Dog Mode: How Tesla Uses Smart Technology to Keep an Eye on Fido

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a reputation for his active presence on twitter. Tesla has implemented suggestions for improvement via twitter a few times, the suggestion for Dog Mode being one of them.

The story goes that a Tesla owner suggested a setting for dog owners. Elon Musk replied to the tweet and the rest is history. In the event that a Tesla owner wants to leave Fido in the car to run into the store or other such errand, the electric cars can use smart technology to maintain a safe temperature for dogs (or any other pet) left in the vehicle.

Sadly, many dogs have lost their lives due to being left in the car when the temperature was not conducive to survival. This feature should help eliminate some of that loss, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

What is Dog Mode?

Dog Mode, introduced by Tesla models last year, is a nifty little software feature that uses smart technology to maintain a healthy temperature for your pooch. It’s an extension of the original “Cabin Overheat Protection” feature introduced in 2016. That feature turns on the AC incrementally when the car is parked to keep the temperature from going over 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Dog Mode setting allows you to set a certain temperature while you step away from the vehicle, leaving Fido safely behind. The 15 inch screen inside the car displays an away message that reads “My owner will be back soon! Don’t worry!” with the temperature settings clearly shown.

You can monitor the temperature with your smartphone remotely. Thankfully the giant batteries in Tesla models are compatible with this kind of energy use. But just in case, the software will alert your smartphone via push notification if the battery reaches 20%. Owners will then know they need to get back to their pet in the car as soon as possible.

Problems with Dog Mode

There have been some hiccups, however. Because there are laws around the globe to protect animals from being left behind in dangerous temperatures, some have found this feature a little confusing.

Though charges were dropped, people have received citations for leaving their pets behind because the Teslas are so quiet. And this isn’t the only issue that Tesla’s Dog Mode has dealt with.

One Tesla owner experienced a serious problem when he left his boxer puppy in the car while Dog Mode was active. Apparently, he tried to remotely adjust the temperature to set it a little cooler while he was away from the vehicle.

When he looked back at the app on his smartphone, the Tesla owner realized that the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The car had turned off the AC when he attempted to adjust the climate settings. He asked Tesla to troubleshoot the issue via twitter and the problem was quickly corrected.

Dog Mode: the future

While this futuristic feature is pretty cool, we have to admit we’re wondering why you can’t remotely check on your dog with a video from a dash cam or something. “Dog Mode” also excludes other types of pets. Maybe someone ought to tweet some more suggestions to Tesla.

Regardless of what we wish for Dog Mode’s future, it’s cutting edge as it stands. The auto industry will likely continue to see many new software features that help save the lives of people and pets. Cars just keep getting smarter and safer.

These pretty pups are doing just fine.