I Set Up A Secret Camera To Spy On My Dog And See What She Does All Day While I’m At Work

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Senior Editor of Branded Content at Wild Sky Media. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Woman's World. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law & Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

About a month ago, my boyfriend and I moved from our apartment in his parents’ basement in Brooklyn to our own place in Queens.

We brought our 2-year-old dog, Bella, with us. We knew the move would be hard on Bella, but we had no idea just how difficult it would be.

Bella has had severe separation anxiety ever since we adopted her last year, and it’s typically worse when her environment changes.

For the first few weeks after bringing Bella home, she became destructive anytime we left her alone. She ate shoes, scratched at the door, chewed up blankets, and peed and pooped everywhere.

Eventually, she got used to living with us, and she calmed down quite a bit. When we moved, she started acting up again. This time, she wasn’t destructive, but she barked nonstop for hours on end.

Our neighbors, who work from home, were immediately frustrated. Multiple people in our building called our super, who let us know that Bella’s barking was problematic.

We started looking into every option we could think of: doggy day care, dog sitters, safe bark collars, homeopathic medications, veterinarian-prescribed medications, and behavioral training.

We bought everything we could, contacted our trainer, and made an appointment with the vet. We also got a Furbo dog camera so that we could keep an eye Bella while we were gone.

What Is Furbo?

furbo design
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Furbo is a treat-tossing, two-way audio, full HD Wi-Fi camera designed for dogs and their owners.

Their product description on Amazon reads:

With input from over 5,000 vets, professional dog trainers and dog parents, Furbo Dog Camera’s features are designed specifically for dogs. See and interact with your dog from anywhere and anytime. You’ll never miss a moment of your dog’s day!

  • Fun TREAT TOSSING: TOSS a treat to your dogs via the free Furbo iOS/Android app. Fill it with over 100 pieces of your dogs’ favorite treats & play a game of catch.
  • Adjustable Barking Alert & 2-Way Audio: No more complaints from neighbors! Furbo can detect your dog barking. You can adjust the sensitivity of the barking sensor. 
  • 1080p HD Camera & Night Vision: Live stream video to monitor your pet with a 160° wide-angle, 4x zoom day & night.

What Does Furbo Help With?

furbo separation anxiety
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

We primarily got Furbo to help with Bella’s separation anxiety and barking, but it’s easy to see how it could help with other issues as well.

Furbo can help with a variety of problems, including separation anxiety, excessive barking, destructive behaviors, and surgery recovery.

Even if you’re just a dog owner who misses their dog during the day, Furbo can help you keep an eye on your pup when you can’t be home.

How Does Furbo Work?

how furbo works
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Furbo has three primary functions: tossing treats, two-way audio, and one-way video.

You can watch your dog in real time at any time, through the iOS or Android app.

The two-way audio allows you to hear your dog if they’re whining or barking, or if there are any other noises going on in your house or apartment. You can also talk to your dog through the app to comfort them or give them commands.

If you want to reward your pet for good behavior, you can toss them some treats through the app.

My Experience With Furbo

bella sleeping
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Bella is normally a really chill, relaxed dog, but she gets so nervous and worked up when my boyfriend and I leave her alone.

Each morning, when we put our coats on, her entire body would start shaking, and she’d follow us around, trying to get us to stay.

As soon as we closed the apartment door, she would start barking as loudly as possible, not stopping for hours.

This was the situation — until we got Furbo.

Setting Up Furbo

setting up furbo
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

One of the great things about Furbo is it’s really simple to set up.

It just takes three steps: “1) plug in to a power outlet using its USB cord 2) download the Furbo app 3) connect to your home wifi.”

And it really was just that easy.

Testing Out Furbo

testing furbo
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

My boyfriend and I set up the camera one night while we were home, just to see how it worked and how Bella reacted to it.

Bella was immediately intrigued by what she quickly realized was a magical treat machine.

She sniffed at it for minutes on end, trying to figure out how to get the treats out of the machine, but she eventually gave up and just stared at it, hoping treats would show up to reward her patience.

Leaving Bella Alone With Furbo

furbo drinks
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

My friend was staying with us for the first few days of trying out Furbo, so Bella wasn’t alone at all during the day.

To get Bella used to being alone again, my friend and I went to a bar down the block for drinks, leaving the Furbo set up.

Bella didn’t start barking until we’d been gone for about 10 minutes, and at that point “barking alerts” started popping up on my phone.

barking alerts
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Eventually, Bella settled down and stopped barking.

After being out for just over an hour, my friend and I returned home.

When my friend left a few days later, Bella had a better understanding of how Furbo worked, and so did I.

Using Furbo Full-Time

furbo couch
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

It’s now been about two weeks since we got the Furbo, and we’ve been using it full-time.

Every morning, before we leave the house, we turn on the machine and get it set up to watch Bella.

furbo obsessed
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

I instantly became obsessed with watching Bella while I wasn’t home. It’s so nice to see when she was just relaxing at home and not freaking out that we weren’t there.

Every so often, my boyfriend will toss Bella a few tiny training treats and say “hi” to her to remind her that she isn’t alone.

bella chair
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Another thing that’s been great is watching how Bella interacts with our dog walkers.

We use an app to hire a dog walker each day, but we usually don’t get the same person, so Bella is constantly meeting new people without us.

It’s great to see the dog walkers when they get to our apartment and see how they treat Bella each day.

Furbo And Bella's Separation Anxiety

bella napping
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Bella’s barking and separation anxiety behavior has definitely improved since we moved in.

It’s hard to say exactly what helped, but I think it’s a combination of a lot of things.

In addition to getting the Furbo, we also brought Bella to see the vet and talked more to our trainer.

bella pills
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

We ordered Bella some homeopathic treats, and also got her some prescription medication to help with her underlying anxiety issues.

On top of that, we also got an ultrasonic bark collar for Bella to discourage her from barking. (The collar is totally safe and humane, and just uses a high-pitched tone to deter dogs from barking excessively.)

As soon as Bella started reacting to the collar, we stopped putting it around her neck and instead just placed it by our door to keep her from barking at people walking through the building.

My Furbo Review

furbo review
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Would I use Furbo again? Yes. I’ve used it every single day since setting it up, and I don’t plan to stop using it anytime soon.

Would I recommend Furbo to a friend? Absolutely. Furbo is a bit expensive, but if you consider what you’re getting, it’s definitely worth it. Furbo has helped us avoid putting Bella in a doggy day care for $30 each day, so in the end, it definitely pays off.

If you’d love to be able to interact with your dog even when you’re not home, please SHARE this article with your friends!