Just like with people, games could help older dogs retain healthy brains longer.
Research has shown video games can have helpful effects on human brains when it comes to diseases associated with aging, but what about dogs? Joipaw, a new UK-based startup, is using the same arguments for dogs that humans have for games. The only problem was that there weren’t really any video games for dogs on the market.
That could be about to change thanks to Joipaw’s debut product. As noted in a report from Axios, it’s a “saliva-resistant touch-screen” mounted on a platform that dispenses treats whenever the pooch does well at the game. So far, those games include a whack-a-mole title and one where the dog guesses which image has more bubbles–basic stuff, but the plan is to get more intricate games that utilize a motion sensor on the dog’s collar.
Joipaw co-founder Dersim Avdar told the publication that the idea for Joipaw came from his dog Jawet and his desire to keep her busy when he didn’t have enough time to play. Later, he found a 2017 study that suggested simple games could have a beneficial effect on doggie brain health as they aged. “I’m taking the torch that these researchers lit and bringing it further,” Avdar told Axios.
The hardest part about Joipaw is getting a dog’s attention. Dogs don’t naturally gravitate to screens like people do, so Avdar has to cheat by displaying an image of peanut butter–the one thing every dog loves more than life itself. Avdar said that the goal is to get dogs to start playing without the peanut butter trick.
There’s no time frame for Joipaw’s release. Avdar said that he still needs to work on a pricing model that makes sense and produce more games, one of which will involve avoiding hedgehog spikes and could be played against a human opponent. There are also plans for a global leaderboard, with Avdar commenting: “I can totally imagine dog esports.”
You can reserve your Joipaw on the company’s official website here.
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