Whistle shows how many minutes your pet has been active in a day, which is awesome, but how are we coming up with these minutes of activity?

Read on for a [somewhat] simple explanation of a complex calculation:

Whistle uses a three-axis accelerometer (a little sensor that uses three measurements to calculate movement--just like your human activity tracker or smartphone does) to estimate the total amount of energy your pet uses each minute. We use that energy estimate to tell if your dog was resting, wandering around the house, or doing more vigorous activity like chasing squirrels or going on a walk.

To translate your pet’s energy into easily digestible activity minutes, we use Whistle Activity Points.

What are Whistle Activity Points?

Whistle Activity Points are an energy metric Whistle developed with the help of our own in-house PhD, the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School of Medicine, and a whole lot of determination.

Whistle Activity Points are derived from acceleration measurements we take fifty times per second to make sure we don’t miss anything your dog does. We developed our algorithm for calculating Whistle Activity Points using data from our Founding Hounds(resident office pups) and studies by UPenn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. This research allowed us to fine-tune the algorithm to focus more on your dog’s actual movements than on other things that can cause accelerometers (movement sensors) to overreport activity that’s not really indicative of your dog being “active” (e.g. your dog shaking after a much needed bath).

The easiest way to think about it is the more the sensor moves on your dog’s collar, the more points it collects. If your pup is lounging at home and gets up for a few post-nap stretches, he’s not going to rack up very many Whistle Activity Points.

How does Whistle show me active “minutes”?

After talking with our veterinarian friends, we decided that the best way to show you your pet’s activity is to:

1. Show your pet’s activity in minutes instead of Whistle Points (it’s just easier for you!)
2. Only show “real” activity like going for a walk or playing

So we crunched the data from the studies mentioned above in order to set two levels of intensity based on the amount of Whistle Activity Points your dog gets each minute. If your pet earns too few activity points, staying below the lower intensity level, your pet won’t get any minutes of activity (because they’re probably just casually sniffing around the house), but if they earn enough activity points to cross the threshold into the second level, they get credit for a full minute of activity. If they’re between the two levels, we give them a fraction of a minute of activity. This multiple-level system helps us give your dog some credit when they’ve only been walking for part of a minute while allowing us to ignore most of the wandering around.