Pavlov’s tweet
March 13, 2012 5:30 AM   Subscribe

Nat Morris built a machine that gives his dog a treat and takes photos when people tweet to @FeedToby.

“As a fail safe to make sure the feeder doesn’t release too much food, Toby can only be fed once every 15 minutes and only between 9 am and 9 pm GMT.”

Photo collage of Toby.

[via]
posted by quin (42 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want one
posted by Flood at 5:46 AM on March 13, 2012


On the Internet, nobody knows you are tweeting about a dog's lunch.
posted by DU at 5:49 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Somewhere out there a developer is working on a web application that uses Amazon's Mechanical Turk to get people to create these tweets for ¢10 each. Maybe he will even call it Turks 4 Toby.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:54 AM on March 13, 2012


That's cute, but I want to send a tweet to Toby via @WhoWantsToGoForAWalk?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:58 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now this with fetch would be even cooler. Although there's logistical issues. Is the dog outside? How do I reset the mechanism, etc.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:05 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's cute, but I want to send a tweet to Toby via @WhoWantsToGoForAWalk?

I would settle for @whosagooddogyouragooddog. Maybe it could be hooked up to a speaker or something? I'll leave that to the experts; I'm just responsible for identifying good dogs.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:09 AM on March 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


The Internet: Creating Obese Pets Since 2012
posted by VicNebulous at 6:10 AM on March 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


Fetch is a solved problem.
posted by thelonius at 6:12 AM on March 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


On the Internet, nobody knows you are tweeting about a dog's lunch.
posted by Fizz at 6:18 AM on March 13, 2012


In Krakow there is a fire breathing dragon, Smok, that responds to being texted
posted by edgeways at 6:19 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Laugh now, but just wait 'til this becomes standard cubicle equipment and a formal part of your benefits package.
posted by delfin at 6:21 AM on March 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


Nat's dog feeding twitter device + Internet Meme = Fat Toby.
posted by crunchland at 6:30 AM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


For old-school Pavlovian conditioning, he needs to replace that beep with a bell.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:33 AM on March 13, 2012


I hope the dog still gets a chance to take a midday nap, gaze out a window, and all those other doggy things, instead of being trained to loiter by the treat machine all day.
posted by dywypi at 6:58 AM on March 13, 2012


"The Internet: Creating Obese Pets Since 2012"

Actually if you watch the video it looks like the "treats" are just dry dog food. I would imagine that you could just put the total amount of food you wanted him to have once a day in the hopper assuming the tweet volume is high enough.

OP should probably not have used the word treat specifically to avoid curmudgeonly responses like yours.
posted by sourbrew at 6:59 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm waiting for the pic where there's a pile of treats lying there, and Toby is just lying there looking at them.

If we had audio, we'd hear "boof."
posted by eriko at 7:10 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


OP should probably not have used the word treat specifically to avoid curmudgeonly responses like yours.

Uh, not really curmudgeonly. It's a fair question what limits the number of treats the dog gets, especially since this thing is going viral.
posted by jayder at 7:18 AM on March 13, 2012


If our youngest cat gets wind of this....
posted by Kitteh at 7:18 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Uh, not really curmudgeonly. It's a fair question what limits the number of treats the dog gets, especially since this thing is going viral."

If you watch the video it's pretty clearly about a cup of dog food. Unless the owner is going home and refilling it regularly it's pretty obvious that the dog is not being overfed.

Do you really think someone who loves their pet as much as this guy clearly does would go out of the way to harm their animal.

And it is definitely curmudgeonly. If your response to something this life affirming and capricious is to immediately criticize it you should go play with some small children, or finger paint, or something to rediscover the part of you that takes pleasure in life.
posted by sourbrew at 7:23 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Please don't tell my dog...he already begs for treats. And he has all those friends in the neighborhood that he would get to tweet him just because. Cute dogs should not be posted on the internet, just leads to trouble...
posted by bmorrison at 7:25 AM on March 13, 2012


Looks like Toby's gotten 20 tweets in the past hour and maybe 60 in the past day. Did Pavlov ever say anything about overconditioning?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:30 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If our youngest cat gets wind of this....
posted by Kitteh at 9:18 on March 13


Any self respecting cat would break open the feeder and eat it all at once, then go puke it up somewhere.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:31 AM on March 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


So who's *really* being conditioned...Toby or twitter followers? My bet is on the latter...
posted by bmorrison at 7:32 AM on March 13, 2012


And it is definitely curmudgeonly. If your response to something this life affirming and capricious is to immediately criticize it you should go play with some small children, or finger paint, or something to rediscover the part of you that takes pleasure in life.

