Meet Fitzgerald. I didn't grow up with dogs. When my wife and I brought Fitz home as a puppy, it was all new to me.
I went looking for help. Like we all do when we start something new, I checked the App Store. And that's when it hit me.
I was floored by how behind digital pet products were compared to what I had for fitness, meditation, or learning languages. Honestly, I still am.
When it comes to dogs, we end up using all these disparate things to stay on top of it: texts, alarms, paper lists, YouTube videos, a jumbled camera roll, random Google searches.
There's a lot of ongoing learning you need to do. No matter how old they are, you'll find yourself having to search for and sort through a mountain of advice with a terrible signal-to-noise ratio.
On the other hand, as I've learned the hard way, you're only as good as your habits. To keep a set of consistent routines with your dog, you rely on all these utilities on your phone which have no context about you, your dog, your goals, or your environment.
Robin (co-founder, engineer, friend) and his family had the same trouble with their rescue pup Helo. We'd talk about it over dinner. We kept asking ourselves: "Why isn't this simpler? Where's the app on my home screen that has all this?" We couldn't shake the idea.
What if, instead of cobbling together recommendations from friends, advice from social media feeds, and these siloed single-use tools, an app could bring together everything you needed to feel confident you can give your dog the best life?
So we started building Harper.
We designed it alongside licensed dog trainers, PhD animal behaviorists, top pet creators, and everyday dog parents.
It uses the latest animal behavior science in its positive reinforcement training methods. And it relies on human habit formation research to help owners start and stick with beneficial routines and rituals.
Harper helps you grow together with your dog. It's an app for iPhone that's home for their daily life, so you've got everything you need in one place to be a great dog owner each day.
Check it out. It would mean the world to us if you took it for a spin.
Today we live in an era of isolation.
People have fewer friends, kids, and spouses. A growing number of us work remotely. More of our leisure time is being spent alone or isolated in our devices. And we’ve seen study after study that shows COVID has exacerbated these trends.
It’s one reason why companionship, sources of meaning, and healthy habits can feel like they’re in short supply these days.
But a dog can be a cheat code to all of them.
We believe dogs make us more human. Almost every measurable domain of human wellbeing can be improved through a good relationship with a dog at home.
An IRL companion, a consistent schedule, someone who’s counting on us, a reason to get outside, an excuse to strike up a conversation, the need to look at the world a different way, that’s all there hiding behind the fluff.
We want to make it simpler for good people to take great care of their dogs. We want to help more people have the confidence and ability to bring home a dog. We want to show ourselves how much dogs have to teach us. And we want to help all of us appreciate what we’ve got in them.
We think a lot about the values and ideas that are upstream of our decisions, so we wanted to share some of the principles that guide how we design Harper.
🏍 Care and Quality
We believe in being earnest and doing things with intention. Whether that’s craftsmanship in the app, how we tell the Harper story, or how we’re present with our own dogs, life is too short to half-ass it.
🔒 Skin in the game
Nassim Taleb says “How much you truly believe in something can be manifested only through what you are willing to risk for it.” It’s why we went all in on Harper and use the product every day.
🎯 Less but better
The world is a noisy place. That makes focus and elegance valuable. We’re unrelenting about simplicity.
🎮 Learning loops
We believe there’s no such thing as stasis. In each moment, something is either growing or decaying. We like growing. And we think games are the best way to stay engaged, learn, and grow. Everything is better as a game.
💛 Pack loyalty
Dogs are the best. They give us their absolute all and ask for very little in return. So we show them the respect they deserve by focusing on safety, health, and using the most ethical science-based techniques. Because dogs are the best. Did we mention that?