Have you ever come home to find your pet with that guilty look on their face? For us, that means our Great Dane decided to get on the couch and shed all over it! For you, that might mean a new puppy, keeping tabs on your pet’s health, or a cat that needs extra attention. Earlier this year, we reviewed a bunch of different pet cameras and decided that the Furbo was one of the best. In this hands-on unboxing and review of the Furbo pet camera, we unbox it and hook it up to our WiFi. Join us as we dig into its app features, live HD camera, durability, and even its treat-tossing capability.
Unboxing the Furbo
The Furbo arrived in a simple cardboard box with the signature yellow color of the Furbo brand. Besides the pet camera itself, the box includes a manual, power cord with prongs, and a sample of oneof the many types of treats the Furbo can toss. From there, we followed along with the easy-to-use instructions and plugged it in. We downloaded the app, created an account, and we were on our way! Just so you know – there’s no monthly fee or extra cost with the Furbo. It all runs on WiFi and your you can use it on-the-go whenever you have phone service. Creating the account only requires an email and password. The best part about the process? Multiple people can use the login information to use the device.
The device itself is very sturdy and seems really durable. We had it accidentally fall down once and it was fine. The sleek white outer shell and the wood-grained top of it look good together and look great on our shelf, too! The Furbo also has optional adhesive on the bottom to plant itself in place.
How to Set Up the Furbo
It took about 5 minutes for the device to download all of the latest updates. After that, the app immediately hooked in to our WiFi and we could see the advertised 160° view. It was full HD video, too! Unlike a lot of other pet cameras on the market, all of the Furbo’s advertised features held true. We made sure to allow notifications on our phones during the setup process and as soon as the device was on, we were getting “Person Alerts.” Person alerts on the Furbo let you know when someone bigger than a dog or cat is in your home. This means that it works great as a home security camera, too! More on that later.
Get Notified When Your Dog Barks
The person notifications were neat but we were really concerned about our big Great Dane. He’s really needy (probably similar to your pet) and we just moved from a large house with a yard in a rural area to a metropolitan city apartment. We also have two very curious cats. Needless to say, it’s taking him and the cats some getting used to. We didn’t want to be those new neighbors with a yapping dog all day! It also doesn’t help that his big-dog bark sounds like thunder. This is why the barking notification of the Furbo app was one of the main selling points for us.
After it was all set up, we left the apartment and went out to the grocery store. Of course, we first just spied on our dog to see if he was doing anything interesting. About thirty minutes later, we each got a notification that our dog was “Getting Active.” This was an alert that I was unaware of for the Furbo. Let’s pause here and go over the three Furbo alerts:
- Person Alerts – Tell you when a person is currently on the camera
- Bark Alerts – Tell you when your dog barks
- Activity Alerts – A little more vague than the other two, but they let you know when there is something going on back at home
Soon, we got our first bark alert. Two dogs live across the hall and our Great Dane wanted to chime in with his opinion. We saw him there front-and-center barking up a storm. This meant that it was the first time to use the two-way microphone on the device.
Talking to Your Dog While Your Away
Let’s go through the flow of the Furbo once more. Whenever your dog barks, you get an alert. You click the alert on your phone or navigate to the app to see the live feed of what’s going on back at home. Remember, you not only get video but audio, too. On the camera livestream on your phone, you can click a microphone button and talk right to your dog. When our dog was barking while we’re out, we talked to him and told him to get on his bed. Sure enough – he did! Not after tilting his head a bunch at the Furbo, though. It was really neat to see that we had some sort of control while we were out! The volume of the microphone and speaker is adjustable on the app and device, too.
Video Quality and Network Requirements of the Furbo
At 1080p HD, the video livestream is great. Your internet upload speed is really the only thing you need to worry about. Ours was under 1MB when first installed and somehow the app still worked! To be safe I would say any upload speed at 2MB+ and you will be good to go! As for watching the livestream, an LTE or WiFi connection of course works best. Even if you are halfway around the world, all you need is the app with a good phone connection to use the Furbo.
