The Garden's fountain for the dogs based on Arduino.
The project started with 2 dogs in a garden and bowls always empty or fill with dirty water. Dogs like fresh water, and two monsters of 100 lbs can consume a lot of water especially under the "hot" California climate.
The first approach was to use an "Outside Faucet Dog Waterer", a mechanical valve put on a faucet and activated by the dog tongue. One dog, the youngest one, try without consistent success and usually finished looking at me for help. The other didn’t even try to look at the valve.
I understand, with some training, both dogs can probably learn how to use a mechanical valve, just I found much more interesting to have a system more intuitive for the dog.
This experience shows:
• It’s not natural for a dog to go near a place where there is no water and push a "button" to get some.
• The youngest dog is always ready to try something new, but the oldest one has apparently some strict manners, and for him a dog should drink from a bowl, not from a faucet.
• When a dog sees water, or hears a water flow, and he is thirsty, he will come to see, and that is without training ;-)
At this point, the only solution was a robot to serve water to the dogs on demand ;-).
• Start the water when dog approaches to get his attention.
• Avoid to stop the water when dogs are drinking (dog have a moderate sense of humor),
• Stop the water when the dog walks away (bill payer have a moderate sense of humor).
• Have a bowl placed under the faucet to respect “papa” dog habit,
• Try to not overfill the bowl, ideally balance the water output with the dog input.
• Try to have a simple design, simple to build.
It is now (as July 2014) for almost one year the fountain is online, the dogs use it every day. I get 2 freezes of the fountain during the year, a simple power off/on solved the problem.
Dog Fountain is on