Motion Sprinkler Chases Away Defecating Dogs

Don’t want dogs pooping on the front lawn? You could put up a sign, your could chase them away like a crotchety old miser, or you could build a motion detecting sprinkler system. It’s pretty hard to line up for a doody when you’re getting sprayed in the face (or worse) with cold water.

The setup is pretty simple. The bump-in image above shows the view from a webcam. The server monitoring the video is running software that detects motion between one frame and the next. When it sees something in the right position it signals an Arduino to trigger the solenoid which has been holding back the water. Check out the movie after the break which shows [Phil Tucker] tramping across the grass to trigger the  trap.

Sprinkler hacks are always a lot of fun. This variable-range sprinkler is still one of our favorites.

36 thoughts on “Motion Sprinkler Chases Away Defecating Dogs

  1. You have been able to buy these for over 10 years now. $55.00 new and ready to go.

    What I want is servo controlled and target tracking. If you are in my yard you get a solid stream of water. that will teach the local teens to cut the corner through my yard.

  2. I have read the linked article and I have one question – why does he even need an arduino? His IP cam does does motion sensing and has digital output when there is movement. So whole arduino just as a pulse former and relay driver? Oh, and an automatic watering system… talk about waste of resources.

    1. Do you even need two does’s? It is probably necessary because he doesn’t have a degree in EE and doesn’t want the sprinkler triggering the motion sensor, thus creating an infinite loop.

  3. Thanks for the write-up Hack a Day! Just one small clarification, all motion detection, triggering the Arduino, emailing, recording, etc is done by the TRENDnet camera itself. No other server in use.

    @fartface Yeah you can purchase motion activated sprinklers but not with configurable regions, sensitivity, video recording, web interface and email alerts ;)

    1. I wish to say that to keep kids off your yard, a regular motion sensor on a 1 minute timer and a couple of low-slung reciprocating sprinkler heads can do a fine job…. if you have decent water pressure.

      If you simply have them set up to sweep the area, you gain plausible deniability AND the mechanical reliability and ease of maintenance goes way up.

      I have seen such systems turn away animals, salesmen, children, theologians, teenagers and even that most determined of pests, the mistaken public official, with alarming ease.

      I have written a detailed account of this below.

  4. Thanks for the write-up Hack a Day! One small correction, all the motion detection, triggering, recording, emailing and such are done by the TRENDnet camera itself — no other server involved.

    @fartface Yes you can buy a motion detect sprinkler. But not with configurable regions, video recording, email alerts and a web interface.

    @MikrySoft True, I could’ve triggered a relay right from the camera’s GPIO out, but then I wouldn’t have gotten as much control as I wanted. This way I can set up timed watering as well as other devices. Potentially an XBee based remote control or hardwired buttons for various functions.

  5. a very similar project was posted (year-ish or so ago) by a cameraman who’s associated with Top Gear TV show.

    His video featured the LOL’s of cats getting sprayed. In his dissertation, he described considered using an annoying sound (like the noise emitted by kessha) to frighten the cats.

    Anyone know of the link to said video?

  6. “Don’t want dogs pooping on the front lawn? You could put up a sign…”.

    Where I come from the dogs aren’t educated well enough to be able to understand the signs. Maybe I need to move to a better area.

    That said, we don’t tend to have dogs running wild in the streets round our way and the accompanied dogs usually have owners responsible enough to clean up after their dogs. Maybe you should move to a better area.

  7. I so need to do this for my neighbors dog. The little $#^%&%* gets into my trash every pickup day. Of course I have also thought of some strategically doped or poisoned meat in the trash, but going to jail for killing the neighbors dog does not sound too appealing. If that sounds harsh, you try picking up the trash strewn across the yard twice a week and then have the neighbor just say “so what.”

    1. A laxative in the trash comes to mind; it shouldn’t hurt the dog, but with some luck he might get sick inside your neighbors house. Of course, it could happen on your lawn also.

      Perhaps an easier way wold be to tell your neighbor that you are dealing with a small pest-problem, and that you will be throwing away poisoned bait from time to time, and that it might be a good idea for him to keep his dog away from your trash.

    2. Rats, the garbage men would be a problem. Of course if I could just get the city to use rolling bins like everywhere else does, the problem would be solved.

      I do have friends who hunt, and I plan on setting up one of their game cameras so I can at least have photographic evidence to show both idiot neighbor and animal control.

    3. They sell “humane” traps for small-ish animals. One with a nice treat in there should capture feral ankle biters and scare the crap out of the owner when they find it either doesn’t come back until you get home from work or they find it in the trap themselves. Of course they would have no way of knowing if the treat was poisoned or not, so would most likely be in the vet’s office asap (with a nice bill) if they found their rabid chipmunk before you got home.

      I suppose a trip to pick it up from the pound wouldn’t be such a bad thing for them either if you found it first.

  8. This one, with perghaps some “smarter detection” to identify cats and other smaller animals, and it could be left on without fear of soaking kids and visiting grandmothers. I’d love to give thise cats in heat a cooling shower for keeping me awake at night!

