Traditional rehoming kennels pose major welfare challenges to the welfare of dogs: the constraining nature of kennels means that dogs lack stimulation and control most of the time; the limited availability of care staff and the subtle nature of welfare indicators mean that welfare problems may go undetected. These factors can cause or exacerbate welfare and behavioural problems, particularly in dogs who might already have a background of neglect and abuse, making rehabilitation and rehoming more difficult.
This project aims at eliciting requirements to inform the design and implementation of smart kennels, by systematically identifying opportunities, needs and constraints for the animal-centred design and development of such environments.
However, pervasive sensor systems coupled with novel interactive technologies allow us to envision smart kennels capable of monitoring and responding to the needs of resident dogs. Such smart kennels have the potential of improving welfare for kennelled dogs by: providing care staff with on-going information about the dogs thus aiding welfare assessment; providing a stimulating and fulfilling environment for the dogs thus contributing to positive mood states and resilience; encouraging traits and behaviours which are desirable to prospective owners thus expediting the dogs’ rehoming.
This project aims to identify requirements for the canine-centred design and implementation of smart kennels. The project is funded by DogsTrust, UK’s largest canine welfare charity and is being conducted at their newest Rehoming Centre in Loughborough.