On Monday night Channel 4 broadcast the programme 'Dogs: Their Secret Lives' which looked at what dogs get up to when they are left home-alone by their owners.
Presented by former Vet and RSPCA Chief Mark Evans, the programme focussed on a group of dogs which were monitored with camera and sound equipment before Evans and dog behaviour experts gave their opinions as to if each pooch was showing signs of separation anxiety.
Though at times quite sad as some dogs clearly are distressed at the absence of their owners, there was a lighter side to this programme with some dogs being cured of their behaviour and some puppy action in a segment regarding the breeding programme of The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
For me though it was the featured entertainment and technological aids for lonely dogs that entertained.
Whilst I am not surprised it exists (Or that it originates from the U.S.A) 'DogTV' is a channel that - according to its producers - has been set up to 'stimulate, entertain, relax and habituate'.
Now as a one-time cat owner that has been entertained by his cats trying to paw at the balls on the screen whenever the snooker was on - before falling off the back of the TV - I had visions of some huge dog smashing a 65 inch Plasma screen to the ground in excitement at what the dog channel may show.
Next was a possible alternative to this, how about letting them give you a call whilst you're out?
Yes, under development is a mobile phone for dogs which via an app on your Smartphone you can see and talk to your dog with. A rather smart looking thing - a little similar to an iPod docking station - is wall mounted and is activated by the dog approaching it, you then get a call and as was demonstrated by the inventor on the programme, you can see and talk to your dog and also reward it remotely with treats by pressing an on screen button!
The treats appeared to be biscuits that fell from a small hatch under the device, so it would appear no room for an 'iBone' (Sorry).
Again I couldn't help but envisage carnage with dogs leaping up trying to reach the stash of treats, repeatedly contacting you throughout the day like a four-legged stalker or you being sat in the pub as the dog calls you up leaving you to watch helplessly as it bonks your favourite cushions and chews your 'Homeland' box-set before peeing on the carpet.
Still, I'm sure in a sea of apps and gadgets that supposedly make your life better, easier or more fun this will have its place though even if I had a dog it wouldn't be for me...
...but if someone can just design an app that scans the pavement ahead for dog turds when I'm staring at my phone texting/Tweeting etc
I WOULD buy that in an instant!