Thursday, March 28, 2013

Automated Barking Dog Correction

Our Australian Shepherd is a wonderful dog, but he's a bit protective of our property. When he's out in the backyard, he will bark when he senses anything unfamiliar to him in front of our house. He tends to bark near the gate, so I've wired a microphone placed in a garage vent near the gate back to a server. On that server, we've been using our Noise app to detect when he's barking. It generates an xPL message when the sound levels detected exceed a specified threshold. There's a few conditions that are checked before the system decides if he's barking, like if the gate and garage door are closed and there's motion detected near the gate. The server will then play recorded MP3s of our voices telling him to be quiet through a speaker placed near the same garage vent. It worked for a while, but our dog got used to it and started ignoring it. The next step was to purchase a cheap windshield washer pump from Amazon (see below). The pump was connected to a gallon juice jug filled with water, and some plastic tubing was connected to the other end of the pump, routed through the garage vent and aimed at the gate. Finally, the pump was soldered to a 12V wall wart connected to an appliance module. Now in addition to the verbal correction, the pump gets turned on for 3 seconds, shooting a stream of water at the area behind the gate. He hates getting wet, so it's no surprise that the frequency and duration of barking has drastically declined :)

Follow up: Barking has declined from 3-5 times per day to maybe once a week!

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