DENVER (PRWEB) July 12, 2023 -- Fear Free® announced today that the company has applied its animal health industry-based guiding principles to set out standards for how next-generation AI products should interact with companion animals. They have also announced that Companion, which provides AI based enrichment for dogs, is the first company to develop their product with these principles.
“The growth of AI will impact every aspect of society and our lives. As the leader of a movement to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety & stress in companion animals, we understand acutely the tremendous potential this innovation has to positively, or negatively, impact our pets,” said Marty Becker, DVM, Founder of Fear Free.
According to Becker, the company’s trailblazing collaboration with Companion marks its first steps in partnering with AI technology developers and other such pioneers. “Our goal,” he said, “is to give pet owners and animal health professionals the confidence that future development and innovation in new pet products will unfold on a foundation of humane and ethical values that actually prevent and decrease fear, stress, and anxiety for companion animals, rather than causing them.”
“As a smart device that addresses both the physical and emotional needs of dogs, Companion is the ideal example of a product that is aligned with the goals and mission of Fear Free,” explained Fear Free’s new CEO, Randy Valpy. “By providing hours of enriching mental and physical challenges each day with AI, the device can use the same technologies to not only understand if an animal has a health issue or anxiety, but can also interact with the animal to help solve the latter. Companion is also helping to ensure the animal will experience less stress in other aspects of its life, including outside the home, by enabling features like infinitely-patient noise desensitization.” Ultimately a pet with reduced fear and anxiety lives a happier – and ideally as a result – healthier, longer life.
The newly established AI principles that the company has has laid out, stipulate that to adhere to Fear Free principles, products with autonomous or AI based interaction must be:
- 100% opt-in for the animal and positive reinforcement-based
- Able to detect anxiety throughout any interactions - “positive control”
- Able to detect environmental changes that could affect the animal's experience
- Be designed (e.g., color, sound, smell) so as not to cause stress
- Not allow for 3rd party control without guardrails to protect the animal
In their engagement with Companion, Fear Free discovered that many of these principles were already present in the Companion product concept and testing, and that it was evident from the beginning of their collaboration that the two organizations were philosophically aligned.
“We are entirely focused on positive reinforcement, 100% opt-in for the dog and we’ve incorporated functionality to control the experience because it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the best way to earn a dog’s trust. We’re so excited to have partnered with and be recognized by Fear Free in launching this product. Now we can significantly advance a dog’s daily enrichment, while decreasing its daily fear and stress,” said John Honchariw, Companion Founder.
As with AI itself, Fear Free expects these principles to continue to grow and evolve over time. To address this, plans are underway to entrench opportunities for engagement around AI development, with thought leaders from both the animal health and technology industries across the company’s business practices and growth strategies. From this engagement, Fear Free expects to define Standards that it hopes will be followed throughout the companion animal space.
“Our universal Fear Free Principles are at the heart of everything we do, driving our people, certifications, training, product development and partnerships in animal health, so we were excited at the opportunity to forge ahead, applying them specifically to the new world of AI development. These standards and our Companion collaboration are just the beginning,” Valpy affirmed.
The new Companion AI based product recently announced the first ship date of February 2024, and is available for rolling reservations at http://www.joincompanion.com
About Fear Free
Founded by Dr. Marty Becker and developed by hundreds of experts in behavior, medicine, and handling, Fear Free offers online and in-person education to veterinary professionals, the pet professional community, animal shelter staff and volunteers, and pet owners. Fear Free provides both professionals and pet lovers alike with the knowledge and tools to look after a pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing.
Veterinary or pet professionals can learn more about becoming Fear Free Certified by visiting fearfreepets.com. Pet owners can visit fearfreehappyhomes.com to access free videos, articles, and more that will help improve the physical and emotional health of their pets right at home. Shelter, rescue, and animal welfare employees and volunteers can visit fearfreeshelters.com to enroll in the complimentary program.
Smart games for smart dogs! Companion fulfills your dog's mental and physical needs with the power of AI. This innovation in dog training technology combines a high resolution camera, microphone, precision treat launcher, and speakers to interact with dogs. Our proprietary computer vision sees and understands dog movement, interacting and adapting on the fly to actively engage dogs and reinforce behavior. For the human, the app lets you choose games, customize play, schedule and watch sessions, and track your dog's activity and skill progression.
Companion is the result of years of research and development. Companion has worked with over 1,000 dogs over the last 5 years and is joined by the world’s leading investors and the top authorities on positive reinforcement, and animal behavior, cognition & health. The smart-technology device is unlike any other pet product on the market and was designed to create a significant change in the way we live, train and care for our dogs. Reserve yours now, and make sure to follow us and check out https://joincompanion.com/ to learn more!
Meg Nowik, Fear Free, http://fearfreepets.com, 1 720-507-06479, [email protected]
SOURCE Fear Free