AI and Dogs

by | Feb 8, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence

Today, a slightly different topic: AI and dogs (or pets, for that matter). As an owner of a dog for a good 10 years, I am always looking for interesting ways to use AI for our dog (and his owner). And there is more than you might think.

The first application came through my hobby , photography. Using AI to create this slightly different portrait of our dog. Using the Style Transfer technology from

For the AI insiders, Style Transfer can separate the content and style of an image. You can take the content of one image, the style of another, and merge them into a new image. This AI technique was developed in 2015 by my friends Mathias Bethge, Alexander Ecker and Leon Gatys in Tübingen (see paper ). Try it out.

In the meantime, this technology can be found in many photo applications. Here is another example, this time created with the help of Topaz Labs AI Remix (and a little Photoshop) on my computer 

Of course this is by no means limited to dogs

So what else can AI do for dogs (or better, for their owners)?

It can determine whether the dog is happy or sad. In fact, AI can help you understand your dog’s emotions.

AI is already pretty good at recognizing human emotions. Human faces, for example, tell us a lot about what someone is feeling. The question is whether the same facial recognition technology can be used to interpret the emotions of animals.

A team at the University of Melbourne’s School of Computing and Information Systems has been looking at this question and has developed an AI system for recognizing emotions in pets (source). The AI recognizes the dog’s breed and emotions . These are recognized by certain facial features associated with each emotion, which the AI has learned from thousands of examples. For example, if a dog narrows its eyes and mouth while changing the position of its ears in a characteristic way, it is a sign that it is afraid.

 The scientists have also developed an APP (IOS and Android) so we can try this with our pets: Happy Pets.

We have a Newfoundland mix and she recently got a new toy from friends of ours. It was a great opportunity to try out the Happy Pets app.

I took some pictures and as you can see, the APP correctly identified the breed (since it’s a mix, I was surprised by the accuracy). In addition, the AI also correctly detected the emotions: 99% happy. My wife is the expert in the house when it comes to our dog and she confirmed the results ;-).

The dog was clearly happy with the new toy.

 What about other situations?

Another picture, this time a very relaxed dog at the top of our stairs. Again, the AI results are very accurate: 72% neutral and 28% happy result in a very relaxed dog.


And a picture at the beach, where the dog was allowed to romp without a leash – equally good results (confirmed by my wife): 100% happy.

But of course the dog is not always happy. Here a picture from the beach trip where our dog was not amused as we put her on the leash. 


Pretty impressive results, I think, considering the different situations.

But you can try it out for yourself.

What else can AI do for dog owners?

Train dogs!

At the very least, AI can help with this, although so far this is more of an experiment than an application.

A team at Colorado State University has developed an AI system to train a dog to follow certain verbal commands. And they did it without human help. They did this by developing an artificial intelligence-based computer system called the Nvidia Jetson Nano. The system has both hardware and software designed for the task of dog training. It consists of AI software, a video camera, a speaker for transmitting commands and a treat dispenser. It’s still an initial proof-of-concept, but clearly another interesting idea for what AI can do for the dog (owner).