  9. Well, it’s tangential: I had a pretty decent relay controlled sprinkler system when they were rare. One night I heard crashing; It seems a rather pretty neighbor girl’s unhappy ex-something or other wanted “closure” after she moved on.

    Note to geeks: Whenever a guy ever says he wants “closure” with some girl, he meets the clinical definition of delusional thinking.

    It will never work. Ever. This is because what he really means by “closure” is “I refuse to move on, and somehow believe I can use my awesome debate skills and jedi mind tricks to hook her back up”. These guys are always ALWAYS blind to the fact that it was their awesome debate skills and jedi mind tricks that made her move on.

    That aside, he had moved to phase five of the standard delusional idiot crisis. Phase five is the one that comes after stalking her doesn’t pay off. Generally, he starts playing passive-aggessive pranks on her because… well, there’s never a reason, just incomprehensible attempts at communication.

    One night, in a sudden burst of alcohol induced testosterone poisoning, he was upset to discover that she wouldn’t answer her door – you know, “so they could talk and get closure”. I think she was out on a date with some other clever chlamydia candidate, and he was greatly miffed.

    So he did the only logical thing, and started smashing her car windows with a baseball bat. I heard this happen, and being young and foolish, called the polezei using 911 and explained that someone was smashing windows. Well, 40 minutes later, no one came around, so back to bed I went, circa 12:30PM.

    At 12:50ish, I again woke up to the sound of someone banging something (it’s never Olivia Wilde, for some reason) and in my dazed condition assumed that said smart guy (from the preface) was angry and blamed me for halting his attempts at rational discourse. I was afraid.

    I used my super hi-tech state of the art surveillance system (a couple of garage sale B&W video cameras connected to the world’s oldest 9″ video monitor through a rotary coax switch) to see that I had a serious problem in the making.

    I soon realized that my house was surrounded by police, guns drawn! Why? They were everywhere, checking my windows and doors for a method of entry. They were crouching, and moving in pairs.

    They weren’t very quiet, and I could even hear a police dog whining. My house did appear to be some sort of run-down hippy enclave, with many privacy hedges (10′ tall, actually) and things growing in the yards that could not be easily identified by anyone other than a botanist.

    In retrospect, I think it was slow night for them. They were apparently using the moment to train for a hostage event, as it was nearly a dozen officers, crouching at what were apparently strategic points near the corners of my house – with guns drawn. Tasers weren’t around back then.

    No doubt they mistakenly assumed that I had called 911 to confess to something awful (it was an eye opener about civil discourse) and perhaps had a young woman in captivity. Obviously, people who call 911 pose a danger to society – and after all, anyone with received pronunciation and a calm demeanor was a potential serial killer.

    Now I should mention that I did, in fact, have a woman in captivity at this time and generally treated her as a virtual sex slave (that spent her waking hours cleaning and cooking), but I also had a license to do so, properly issued by the state, and I seldom found reason to beat her, unless she had requested it to enliven the moment.

    But I wasn’t thinking about that at the time.
    I crouched there, heart pounding, and wondered about what might happen next. Hammers have a way of hammering even when there are no nails.

    I realized that the situation was serious – testosterone poisoning is rather contagious and VERY dangerous, as a plethora of youtube videos will demonstrate. It needed to be defused before they kicked the door in under some pretext, and I say this as a proud supporter of the gendarmes.

    By some strange coincidence, my sprinkler system came on. The entire zone around the house lit up, spraying out roughly 10′ from the foundation, and washing the walls and bushes with a large volume of water. My system would often drop the water pressure in the neighborhood, but at 1AM it wasn’t a problem. It did put out a lot of water.

    To this day, I have no idea why the sprinlers accidentally came on five hours early, and it certainly wasn’t because I pushed the button to turn that zone on for 2 minutes.

    Equipment malfunction seemed the most plausible. The boys in black started yelling profanities and swarmed away from the house. That left the guy on the porch, who was trying too hard not to laugh.
    So I decided to open the door and wander out half-asleep, wondering what all the fuss was.

    The next day, I walked up the street to examine the smashed windows on the car. He had really messed her car up, and she hadn’t come home that night – no doubt had spent a pleasant evening mixing and matching pheromones with her date.

    After all that, the police did not even check the vehicle out, and instead departed in search of dry uniforms, taking their dog with them.

    Thus I saw the dozen roses, and the letter, which did not rhyme. He even left the baseball bat, which I still have to this day.

      1. To this day, I have no idea why the sprinlers accidentally came on five hours early, and it certainly wasn’t because I pushed the button to turn that zone on for 2 minutes.

        Sometimes you have to look hard for it…

      2. I assure you – it’s central plot point is all about the power of the sprinkler and the electronics that make them squirt. To use the vernacular:

        tldr; Guy avoids dangerous home invasion using a remote controlled sprinkler system, offers relationship advice to drips.

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