Leaving a furry friend at home all day while you work or run errands can be a source of stress for pet owners. But this creative invention may be the ideal gadget to ease those concerns.

CleverPet is a game console for pets that trains the four-legged companions to respond to lights or sounds emitted by the machine. When the dog or cat taps the paw-friendly sensors, it delivers a treat.

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A dog uses the interactive console by tapping the paw-friendly pads that light up. When the dog taps the correct buttons, the gadget delivers a treat (Image source: CleverPet).

“People are genuinely concerned about leaving their dogs alone for thousands of hours a year,” CleverPet CEO Leo Trottier told TheBlaze.

The learning console is designed to engages and teaches dogs, using scientifically proven techniques to offer interactions that adapt to individual dogs’ needs, according to the website. “These interactions grow more challenging as your dog learns, and can take place even when you can’t be home. Many dogs left alone at home are bored and unengaged, which can lead to separation anxiety and costly destructive behavior.”

But if given tailored, varying interaction, the CleverPet team is convinced even dogs who are cooped up for hours on end will stay busy, reducing time for “negative behavior.”

Trottier said the initial design is marketed more for dogs, since they often require more social interaction and are more likely to respond to training than cats. But the system was originally crafted for his cat Salk, who happened to be pawing at his owner as we spoke.

“I actually have a hungry cat to feed now,” Trottier laughingly said.

The CleverPet team designed the console with busy owners in mind. The console is a smart, Wi-Fi-connected device so pet parents can automatically entertain and educate their dogs through their smart phones. The application allows owners to increase or decrease the activity level to ensure pets are being challenged at their learning level.

The device even has a microphone that listens for dog barks and a speaker so pets can hear their owners’ recorded voice.

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CleverPet explains the process on their Kickstarter page with this infographic (Image source: CleverPet).

The device has three sensitive touch pads, which light up interactively and are designed for the dog’s nose or paw. The pet “wins” food for touching the pads on the device, and CleverPet’s software is constantly adapting to each dog, and the owner can track their pet’s progress in real time.

The company closed a round of Kickstarter funding Monday, exceeding its goal by $80,000.

“I think there’s a lot we’ll discover when we have lots of people engaging their pets for hours a day and developing little learning games; the vast, uncharted territory of the wonderful and interesting things people will find out and discover about the pets they share their lives with,” Trottier told TheBlaze. “So that is what is very exciting to me and think I think it will be exciting for everyone else as well.”

Check out their video here:

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