What’s the brief?

There is an English saying that discourages you from waking sleeping dogs. Doing so is to risk provoking a defensive reaction, a baring of teeth and a concert of barks to wake the entire neighbourhood. This sounds like a great place to keep your valuables safe. Like keeping your favourite chocolate bar safe from your little sister. The only problem is that a real dog might like chocolate too, however unhealthy it is for them, so it will have to be a wooden dog. A wooden dog that knows how to keep its jaws clamped shut until it wakes up, and goes barking mad at any attempt to snaffle what’s in its mouth. Man’s ingenuity knows no bounds so here is the latest product from Berlin’s high-tech animalatronic workshop, a sleeping dog!

Here are most of the bits that make up our ferocious friend.

This dog has false teeth! You can take them out, which makes them easier to align so that they overlap nicely without touching and painting is very much easier too. The upper set of teeth sit on wooden blocks to create a hidden space for the strings attached to the nose, which move ears and eyes. This space also hides the spring for the catch which keeps the jaws locked together until the nose is moved.

Spring for the catch

The small black microswitch is activated when the upper jaw is lifted. The little circuit board comes ready to use from a hobby shop and this replays your recorded sound when the microswitch triggers. I replaced the standard speaker with a smaller, dog-sized one and glued this to the partition. The sound is quite cheerful for our purpose, as we won’t be playing Beethoven’s 9th.

The eyes are only held in the centre on a piece of wooden dowel. A spring keeps the eyes closed until a tug on the string pulls the lever to open them. The eyes don’t touch the panel so that the paint doesn’t rub off and allows for alignment errors when drilling the wooden balls. Two plastic washers keep the friction down.

Eye mechanism

Eye mechanism half assembled

Eye mechanism in place

Return spring for ears