Developer: Cheviot Hills LLC
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

iOS Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

If one has a destructive or noisy dog, but work or school prevents them from spending time training their puppy with the required consistency, there is an app that can help fill in during those absent hours. The Pavlov Dog Monitor is based loosely on Ivan Petrovich Pavlov’s famous experiment using classical conditioning on dogs and all the studies that came after it. The app might more aptly be called Skinner’s Monitor as it really uses a rudimentary form of operant conditioning. In other words, the app uses a basic system of reinforcements, both rewards and punishments, to keep training going all day. Does it succeed? It’s hard to say without at least six weeks of use, but it certainly looks promising–at least for dogs who like looking at screens.

Here’s how it works. Users upload a photo of their dog and record two videos of themselves. The first is a brief message of praise like “Good Girl!” The second, a reproach. Then when leaving the house they leave the app running, ensuring the iPad is left in the canine trainee’s view. The app listens and rewards long periods of quiet with the reward message, while barks and other sounds of destruction trigger the negative response. Users control the frequency of the rewards and other specifics in the settings, and that’s about it. Well, almost. If one is so inclined, they can turn on the app’s Facebook Remote Monitor and track puppy’s progress right on their timelines.

When the dog owner gets home the app provides a report card that shows both that day’s grade and also tracks progress over time. The app purports to actually adjust to each dog’s specific behaviour over time with Smart Settings as well.

While I can’t speak to the long-term efficacy of Pavlov Dog Monitor, I can say the interface is very cute, the app is easy to use and bug-free, and both my dog and my cat were intrigued enough to look up when they heard my dislocated voice. If Rover chews shoes and yaps all day, for $1.99, it’s probably worth giving this app a shot.

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