For my first solution post, I’m going to use my four-legged furry nephew!
He’s a three-year-old Havanese named Riley. He self-feeds (his food is left down for him to eat whenever he’s hungry) but he lives with another pup who will eat any and all food left on the floor, so now we can’t leave his food down or she will eat it all.
Fix number one is this super cool puppy feeder by The Q on Youtube! Check it out here: DIY Puppy Dog Food Dispenser from Cardboard at Home. See, Havanese are little dogs, but they have these enormous paws! We call them “magic paws” because whenever he wants something, he bats at it and usually gets it. Seriously, we could probably put him on a small raft in a roaring ocean and those paws would hold him steady! So when I saw this video, it seemed perfect. Riley could use his big ol’ magic paws to bat at the release sign and get his food! Here are the results:
He looks up the ramp, where the food comes from, to get more. Hitting the sign to the right doesn’t make sense to him.
First rule of design: there’s no such thing as dumb people, only dumb products (or in this case not using it for what it’s designed for). I wanted to make the feeder inherit, something he could figure out without even having to be taught. By looking at the previous design, I could see that he wants to put his nose where he knows the food is, so let’s make this happen!
First I just want to lay out the pattern for you. I used craft foam to make my feeder (Dollar Store guys, it’s so cheap), which is generally .125″ thick, so you can see I’ve accounted for that in my pattern. You could use a bunch of different types of materials for this, cardboard is most notable, but chipboard would work too, even wood! Wood would (hah) require some pattern alterations, of course. Something I learned is that dog food is greasy, so any absorbent materials (like cardboard) won’t last long.
My tools of choice: a cutting mat, an exacto knife, a ruler, a pen, pins, tweezers, and a hot glue gun.
Getting the shelf in the right place will take a little trial and error, but here’s how it works once you have it fitted!
Go ahead and glue on the other side and let’s get the elastic placed!
By the way, see that messy, crumpled up foam board around where I cut out the window? My exacto blade was too dull and needed changing… oops.
You probably noticed that by this point I’d already glued in the food slide, but I kind of jumped the gun by doing that, so I suggest you do it now.
Now’s a good time to glue on the back and top pieces. They’re more or less there for looks, covering up the inner workings of the feeder.