Introduction: Automatic Dog Treat Dispenser

"This instructable was created in fulfillment of the project requirement of the Makecourse at the University of South Florida ("

Like most dogs, my dog loves treats so I thought that it would be fun and rewarding to create an automatic dog treat dispenser for hi. Despite the fact that he may not love the finished product as much as I had hoped he would, it was still a great learning experience and I had a lot of fun designing and making it. My dogs favorite treats are the Pedigree Marrow Bone treats which is what I designed the project to dispense.

Step 1: Tools and Electrical Components

For this project you will need access to a 3D printer in order to print some of the components

Electrical Components

  • 1 X Arduino Uno R3
  • 1 X Stepper Motor
  • 1 X Motor Driver Module
  • 1 X 10 kΩ Resistor
  • 1 X 10 μF Electrolytic Capacitor
  • 9 X Bread Board Jumper Cables
  • 9 X Female to female cables
  • 1 X Sound Sensor Module
  • 1 X USB A to B
  • 1 X USB power adapter


  • Band Saw
  • Phillips Head Screw Driver
  • Drill


  • MOST IMPORTANT: Marrow Bone Dog Treats
  • Super Glue
  • Wood Glue
  • Small amount of soundproofing foam
  • Sandpaper
  • Small Velcro Strickers
  • Spray Paint

Step 2: Making the Doghouse Out of Wood

Its not completely necessary to build the doghouse out of wood, you could use a 3D printer (but it might get costly and it will take a VERY long time to print)

I used 1/4" wood to build the doghouse using the given dimensions for the front, back, sides, bottom, and roof.

Carefully cut each piece with a handsaw (or if you have access to a laser cutter) and then carefully assemble and glue them together, which is a lot harder to do a neat job than I initially anticipated. After the glue has had a substantial amount of time to dry, smooth out rough edges with sandpaper and spray paint with desired colors

You will also need to drill 2 small holes in the doghouse, one in the back which will have the power cable running through it and one on the side which will have the cables for the microphone running through it.

Step 3: 3D Printed Components and Assembly

I have attached the STEP models of the components of the project that are 3D printed. Everything may not fit perfectly on the first try depending on the 3D printer and its accuracy but overall it wont be very difficult to assemble. I have included the electronics enclosure in case you decide to print it instead of buying it. If you wish to buy it here is the link:

The mechanism for pushing the treats is fairly simple to assemble, I have posted a picture of how it should look. The stepper motor is put into link 2 from the bottom and it makes things easier if you also put some glue in there so that it cannot come undone. Once the mechanism is assembled I suggest putting the mechanism cover on in order to prevent the links from shifting upwards. I also suggest putting sound proofing foam in the paw shaped box in order to prevents miscellaneous everyday sounds from triggering the microphone. Make sure that you glue the dog teat slide and the electronics enclosure into place in the doghouse.

Step 4: Electronic Components and Control System

In order to do this project I really suggest getting the whole Arduino uno kit. It contains all of the electronic components that will be used in this project. I have attached a Fritzing diagram of my control system which makes it extremely easy to see how I wired everything. I suggest putting small Velcro stickers on the bottom of the arduino and the stepper motor shield and then corresponding stickers in the electronics enclosure. This makes them easy to remove if you have any changes you want to make, while at the same time keeping them in place while they are in the enclosure .

Microphone - attach female to female jumper cables to G V and S and attach regular jumper cables to the female jumper cables. Insure that G goes to A0, V goes to A1, S goes to A2. In order to provide a reference voltage for the microphone you must use a 10 μF capacitor and 10 kΩ resistor. Insert one side of the resistor into pin 3 and the other side into pin 6. Then insert the positive side of the capacitor (which will be the longer side) into pin 6 and the other side into the ground pin.

Stepper motor - attach the stepper motor to the stepper motor shield with the cable that is attached to the stepper motor. Then attach female jumper cables to 1 N1, 1 N2, 1 N3, 1 N4, + and -. then attach regular jumper cables to the other female end and plug in 1 N1 to pin 8, 1 N2 to pin 9, 1 N3 to pin 10 and 1 N4 to pin 11. Also, plug in the - to the ground pin and the - to the 5V pin.

Step 5: Uploading Code

The last step is just to upload the code onto the arduino. In order to do this you will have to have the Arduino Software (IDE) downloaded on your computer which you can easily get from under download. I have uploaded the code for the project as wells as a library for the stepper motor which you will have to copy into your Arduino library folder.

Step 6: Let Your Dog Enjoy Some Dog Treats!!

Now for the last step you must stack the treats one on top of the other in the dog treat holder and then place the bracket so that they do not fall out and let your dog enjoy some treats! I hope you enjoyed this instructable as much as I enjoyed designing and creating the Automatic Dog Tread Dispenser!