Creating the World's Safest Dog Ramp (Canceled)
Creating the World's Safest Dog Ramp (Canceled)
Is your dog afraid to use a ramp? Disabled, elderly or vision-impaired? Then help us create the world's safest dog ramp!
Is your dog afraid to use a ramp? Disabled, elderly or vision-impaired? Then help us create the world's safest dog ramp! Read more
About this project
Initially inspired by a friend's elderly dog's mishap with an aluminum wheelchair ramp, the creation of our ramp was fueled by several additional factors. Our shared work with animals (including experience in hundreds of client homes, dozens of veterinary clinics and several animal shelters) gave us insight into the fundamental problem: many people weren't using their ramps. Or, more accurately, many dogs were unwilling to use the ramps their people bought for them, so they ended up forgotten in backyards and garages or donated to the local shelter. Without fail, every person attributed this "failure" to their dog not wanting to use the simple device. Rather than blaming the dogs, we wondered if something else might be the cause. Fast-forward to our own Golden Retriever Shiva's outright aversion to ramps (and even open stairs) after her leg amputation due to bone cancer, and we became determined to find a solution.
We started with a basic donated ramp, initially using beach towels and cardboard as sides to "prove" our concept. We then contracted a local engineering and design firm to build a sturdy prototype we could test in the field with multiple dogs. We also asked an animal behaviorist friend if what we were seeing made sense to him, and that's when we learned about the "visual cliff."
Validated by science – including in the pioneering work of eminent researcher, educator and author Dr. Temple Grandin – elimination of the visual cliff is one of the single most important techniques for making and keeping an animal calm and easy to manage. Long used for moving large animals including livestock, horses and zoo animals, vision-blocking barriers have never before been implemented for pet dogs. Our ramp is the first of its kind that will be lightweight, portable and intended for companion animals.
As our human population ages and veterinary medicine is able to keep our beloved pets around longer despite illnesses and disabilities, the need for a solution such as ours will only continue to increase. While certainly not limited to ramps, this is where we chose to begin because it appears to be the largest market and area of greatest need.
Our patent is written to allow for multiple design possibilities (horizontal, vertical or detaching sides, etc.) in the finished product, as well as to pursue implementation in other areas such as stairs/steps, lifts and grooming tables in the future. The initial production model will incorporate a lightweight bi-fold ramp, and its sturdy plastic construction will make it portable and easy to handle. Future versions may include single-segment ramps, as well as metal and telescoping models.
As you can see in our video, we have performed field testing with many dogs, and the results are amazing:
• When presented with a novel ramp, 85% of dogs (even those with previous ramp experience) actively avoided using it.
• When immediately presented with the same ramp incorporating our vision-blocking sides (we call it Cliff-Stop Technology™), 85% of that group used the ramp on the first attempt.
The “magic” of the entire process is in getting the dog’s eyes to pass beyond the vertical “line” where the panel starts. It’s at that place and time where the visual cliff “switch” in the dog’s brain is turned off. But don’t just take our word for it: watch the video, or perform an internet search for Dr. Grandin’s work to learn more about the science behind it.
- Our human population is aging. On average, human strength and the ability to lift heavy objects (like a stubborn 90 lb Labrador) declines with age.
- Women live longer than men and - given the diminished upper body strength that accompanies aging - many may need assistance moving larger dogs.
- Larger breeds and their mixes continue to be the most popular.
- Larger breeds also have higher incidences of cancer, hip dysplasia and other potentially debilitating diseases and conditions.
- Advancements in veterinary medicine are allowing longer survival times and providing better outcomes, but we're being left with a growing population of elderly and/or disabled dogs in the process.
- We (humans) continue to invest in products that will enhance the lives of our pets.
Risks and challenges
Risks and challenges that come with completing our project include potential unforeseen design complications while transforming our proof-of-concept prototype into a manufacture-ready model. We have spent significant capital modeling, producing and testing our prototypes, and we have done field-testing with many dogs. We know the product functions safely and effectively, and it provides value to our potential customers and their pets. Our team is experienced with this process, having taken another product from inception to manufacture-ready status and is confident it will do the same with this one.
Another risk and challenge involves discovering potential manufacturing problems once the design is ready for production. Our ramp supplier is established and experienced in manufacturing and distribution, and they possess all the tooling, materials and production capacity we need. They will be supplying their finished product for us to apply and attach our sides. Finalizing an efficient and economical design will allow us to assemble and process orders in a timely manner. The collective expertise of all involved will be sufficient to overcome any obstacles and handle demand.
A third risk and challenge could be increased production costs. We estimate our initial production design to retail between $150-$175, although that could be vary based upon the unknowns and production run size.
Finally, excessive Office Action requests from the USPTO could create unexpected legal costs. The extensive experience our IP attorney has in this field, combined with our team's recent success securing a utility patent on another invention, will ensure our ability to manage such an eventuality.
We have an excellent team experienced in product development, collaboration and customer service. We have the relationships and knowledge to meet and overcome any challenges encountered, and we envision a successful transition to production once funded. We believe that once people understand and try the product, word-of-mouth will drive sales success.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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