RIT graduates launch ‘Sniffy’ dog training app


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Recent RIT graduates launched an app to help people train their dogs. ‘Sniffy App’, an app from the company Sniffy Labs, launched in February 2021 and will soon be on the crowdfunding website ‘Kickstarter’.

The company’s co-founder Howard Shyng didn’t set out to be a startup founder, but Shyng said says he’s always wanted to create something innovative.

“I’m also an animal lover, and I have a technology background, so I always want to do something to improve the relationship between humans and animals.”

After speaking with over 400 dog owners, Shyng and his co-founder Ting Zhu decided that creating a dog training app would benefit owners with behavioral issues in their dogs.

“They know their dogs need training, but they just cannot go to training classes because of demanding schedules or it’s not affordable to them,” said Shyng.

Ting Zhu, Sniffy Labs Vice-President and co-founder, said she didn’t think of creating a startup company when she first came to the U.S. But, after meeting Shyng in class and working together on projects, the idea was encouraging.

“By yourself, sometimes you [hesitate] to do something very innovative like creating a startup. But, with your teammates you will always think ‘okay that’s something that’s possible,'” said Shyng.

Through training modules, the Sniffy app guides owners through pre-recorded video training sessions with Rochester dog trainers.

“It not only gets through your daily training, but adjusts your training based on your dog’s performance. So, everyday you just need to open the app, see the training task you have to do today, and then follow the tips [to] train your dogs step-by-step,” said Shyng.

The app’s co-founders said support from both RIT and the Rochester area have greatly helped in having a successful launch.

In the future, they hope to move to Silicon Valley to seek more funding opportunities.

The Sniffy App is available both in the App Store and the Google Play Store.

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