Over 2M Whistle Days documented, and each one can tell a story


It’s been nearly a year since we shipped our first Whistle FIT device to our first Pet Insight Project participant, and since then we’ve collected millions of bits of data from 2,250,000 active days. That’s 2,250,000 days of dogs wearing Whistle devices, and recording 50 observations per second on 3 different accelerometer axes: up-down, side-to-side, forward-backward.

With 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute, we’re logging 12,960,000 bits of data per day per dog. That’s over 29 TRILLION accelerometer observations. And, if dogs live 7 years for every human year, that’s actually 203 Trillion dog accelerometer observations. Jokes aside, we’re dealing with a massive amount of data, no matter how you count your years. And with this massive amount of data, comes the challenge of interpreting and displaying in ways that are useful.

The value of this information is all about perspective. Understanding that your dog scratched for 2 minutes at 10 AM yesterday morning may not seem important at first glance, but when we zoom out and look at behavioral trends over months and months of data, we start to build an image of your dog’s habits and how they are changing.

Let’s take a look at an example. Here’s a day in the life of Vitas, a Carolina Dog mix from Oakland, CA:

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On this particular day, Vitas woke up at 6 AM and started winding down around 11 PM. Pretty simple, right? But “Awake” and “Asleep” certainly aren’t the only behaviors Whistle can track, so let’s take a look at a couple more charts showing different behavior:

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Green indicates “activity”. Around 8:30 AM, Vitas enjoyed several minutes of activity. Maybe he went for a walk with one of his owners?

Throughout the day, there were several short periods of activity - perhaps putzing around the house while his owners are away - and then after 7 PM, Vitas’ Whistle showed a great deal of activity, lining up with the return of his owners from work. Each of you reading this, having experienced your own “homecoming” event every day of your dog-owning life, understand that this heightened activity level coincides with the excitement of human and canine reuniting, and perhaps an evening walk.

Activity certainly shows us an interesting story, but there’s more:

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Pink indicates a meal. Vitas ate around 9:30 AM, and then again in the evening around 7 PM. Makes sense! Vitas was fed before his owners left for work, and again when his owners returned home for the day. The information is interesting, but it doesn’t tell us much about Vitas’ normal habits and behaviors. Let’s zoom out and look at a week of data:

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You might be able to guess what 6/23 and 6/24 represent. On Saturday, 6/23, Vitas was up early and enjoyed an extended period of activity from around 5:45 AM to about 8 AM. Sunday was another early day with plenty of activity throughout the whole day, enjoying the company of his owners. On 6/25 and 6/26 - Monday and Tuesday of the following week - Vitas’ life falls back into rhythm. An interesting slice of Vitas’ life, but let’s zoom out a bit more!

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The 30-day view gives us a pretty clear picture of Vitas’ normal waking, activity, and sleeping schedule. Can you guess what the fire-engine red indicates? Looks like Vitas’ Whistle ran out of battery and stopped transmitting data a few times during the time period. Considering the whole month, things appear to be pretty normal. There’s are a few extended walks here and there, some early mornings, but all-in-all no serious deviations from the everyday routine. Let’s zoom out even farther to see if we can’t spot some significant changes.

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What do you see? With this perspective, it’s much harder to examine daily details, but long-term trends come into focus. It’s quite clear that Vitas’ world changed later in the year; he started waking up much earlier and going to bed earlier. His regular weekday morning walk routine became less regimented, with activity sprinkled throughout the day. Can you guess what happened to Vitas?

Around that time, Vitas’ owners welcomed into the world a new member of the pack: a baby girl. And to help lighten the load for the new parents, Vitas went to stay with grandparents and adapted to an entirely new schedule.

It’s easy to forget about long-term trends when we are living day-to-day, but accumulating data and visualizing it in the right way helps us learn a little more about the lives of our pets. Vitas’ story is a good example of how the behavior information detected as part of Pet Insight Project will allow pet owners and caregivers to examine and understand their pets habits and well-being in a whole new way.