Back in 1923, Hugo Gernsback was promoting radio and other electrical innovations. One of his patents was for an "electric dog" that would follow a man with a magnetic cane. This was 76 years before Sony came out with the Aibo robotic dog!
Hugo Gernsback was more than a minor inventor, however; he was also an early and rather famous science fiction writer and publisher. Along with H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, Gernsback is sometimes called "The Father of Science Fiction".
Gernsbeck's Amazing Stories magazine has been published, with some interruptions, for ninety-two years, and the annual "Hugo" awards, presented at the World Science Fiction Convention, are named after him.
** Next Generation Dogs, Batteries Not Included
** Robots Rising
** Dog Meets His Mechanical Robot Overlord
** The Farmer Is a Robot, and So Is His Dog"
** Robot Training a Cat to Hunt and Retrieve
** Slave to the Machine
** Robot Dog Training Not Quite Ready
** From Pearl Harbor to a Robot Economy
** Robots That are Powered by Consuming Flesh