This device allows the dog to let us know when he is out of water, by alerting us with a sound and light. If we are out of the room and don't hear the tune, the light stays on until it is reset so we can see it as we walk by the kitchen/utility room and know Cody (our dog) has pushed the "button". Cody already has a push button to let us know when to let him outside, but he uses that one with his paw. I wanted him to be able to push this with his nose (he already knows the command for that, so I figured it would be as easy to teach him how to use this device as it was to teach him how to use the other one, which he learned in just a couple of days).


In true Instructables fashion, this device uses hacked and scrounged materials and a few tools. Please read through the instructions and you'll have a better idea of what types of materials you can use that you have on hand. Your device may vary in size and construction depending on the size of your pet and your personal preferences.
The two primary components are a poster sound recording device and one LED tea light with push button activation.

You will also need;

  • tracing paper
  • paper & pencil
  • "hobby wood" scraps. I'm using left over pieces of Midwest products 1/8" and 1/16" basswood sheets and birch plywood sheets and 1/8" & 1/4" basswood strips of the type usually found in craft stores, and 1/16" hardboard.
  • one or two hinges that swing freely
  • cardboard - "regular" 1/8" corrugated cardboard box type, and thin cardboard or card stock (a cereal box or shirt/gift box will be fine)
  • clear plastic - 2 pieces approximately 3" x 5". You can upcycle this from plastic food containers, it doesn't need to be sturdy.
  • aluminum foil
  • acrylic paint in whatever colors you choose
  • sandpaper & files
  • ruler
  • square rule
  • soldering iron, solder, wire suitable for electronic components, wire nippers, shrink tubing
  • masking tape and double-stick tape
  • wood glue and white glue
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • blocks with straight sides - I used legos, but you could also use a small box or other blocks.
  • jeweler's saw (fret saw or scroll saw)

Step 1: Prepare Components

Our goal in this step is to sandwich the components between two pieces of wood in such a way that we line up both the sound recording activation button and the tea light on/off button. We want to keep the components safe, but still be able to remove the top and bottom pieces of wood in the future should we need to replace batteries or want to create a different recording.

- Remove plastic flame from tea light (most just snap out). Begin sawing along the seam where the top and bottom pieces of plastic on the base are joined together. Saw around entire base, just enough to remove top section of plastic. Be careful not to saw through wires or battery compartment. Set aside

- Carefully peel paper back from the poster sound device, revealing the components. This step will reveal the battery compartment for later use, and will also allow a brace to be added behind the push button.

- Record the sound you want to use as an alert. I chose Eddie Money's "Gimme Some Water" (what else?) and edited the recording to only last 30 seconds and only include the parts about water - no violence in my version :)

- Gently lift the record button from the foam base. Remove foam backing from the component and ever so gently tuck it back into place. Cut a piece of thin cardboard to fit over the record button and microphone and attach with double-stick tape. We want to make sure that we don't accidentally erase our recording, but will still be able to change it in the future if, say, we get sick of having the same song stuck in our heads for weeks.

- Hold tea candle base push button in line with the play button that sticks out in front of the sound recorder and draw the outline of the candle onto the foam piece. Cut section out and test fit candle base.

- Trace outline of sound device base on both sides, transfer patterns to wood pieces, and cut out (mine are 1/16" basswood).

- Test fit again, then take the covers off the sound device and remove additional foam to allow bracing pieces to be added to the push button components. Using wood glue, attach a small piece of 1/8" strip wood behind the button and allow it to dry. When dry, glue button in place using hot glue like there's no tomorrow - just make sure you don't cover the working parts of the button. Test it out and make sure it still works, and doesn't "give" when pushed.

- Replace wires on tea light with longer wires. We need the wires coming up from the other side of the sandwich, so glue a brace piece of wood behind the tea light as well, allow to dry, and hot glue in place.

<p>You're awesome! This project is awesome! Cody is The Awesome Dog of Awesomeness!!!</p>
<p>This is a brilliant idea! I'll have to try something like this for my dog!</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I create custom artwork in miniature and full-size, paint, draw, and love all things crafty.
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