TailTalk: New Gadget Claims To Translate ‘Dog Speak’ [Video]

Animal lovers have always wanted to communicate with their dogs in their own language — call it “dog speak” if you will — and now a New York company has come up with a way to understand what your dog is “saying” to you just by the way it wags its tail.

Like human facial expressions, the various movements of a dog’s tail have a lot to do with how the animal is feeling at that particular moment in time, its emotions, and reactions to situations surrounding the animal. How about having a gadget to translate those tail wags into a type of dog speak we can understand? New York-based company DogStar Life reckon they have come up with just the thing.

Appropriately dubbed “TailTalk,” the new gadget is an emotion sensor that can be attached to the dog’s tail, where it works in a similar way to a Fitbit, measuring both movement and speed of the doggie appendage.

According to DogStar Life, they have worked out what each tail wagging moment means in a dog’s emotional life, and the sensor picks up which movement is happening at any given moment as a dog speak translated result.

Briefly, the company says that research has shown left wagging of the tail often suggests negative feelings on the part of the dog, including aggression and anger, while right wagging is more indicative of excitement or happiness.

Dog speak
There were tensions between the 2 dogs

IOL offers a breakdown of the various tail wagging movements and what they mean as dog speak, in each case while facing the direction the dog is looking in at the time.

  • Left wagging indicates negative feelings on the part of the dog, including aggression and anger.
  • Right wagging shows feelings of excitement or happiness.
  • Broad wagging (that lovely sweep of the dog’s tail from the left to the right), suggests that the dog is feeling happy and secure and is not threatening you in any way.
  • A slight and tentative wag shows the dog is a little wary and is saying a hopeful “hello.”
  • A slow tail wag at “half-mast” is an indication that the dog is feeling insecure and nervous.
  • Rapid, small movements of the tail show the dog is about to either fight or run away.

While normally dog owners wouldn’t notice the ongoing dog speak as their dogs tend to move around so much, the new gadget has been designed to pick up on those subtle clues.

Dog speak
Dog is happy

DogStar Life CEO and co-founder Mike Karp told Yahoo News, “It basically combines an accelerometer and a gyroscope much like the Fitbit, but it’s picking up on the way the tail is moving.”

“The idea is to capitalize on all the research that’s been done in the last two to three years on what tail movement means, and translating that into emotion.”

The way the TailTalk device works is that it sends the data it collects during the day directly to a TailTalk app for iOS and Android via Bluetooth. The translated dog speak then appears in graphical form, allowing dog owners to note key events during that day along with the time, to keep track of what their beloved dog has been up to over that 24-hour period. Besides providing the information in graph form, the app also gives a happiness score for each day.

What is especially useful is that even when the dog owner is away from the dog, it is possible to keep up with the emotions their canine friend is feeling at the time. For instance, when out with a dog walker and not enjoying the experience, the dog speak is instantly sent to the owner.

Dog speak
Dog is stressed with a dog walker.

Using the dog speak translation, Karp went on to say that this information will then enable dog owners to ensure a more stimulating and happy day for their canines.

DogStar Life have launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in the hopes of raising $100,000 to develop the TailTalk dog speak technology further. At the time of writing, they have already raised $40,622 with 20 days left to go.

The video below speaks more about the TailTalk dog speak device and its applications.

[Images: Screen captures courtesy YouTube / DogStar Life]