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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

PuppyTweets, By Mattel. Sweet Tweet?

Struttin’ though Ollie’s (the discount store) would hardly be worth the trip if I didn’t take the time to check out the pet aisle!  Boy oh boy, I am so glad I did! I found a treasure trove of Oster products that I have yet to test, but I also came upon an item called PuppyTweets put out by Mattel. Intrigued, I had to take a closer look. Further intrigued I had to shell out the $7.99 for it. From what I have found on the internet this product sells for $12.99 and up.

What is a Puppy Tweet?

 If you have a twitter account you will recognize the word tweet, if not then you will have to open a twitter account. If you already have a twitter account I strongly suggest you log off of that account and create a new one with your dog’s name. It’s easier to upload the instructions and get started as well as manage the tweets from the dog.  


The instructions were easy and were specific as to what not to do until the program was downloaded to your computer, such as do not put the battery in the collar receiver until the program was installed.

I looked all over the package to see if the product could be used in different types of weather but I found no such information on the package or inside the instructions. If you let your pup out in the rain is it ruined? Who knows?

The puppy tweet works with~ PC: windows xp, windows vista, & windows 7

Macintosh: MacX10.5   

If you are not familiar with twitter, it is similar to other social media pages. Twitter is a status update for all your pals that just have to know your every move throughout the day and night. Unlike Face Book, another social media, you only have a certain number characters you can use to formulate what you want to tweet about. If you go over the allotted character number Twitter won’t post it and you have to become more creative to get your status out there.  Personally, I think people just like to say the words twitter and tweet!

 The PuppyTweets collar tweets you every time your dog moves or barks so you can see how active the dog is while you are away. You’ll have to keep checking your twitter account if you are really curious about you dog's movements. Should your nerves get frayed after reading multiple tweets, unless you can quickly excuse yourself to go home, it basically does you no good.  It is a fun toy to play with but if you really want to know what your dog is doing while you’re away look at the couch  when you arrive home.  Is it wet? Is it torn? Are there holes?  Is it still there? That’s a good indicator of trouble!

 The puppy tweet does not tell you what your dog is doing, only that the dog is moving so if you want to know for sure what’s going on, install a camera! 

Enter into Sally's world and you may find another possible use for PuppyTweets!

I put the PuppyTweets on my Golden Retriever Casey as he too old to care but is active enough to the point of getting up and down for meals, potty, and the occasional let me see where everyone is drill, but he is not so curious that he would try to figure out what this little blue ball was dangling from his collar and try to eat it. 

 Although all the comedic tweets I got were amusing, there is another use that I bet Mattel did not even think about when they made this product.  This use would only come to the mind of a pooch’s mother who worries about him.

 I have to admit, when I put this on Casey at around 6:30 pm, I was more interested in seeing it work through twitter and what the tweets would say, more of an amusing piece. I assumed that eventually the tweets would start to repeat themselves and not be as entertaining.  As the night progressed and I kept a close eye on the time line of tweets as it coincided with Casey’s movement. That is when this other use for PuppyTweets came to my mind. 

Casey was diagnosed with having a neurological problem when he began getting seizures about a year ago. Getting seizures at an old age for a dog is not usually a good sign. So when Casey went on medication for this, the seizures basically stopped for a couple of weeks at a time that I could see, but there were occasions he would have a seizure in the middle of night. The violent thrashing and thumping of his seizure activity in the bedroom were enough to wake even me, a very sound sleeper with only one good ear which is usually plugged up by my finger! This finger trick I learned when I had my first child, my non movement of rushing to the baby’s side when he cried in the middle of the night sent my hubby in to do the bottle feeding! (Sorry Jason, I know I scarred you for life with that one!) 

Once I saw the tweet timeline I thought I’d keep this on him during the night and see if there was any activity. If he is awake surely it will tweet and if there is a seizure, they are violent enough to trigger the PuppyTweet. So off to bed for me at 11 PM and I did not wake till I unplugged my ear at about 7 AM Sunday morning.

Sure enough the PuppyTweet had sent tweets at about 1 AM, till 2:30 AM then there was a rest period and it started again at around 4 AM to about 6 AM.   

Since I was sleeping how did I know the timing of the tweets were correct? Easy, hubby is not a sound sleeper so for him going to bed early and getting two or three hours of sleep means he will be up the rest of the evening playing poker on the computer! Surely not good for him, but good for me as I was able to ask him if he saw Casey while he was up and if the timeline coincided with Casey’s activity.

