Second only to the pain of your bare foot finding a tiny piece of Lego, is stepping onto an abandoned rawhide bone. It's a harsh reminder that your dog has no interest in cleaning up after itself, but with this treat-dispensing toy box, that doesn't have to be the case.
Like children, dogs just need some incentive to clean up their toys. After all, simply leaving a squeaky toy where they last chewed it is obviously most convenient for your pet. So the Tidy Dog hopes to trump convenience with a treat that's automatically delivered every time a toy is returned to the box.
The Tidy Dog is completely dependent on your dog's ability to learn, but that also poses a problem because some dogs are smart enough to try and manipulate the machine. To prevent this, the sensors used to detect a returned toy can also detect the vibrations if your dog is trying to press down on the bin on purpose, and no treat will be dispensed until everything is stable and your dog is clear.
The bin also uses a built-in timer to prevent a dog from simply picking up a toy, immediately dropping it, and then collecting a treat. Once an object has been picked up no treats will be dispensed for a full 30 seconds. There is a slight chance a dog might figure out this pattern, but odds are they'll be well distracted before half a minute runs out.
The creators of the Tidy Dog are currently raising funds on Kickstarter, and to date it has achieved almost half of its $20,000 goal. You can help their cause along, and secure a Tidy Dog for your pooch with a $49 donation. Remember, that doesn't guarantee this will be a successful product—there are always potential road blocks once it goes into production. But if it does succeed, it at least means your dog will clean up after itself, even if your kids refuse to. [Kickstarter via Gizmag]