2024 Home Sweet Home Automation: Spray Bottle Turret Silences Barking

Ah, dogs. They sure like to bark, don’t they? [rrustvold]’s dog likes to bark at the door when a package arrives. Or when someone walks by the house, or whenever the mood strikes, really. To solve the barking issue, at least near the front door, [rrustvold] built a spray bottle turret to teach the dog through classical conditioning.

As you can see from the image, it’s all about pulling the trigger on a standard spray bottle at the right time. This machine only sprays when two conditions are met: it hears noise (like barking) and detects motion (like overzealous tail wagging). It also has heat-seeking abilities thanks to a Raspberry Pi thermal camera.

To do the actual spraying, there’s a DC motor mounted behind the bottle which turns a pulley that’s mounted to its shaft. Around the pulley is a string that wraps around the spray bottle’s trigger. To complete the build, everything is mounted on a lazy Susan so there’s nowhere for Fido to hide-o.

If you’ve a dog whose bite is worse than its bark, consider building a custom dog door to keep it out of the cat box.

The 2024 Home Sweet Home Automation contest has officially wrapped — we’re counting the votes now, so stay tuned for an announcement about the winners shortly.

11 thoughts on “2024 Home Sweet Home Automation: Spray Bottle Turret Silences Barking

  1. I’m reminded of the cautionary tale of the annoyed birdwatcher who spent weeks building a machine-vision operated servo-driven automated turret which would detect squirrels stealing nuts from the birdfeeder and spray them with water.

    Turns out it takes squirrels about five minutes to realise that on a hot day, they like being sprayed with water.

    1. I had a cat give me a headless squirrel once. Apparently including the liver.

      Was a magnificent gift!

      Wanted to eat it, but no.
      Waited for cat to not be looking and disposed of it.

      Didn’t let the dog play with it/roll in it. Wasn’t ripe enough for that anyhow.

  2. Don’t do this. It’s basically abusive, and definitely not the most effective way to train a dog.

    Dogs should be trained with an R+ (positive reinforcement) method – reward the behaviour you want to see more of. To prevent undesirable behaviours, train an incompatible behaviour.

    The spray bottle is a positive punishment model. Dogs do not respond well to this. They often struggle to know what behaviour is being punished, and it often creates fear and other negative behaviours. When it does “work” it’s often just that the dog has shut down because it’s fearful.

    Please don’t promote stuff like this.

    1. Well, being actually the neighbor woken up by your barking all the day long dog, I don’t really care about the well-being of your dog.

      Such nuisance should be heavily fined.

      Tinkering with AI barking detection algorithm on rpi and 500W ultrasonic beam array, will post the build soon.

      1. Barking dogs can be as much a pain in the arse for the owners as much as everyone else. Unfortunately, it’s very much down to luck and the personality of the dog.

        Short of putting the dog down just for the sin of barking too much, it can be a particularly difficult trait to “fix”.
        Of all the dogs I’ve had throughout my life, only one of them was a persistent barker. And despite all efforts, the only thing that cured it was time. He was much better after about 4 years of age.

        Now I’m not sure what magic training Dan’s expecting…give the dog a treat for every minute it’s *not* barking?

        1. Actually, yes. People make the mistake of paying attention to a dog when they’re barking, which further reinforces negative behavior. Humans are trained to respond to stimuli, which might work for a human baby, but will not work for dog barking training.

          The real solution is that people need to get pets responsibly. The clown who made the sprayer is not one of them.

  3. Need one for my cat that wakes me up at 5am every morning meowing at the door because his food bowl is empty(well duh you ate it all at once, you had enough to last overnight but you just had to eat it all at once.).

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