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Top Tier K9 unveils virtual reality training program
Program enables shelters, dog trainers, and owners to practice training pets in the first virtual reality setting
In a recent company release,1 Top Tier K9 announced its launch of a first-of-its-kind virtual reality (VR) dog training program. The VR platform is set in a 3D-rendered Top Tier K9 training center.
Top Tier K9's programs teach people to become professional dog trainers and successful business owners. Top Tier K9 also trains working dogs for careers in the military, security, police, sports, service, and more. These trainings provide comprehensive obedience, tracking, nosework, and protection training.1
Top Tier K9 partnered with Saritasa, a custom software development and technology company, to build the VR platform. The program guides users through putting a collar and leash on a dog. The experience then trains users on the top 5 commands: sit, climb, down, come, and heel. It uses markers—yes and no—prior to rewarding or correcting the dog. The user must give commands in 1.3-second intervals to exploit the attention span/memory of a dog.1
Through these programs, Top Tier K9 noticed the biggest challenge with dog training does not come from the dogs, it is actually training the owners. When owners or handlers use the wrong training methods, they can enforce destructive behaviors or incorrect responses from the dog. As a result, a dog's behavioral patterns may become permanently affected. However, Top Tier K9 found that using only instructional videos for these programs seems to be ineffective at engaging dog trainers/owners without the hands-on experience.1 Top Tier K9 hopes that the new virtual reality training program offers a solution to these 2 challenges.
"My vision is for dog owners to adopt this tool to practice training a virtual dog before they work with their own dog," said Jeff Minder, founder of Top Tier K9, in the organizational release.1
Aaron Franko, vice president of immersive technology in Saritasa, said, “This new application of VR could potentially open doors for the technology's use in other avenues.”1
Top Tier K9 reported that 4.2 million dogs are killed in shelters every year, while over 2.6 million new puppies are sold.1 The No.1 reason dogs end up in shelters is due to poor behavior caused by a lack of training. Top Tier K9 believes that if a dog is trained properly, its chances of ending up in a shelter decrease significantly, thus it aims to limit the number of euthanized dogs in shelters with this new tool.
Top Tier K9 launches the world's first virtual reality dog training program. News release. Top Tier K9; Saritasa. June 2, 2022. Accessed June 3, 2022. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/top-tier-k9-launches-the-worlds-first-virtual-reality-dog-training-program-301560298.html#:~:text=Top%20Tier%20K9%20was%20the,world%20for%20Virus%20Detection%20Dogs.