Tossing a Treat From Your Phone
The Furbo box includes a little bag of treats that you add to the reservoir inside the device. Whenever you flick a little treat picture on the live camera feed, the Furbo shoots out a treat to your pet. This means you can reward good behavior on-the-go! We used this feature with our Great Dane to reward him for getting off the couch. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s getting better.
One thing we were concerned with was our big dog’s realization that there are treats inside of this little shiny device. Instead of risking our dog tearing into the Furbo with his teeth, we elevated it a bit to where he can’t get to it. It has worked well so far!
Training With Positive Reinforcement
One of Furbo’s many claims-to-fame is its ability to train through positive reinforcement. Unlike disciplining bad behavior, positive reinforcement rewards good behaviors. If you notice that your usually “chatty” dog is being exceptionally quiet – consider using the app to toss a treat! Furbo makes a clicking sound before tossing the treat. The idea is that your dog will associate the clicking noise with a treat and – hopefully – associate that with good behavior and eventually stop barking. Paired with the barking detector, the Furbo’s treat tossing capability can really help with apartment dogs that bark all the time when you’re gone!
Extra Features of the Furbo Pet Camera
Other than the live camera and treat-tossing features, the Furbo has a few more neat extras. Let’s check them out!
Blue and Yellow Lights
While the Furbo pet camera can of course be used for cats with all the major features, the Furbo has one specific dog monitoring camera feature. The front of the Furbo has an indicator light that turns blue when you open the app. When you are aren’t on the app, the light is yellow. Furbo chose these colors because dogs can see them well. The idea is that your dog will associate the blue light with your voice and possibly come say hello when you open the app.
The Furbo comes with optional adhesive to make sure it stays sturdy on a coffee table or really any piece of furniture. We found that it the device felt heavy-duty and the adhesive was really easy to use.
Activity Alerts and Dog Selfies
The Furbo uses AI to detect noises to alert if your dog is possibly playing around so you can catch them in action while you’re gone. It also has a feature within the camera to detect your dog’s face! Kind of like Snapchat, the Furbo pet camera can detect your dog’s face looking at it. The Furbo then knows to snap a picture and will send you a pet selfie!
Using a Pet Camera as a Security Camera
With all of its features and especially its “Person Detector” notifications, the Furbo works well as a security camera, too. Initially we were going to buy another camera just for security purposes. However, the Furbo’s wide field of view, notifications, and two-way audio meant that it’s serving two purposes now. Unless you have some sort of integration with several cameras around your house, I don’t see why you wouldn’t just get a pet camera and call it a day!
Downsides of the Furbo
The only real downside we noticed is the frequency of notifications. If we did not unplug it every time we got home, the Furbo kept giving us notifications while we were at home. To stop this from happening, you have the option to go in to the app and turn off the camera. That’s great – but we did not want to have to do that or unplug the device every time we left.
Another important thing to note – the alerts will eventually be a premium only option. There is no date or cost set for these features yet. Furbo is letting everyone enjoy these features for free right now.
To stop these notifications, we are currently in the process of setting up an integration with a site called If This Then That. It’s also an app. We use this app for all sorts of things but we creatively set it up to work with our TP Link Smart Plug. We plugged the smart plug into the wall and plugged the Furbo into it. Using the If This Then That app, I found an existing option to turn off the plug when I leave the house. That’s great for a single-person household! However, if you have multiple people that want to use the app like we do – then you have to go further with another solution. I will save that for another blog post and link it here in the near future. Or, if you have any other ideas – feel free to leave a comment below!
Final Thoughts About the Furbo
When comparing the Furbo to most other pet cameras on the market, it’s pretty much at the top. After all it is the best-selling pet camera on Amazon. The only one that really rivals it currently is the Petcube Bites that integrates with Amazon Alexa. Alternatively, another competitor – also from Petcube – is the Petcube Play Pet Camera. It doesn’t toss treats, but it has a laser pointer and is geared more toward cats.
Getting back to the Furbo – we love it! We use it daily. Even though our dog is getting better about barking when we’re gone and staying off our couch, it’s good to have it there for security reasons and peace of mind. I won’t lie – it’s also fun to talk to your dog while you’re at dinner, too. Just ignore the looks you might get from other patrons! Thanks for reading!