Review of the Dog Decoder App
Carolyn Lincoln, DVM
January 30, 2015

People have distinct learning styles so if we want to change the way others think and behave, we have to provide the education in a variety of styles. That’s why I am so excited about the new app, Dog Decoder!

As a veterinarian that only sees behavior cases, I know firsthand how difficult it is to change an owner’s beliefs in how their dog communicates. I am up against established beliefs formed by vast amounts of information available to the general public, much of which is both outdated and wrong. When I find a new resource for teaching my clients how to understand their dog and the skills they need to create the behavior they want, then, I am thrilled.

The Dog Decoder app is one such resource. As an app that offers this education as an interactive game is brilliant and with Lil Chin’s illustrations, it is a delight for both children and adults. Once engaged, the app educates the user on the body language of dogs and how they communicate, but the real beauty of the app is in the details. Specifics of the mouth, eye, ear, body, tail position and more is illustrated and the emotions behind the body language is explained. Showing these specifics in different combinations is presented to teach the player the nuances people often miss. The app actually has 60 different illustrations with dog postures indicating a variety of “messages”. The game challenges the player with short quizzes on how the dog is feeling.

Happily, the design works for both the experienced and inexperienced. For those of us who have experience working with dogs, we can benefit as some of the subtleties in body language are often overlooked. Therefore, it can be used as an additional tool to further educate our staff and our clients.   For the inexperienced, the app needs to be very basic; especially for children and it achieves that goal too. I highly recommend the app and hope the developers will continue to add more difficult levels to keep users engaged longer. It is one more tool that has the potential to save owners and dogs from heartbreak by furthering our understanding of how a dog communicates. Doing it in a playful way is a big bonus! Bravo to Jill Breitner and the Dog Decoder Team!

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