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A Review of Whistle, the Fitbit for Your Dog

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Welcome to Esther Tested, where former pro surfer and Racked SF associate editor Esther Hahn shares her best tips for staying cute, even in the harsh realities of Bay Area outdoor life.

Australian Cattle Dog Penelope surveys the beach at Fort Funston

In a dog-loving town like San Fran, we don't kid around with the health and wellness of our four-legged friends. And without large backyards in a size-challenged space, we have to rely on walks and the bounty of local parks and trails for our pooches to get in that necessary exercise. But do any of us really know how much activity is needed for their optimal health and happiness? For those curious to find out, there's Whistle ($129.95), a Fitbit for dogs.

I used the dog-specific wearable tech to track my pup's activity and to hold myself accountable (as her chief caretaker) to a set goal every day. It was easy to attach and to sync with my phone's bluetooth and my home's internet wireless connection. And the charge on the device typically lasted for 8 days. The only drawback that I experienced was that the Whistle required an internet connection to send data to my phone (which meant not receiving any insight into my dog's activity while hiking in Big Sur for a weekend).

After only a few hours, I was totally addicted. It was like a game but with a tangible outcome: a fit dog. Each day was a challenge to find a doggy adventure to explore—and to rack up the activity minutes. Suddenly the drive out to Fort Funston was doable because the I carved out the time and planned ahead so I could win at my game. And the biggest kicker: my own lifestyle became healthier as I focused on my dog's. Her Whistle doubled as my activity tracker, as well, and without even trying, I lost weight while enjoying the great outdoors.

Of course, many owners depend on others to exercise their dogs. The Whistle is clutch for remotely monitoring your dog's activity. And although that means you're not reaping the same health benefits, it does give you peace of mind or insight into your dog's day when you're not around. And the weekly reports that hit your inbox at the end of the week are handy tools to spot inconsistencies in your dog's routine.

Overall, my experience with the Whistle was fun, engaging, and enlightening. After a few weeks of use, I learned that my 1-year-old, high-energy Australian Cattle Dog needs about 120 minutes of activity per day to be happy and relaxed and ready for bed. That also made me realize that I, too, need that much time outdoors and on my feet to feel refreshed and mentally and physically happy. And whether rain or shine, Whistle and my dog know no difference thus making our new routine a consistent change for our shared optimal health.
· Now Your Dog Can Have Its Own Fitbit-Style Wearable Tech [Racked SF]
· All Esther Tested posts [Racked SF]