Give the Dog a Drone

vivadmin/ September 10, 2015/ News

by Andrew Wilkinson

An innovative British pet rescue centre owner has come up with an efficient new way of tiring out the dogs that his centre is charged with caring for.

With as many as 35 dogs to exercise three times a day, Brian Wheelhouse from Whitehall Dog Rescue in Yorkshire has purchased a drone for the dogs to chase.

Mr Wheelhouse , 54, bought the flying aircraft from China after seeing drones on a television programme.Mr Wheelhouse, who is the chairman trustee of the rescue centre charity, saved up to buy the drone himself, rather than using rescue centre funds.

Wheelhouse introduced the drone to the rescue centre as a way of tiring out energetic breeds who were still “hyper” when returning to their kennels for the day. “We are constantly looking at ways to tire out our high activity dogs including our border collie Sam” Mr Wheelhouse added.

Brian Wheelhouse with his drone. SOURCE

Brian Wheelhouse with his drone. SOURCE

Mr Wheelhouse told Laura Drysdale from the Yorkshire Post that the device “actually adds to our workload” as a member of staff must be present to “monitor the drone.”

The dogs are let into a field to chase the drone by themselves or in small groups, as well as their three daily walks.“It is not a way of replacing walks, it is in addition to them. The drone is like a never ending Frisbee in the sky for them. We end up with dogs more fulfilled because they have had more mental stimulation.”

Some critics say it is frustrating for the dog because it can never grab hold of it, but dogs chase squirrels that they can never catch and they still enjoy the chase.“It is a good way of socialising some of the dogs. “You might have a dog that is a little bit funny with other dogs but because it’s attention is away from the other dogs and instead on the drone, it starts to get more comfortable being around others.”

Eighteen of the rescue dogs chase the radio-operated drones, which have adjustable speed settings, in a controlled environment; the drones land and take off in a fenced in area where the dogs can’t reach them. “The propellers are going round at a very fast speed so we have to stop the dogs getting hold of the drones or they’d have their noses off. It is definitely something that needs a lot of thought and care.”

The centre takes in its animals from dog compounds that house strays and unwanted dogs that are either collected by wardens or handed in to the police, before they are put to sleep.