also falls in old age, resulting in a decline in memory and motivational drive.

‘But this natural mental deterioration will be countered with the precise training of cognitive skills.’

The games start off simply, with just one mole appearing on the screen at a time, but gradually increase in difficulty to ensure the dog doesn't get bored of the challenge

The games start off simply, with only one mole appearing on the screen at a time, but step by step increase in difficulty to make sure the dog doesn’t become bored with the challenge

The Joipaw games result in a mental workout that can last up to half an hour, and offer more stimulation than puzzle toys, according to Mr Avdar

The Joipaw games lead to a mental workout that may last as long as half an hour, and offer more stimulation than puzzle toys, in response to Mr Avdar

Armed with this data, Mr Avdar began looking into making a dog-tailored console that might act as a tool in preventative canine health care.

On the Joipaw website, it reads: ‘We look after Kawet and wish him to live a protracted, healthy and glad life. 

‘We also want him to be busy and properly stimulated when we will not be there with him.’

The whack-a-mole starts off simply, with only one mole appearing on the screen at a time, but step by step increases in difficulty to make sure the dog doesn’t become bored with the challenge.

This ends in a mental workout that may last as long as half an hour, and offers more stimulation than puzzle toys, in response to Mr Avdar. 

‘I have never yet encountered a dog that did not happily sleep for multiple hours after fiddling with the console,’ he said. 

Joipaw also comes with a camera and a microphone for apprehensive owners to control their pet once they’re out the home. 

The team has also developed a motion-sensitive tracker for collars that records the dog's physical activity They hope it will provide an alternative control method to the touchscreen in the future

The team has also developed a motion-sensitive tracker for collars that records the dog’s physical activity, but hope it is going to provide an alternate control method to the touchscreen in the longer term

The games are able to alert the owner if any abnormal behaviour is detected during play, and this can be shared with vets to enable earlier diagnosis of cognitive decline. Data like this will be visible on a Joipaw online platform, along with statistics about their game play

The games are capable of alert the owner if any abnormal behaviour is detected during play, and this will be shared with vets to enable earlier diagnosis of cognitive decline. Data like this will likely be visible on a Joipaw online platform, together with statistics about their game play 

Joipaw hopes the games will be used to stimulate shelter dogs who do not get to exit as much, in addition to those affected by dementia.

The games alert the owner if any abnormal behaviour is detected during play, and this will be shared with vets to enable earlier diagnosis of cognitive decline. 

Mr Avdar told MailOnline that a way of monitoring canine cognitive health is ‘simply nowhere to be found’, but is ‘extremely vital to live a protracted and glad life with a member of your loved ones’.

Data like this will likely be visible on a Joipaw online platform, together with statistics concerning the dog’s game play and high scores. 

Joipaw can be hoping to include games where dogs can play against their owners, and create a frontrunner board comparing different puppy players.

In keeping with Joipaw, there just isn’t a definite timeline for the video games’ release or a retail price currently.

Nevertheless, a console and collar tracker will be reserved online for $50 HKD (£5 or $6 USD), and will likely be shipped when ‘inventory is offered’.

Joipaw can be working on a subscription service where customers can download latest games for his or her console as they’re released.

Doggy dementia risk increases by 52% annually after the age of 10, study claims 

The danger of dogs developing a neurodegernative condition much like dementia increases by 52 per cent every 12 months after they turn ten, a latest study has found.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) is related to the ageing of a dog’s brain, that manifests as reduced awareness, memory and talent to learn.

Nevertheless, the researchers from University of Washington have found that energetic pooches have much lower probabilities of developing the syndrome.

Inactive dogs have a 6.5 times greater risk of CCD than those who get regular exercise.

These findings could help inform vets about when it is acceptable to begin screening pets for CCD. 

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