The timeline coincided but as hubby said, “Casey did not have a seizure, but he did his, I want to rub my itchy face all over your carpet because you gave me crappy food and now I have allergies!”  He squirmed several times during that time frame.

So if hubby had not been up to see all this activity and I received the tweets through the night but did not see Casey for myself  how  would I  really know if there was any activity or if  it  was a malfunction of the PuppyTweet, let alone know if Casey had a seizure?
 Well obviously I would not be 100% sure however if I saw several tweets in a row as I did the night that Casey and hubby were up together it would prompt me to take a closer look at Casey’s face for wetness (from foaming at the mouth) before rushing through my AM work routine and I might, as disgusting as it sounds, give a good sniff around him as sometimes with these seizures he wets himself.

            Surely this is not a fool proof way to dictate whether or not a seizure occurred, but when you have an old dog that normally sleeps through the night when no one is up, it might make you more aware of the possibility and look for the signs I mentioned above. 

Another good use that I am sure Mattel did not think about is if you have more than one dog and you are waking to a mess in the morning such as a pile of poop or torn up socks, the one wearing the PuppyTweets might just be the culprit!   

In conclusion, the premise of the PuppyTweets is cute and may entertain you, but at this time I see more cons than pros, unless of course you are inventive like me and find other uses for it!  Hmm, is your hubby wandering in the middle of the night? There’s a tweet!

          1) It’s a fun device for entertainment and does what it suggests it will do which is to send a cute little tweet when the dog moves, however it may also send a tweet or two when you take it off and lay it on the counter.

          2) The timeline of the tweets were pretty accurate.

           1) may not work out of 100 foot range from computer

          2)  Given the name of the product, I suspect it is made or geared toward puppies and if left on a puppy who is alone all day it may become dangerous.

          3) I found that the clip that goes on the dog’s collar is not sturdy which would further the chances of the device breaking free from the collar and being chewed, thus you have to worry about burns in the mouth and other internal organs if the puppy takes a bite out of the battery, or worse swallows the small round lithium battery.

          4) On the Mattel website under FAQ, a customer asked “Is PuppyTweets safe for my puppy?”  Mattel’s answer, “Yes.”   I would disagree with that blanket statement and I would not leave it on a rambunctious puppy or an over exuberant adult dog for the reasons stated above from the battery, or a obstruction of the bowel if the plastic casing is swallowed.  There should be a warning somewhere on the package of these hazards, but there is none that I saw.   The only warning I could find was proper disposal of the lithium battery.  The item is made in China, so maybe that is part of the problem as they may not be as strict as the US is regarding safety.  But still when you think Mattel, you think safety. 

            5) There is no mention of it being weather proof 

            6) There were two tweets while Casey was asleep near me so unless I missed him rolling over to his side, I am not sure why it went through.

           7) When you have a twitter account for your dog, you don’t know who will end up following the account. In one full day’s time, Casey had 6 twitter followers; some were a bit too explicit for a child’s eyes.   I actually had to block one person for sexual content! 

 I would love to give the PuppyTweets  at least two paws up for the entertainment value, but it is just too dangerous for the owner who uses it for entertainment and forgets to take it off a rambunctious dog. Since  the name suggests it is made for a puppy I can see big problems.   I might think about hooking it to my preschooler though! Or for others, maybe you suspect your hubby of sneaking out at night to cheat on you. Wow! Imagine what those tweets would say!

 Casey's opinion of the product, his tweets, and a sample of what the product looks like can be found on line in this youtube video.

Properly guided entertainment value : one  paw up.

Overall safety: Three paws and a tail down.

Here are just a few of the tweets you’ll see with this product: Feel free to tweet Casey!

Casey:  Please come home - using the table leg to scratch behind the ears is just not the same.

Casey  :Cujo wasn't bad, really. Just misunderstood. That, and the whole rabies thing.

Casey: Don't think of "Wet Dog Smell" as an assault on your senses, think of it as a acute test of your loyalty.

Casey:  Puppy Advice: Don't think of your new throw pillows as destroyed so much as shabby chic.

Casey:That's one more delivery guy who's now seriously considering going back to college and finishing his degree. My work is done.

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