Whoa, not so fast. I interpreted the "obese pets" thing as a joke, anyway, but one can love giving one's dogs treats and take great pleasure in life and still wonder how you keep a dog from getting fat from constant treats. If anyone needs to step away from the computer it's the person who flies off on a little "reconnect with life's pleasures" rant at someone's offhand Internet comment.
posted by jayder at 7:47 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if Toby has separation anxiety, in which case giving distributed treats throughout the day can relieve anxiety symptoms.

and still wonder how you keep a dog from getting fat from constant treats

(1) The treats aren't 'constant.' They are limited.
(2) There is an assumption here that these treats are in addition to their regular meal. When I am doing obedience training with my dog or taking him somewhere stressful, I give him smaller meals to make up for the number of treats he will be getting.
posted by muddgirl at 7:55 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wasn't suggesting you step away from the computer, I was saying that if your first thought when you are presented with something this awesome is to cirticize it then you clearly aren't in touch with your inner child.

It's unadulterated awesome as it's viral situation attests to. If you actually watch the video the "treats" are just pellets of dried dog food, my guess is that it's his daily food as it looks like about a cup of food which is what a dog his size should eat.

If you had looked at the twitter you would see that it is periodically turned off and that the owner does things like take him for runs.

Anyone who goes to the trouble to do something like this for their pet loves their pet an extraordinary amount, and it's just baffling to me that someone would see that affection and choose to criticize it without apparently looking into it at all.
posted by sourbrew at 7:58 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I probably shouldn't have sent my husband this video, but I did.

I don't know which is going to come first @FeedAnObeseCat or @FeedTheBaby, but one of them is bound to happen. And it's my own fault.
posted by sonika at 8:03 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, metafilter. Where ridiculous sniffy little pedantic fights can even ruin happy puppy interactions.
posted by elizardbits at 8:23 AM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


You realize that this is how dog religions start.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:29 AM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ah, metafilter. Where ridiculous sniffy little pedantic fights can even ruin happy puppy interactions.

So true. And, for the record, my comment was meant in jest. You know, fun? Oh, and I also own two dogs, and have had dogs my entire life. If I could rig up something similar (albeit just for my own amusement), it would surely make my days toiling away in the office -- away from my beloved canines -- infinitely more enjoyable.
posted by VicNebulous at 8:37 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


And, for the record, my comment was meant in jest.

I should check my sarcasm detector. As soon as I saw the post I knew there would be someone in thread complaining about making the dog fat, and I guess I was just looking for it because I knew it would be there.
posted by sourbrew at 8:41 AM on March 13, 2012


In the future, we will all eat crowd-sourced meals from the floor.
posted by user92371 at 8:50 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I just have a hard time joking around with the idea that eating for pleasure, in humans or in dogs, magically leads to obesity, because a lot of people really do believe that. I guess I'm susceptible to obesity Poes.
posted by muddgirl at 8:51 AM on March 13, 2012


Ultimate dog tease.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:13 AM on March 13, 2012


Hook up a sarcasm detector on MetaFilter to a dog treat dispenser and poof! Fat dog.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:20 AM on March 13, 2012


This is really bad conditioning for the dog. Nothing Toby can do effects whether he gets treats or not, so he just has to sit by the machine and wait. If you're training Toby to watch a machine that gives out treats, well done but I bet if you did it long term Toby would become a bit asocial and would tend to hang out near the machine even when it was off.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:26 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now all I need is a mechanical arm and a digital recording of me talking and a Twitter interface and I would have @PetMrJ for while I was at work. AWESOME! THE FUTURE IS AWESOME! Forget the personal jet packs and flying cars. Finally a way technology could give my cat the amount of attention he thinks he is entitled too!
posted by Samizdata at 11:44 AM on March 13, 2012


This is really bad conditioning for the dog. Nothing Toby can do effects whether he gets treats or not

Way to be joyless.

:)
posted by jayder at 1:42 PM on March 13, 2012


Ugh. Just another attempt at making something something "viral". Congratulations, dude. Now take down the contraption, give Toby some kibble, and go do something constructive. You know, like watching viral videos and making meaningless comments on MetaFilter.

you're welcome
posted by wallabear at 7:01 PM on March 13, 2012


Way to be joyless.

ahem, doctor_negative
posted by doctor_negative at 10:37 PM on March 13, 2012


Any self respecting cat would break open the feeder and eat it all at once, then go puke it up somewhere.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:31 AM on March 13 [11 favorites +] [!]


Not just somewhere. But somewhere proper. Like on your pillow or on that new print laying your dining room table that you were going to frame when you got home.
posted by MikeHoegeman at 11:59 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"If you're training Toby to watch a machine that gives out treats, well done but I bet if you did it long term Toby would become a bit asocial and would tend to hang out near the machine even when it was off."

Just like a slot machine gambler.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:26 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


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