I am so lucky to have a new puppy in my life, Juno. Juno is a typical amazing and exhausting puppy in every way, but she has some anxiety surrounding being left alone.
As with any client who has a dog with separation anxiety or isolation distress, I recommend watching their dog remotely to see what is happening while they are away.
I also recommend using a remote treat dispenser (ideally with camera) to aid in training for longer durations of being left alone.
So began my search for the perfect treat dispenser and camera combo.
I live in New Zealand, and sometimes products are difficult to find locally. I often need to order from Amazon. The good side of ordering online is that the product is delivered to my front door! Unfortunately, post service to New Zealand can take a while, and I don’t get to see the product before I buy it.
The reviews suggested that the Petzi was mostly on par with the PetCube and Furbo, but with a poorer quality camera.
But, for the price difference (I paid about $90 USD plus tax and shipping) compared to the other options that were in the $200 range, I figured I could live with the grainy picture. I see now, after two weeks, it has actually come down in price to roughly $70 USD.
I learned, again, you get what you pay for.
What I Didn’t Like About the Petzi Pet Cam and Treat Dispenser
Problem 1: Noisy Chimes
So, the mechanics were a bit noisy, but I could live with that. In fact, that noise would eventually predict a treat, and become a welcomed sound for Juno!
The problem I had with this product, however, is that every time you log in to the camera via the app on your phone, the Petzi turns on with a very loud and very unnecessary chime! If my dog is sleeping peacefully, the last thing I want to do is wake her.
Problem 2: Slow to Dispense Treats
I wanted to have a combination of a treat dispenser and camera to help with Juno’s training.
We have been working through some isolation anxiety, and this feature could really benefit our training quite a lot.
With a treat dispenser, it allows me to reward her for being calm while I am not in the room, and the camera feature also allows me to see what she is doing, allowing me to reward her at the correct moment.
However, with the Petzi, by the time I pressed the button on my phone app to release a treat, it took nearly 15-20 seconds to dispense.
WAY too long!
I could live with 3-4 seconds, but by the time the reward is dispensed, the moment I want to reward is long gone. Useless!
3. Clunky and Unreliable Treat Dispensing
The Petzi drops a treat into a chamber and then fling it out with a spring.
Not only was this a long and noisy process, but if the treats were too small, it would shoot out 20 treats easily and with an alarming force.
If they were big enough to shoot out one, or maybe two, they often got stuck.
Not only would this cause frustration, but it would mean I wouldn’t be able to dispense any more treats until I was home to fix the problem.
4. Serious Video Lag
I was fine with the grainy quality of the camera, I knew what I was in for when I purchased the product. However, it turned out that there was a 6-7 second (maybe even longer) delay from real time.
This means, for training purposes, you could again be rewarding the incorrect moment or behavior. This doesn’t work for me.
5. Extra Short Power Cord
For my set-up, I ended up needing extension cords. The idea is to fix this item to a wall or post, but I needed it placed at the front of Juno’s kennel.
This didn’t work well, and it would have been great to have the option for batteries. Not a deal breaker, but just one more thing that wasn’t working well for me.
What I Like About the Petzi Pet Cam and Treat Dispenser
There are a few pros to this product. One was that it was easy to load and easy set up.
I do also really like the option to be able to attach this to a wall. This would be great down the road when Juno is not needing to be left in her kennel while I am out. Juno is only 15 weeks old, and left to her own devices, would likely chew everything I own.
I also really liked the app.
There were options to talk, listen, record, as well as join a community of other Petzi users if you are so inclined. It has a user-friendly interface, and I think that’s an important quality.
Needless to say, I am not keeping the Petzi, and instead bought an EZVIZ camera (no treat dispensing option). But I am happy with the switch, regardless.
Erin is currently from Alberta, Canada where she works as a canine behaviour consultant. Erin is a CDBC and CPDT-KA, working with all types of dogs with all types of training needs. She has a MSc in Anthrozoology (the study of human and non-human interactions), and is a PhD candidate in the same field. Erin will be relocating to Christchurch, New Zealand at the end of 2018.