Kenneth MacLean
PROJECT: Wheelchair-Mounted Dog Treat Dispenser

wheelchair : assistance : dog : clicker : training : treat : kibble :

About the project:
This project provides wheelchair users with limited dexterity a device to train and reward their service dogs easily and conveniently.

The Problem:
This project was undertaken in cooperation with PADS (Pacific Assistance Dog Society), a non-profit organization in Vancouver, BC that breeds, raises, trains and supports certified assistance dogs, partnering them with people living with disabilities. Assistance dogs at PADS and many other organizations are trained using the clicker method. Good behaviors and successful commands are marked with a distinctive noise from a handheld clicker, followed by a dog treat. Many wheelchair users who are provided with service dogs find it difficult to use a clicker and deliver treats due to reduced mobility or dexterity. There is a need for an easy-to-use wheelchair-mounted device that can make a clicking noise and dispense treats. Currently, all available products are either unsuitable for this task, or prohibitively expensive.

The Solution:
A 3D-printable device was designed to simultaneously deliver treats and actuate a typical handheld clicker using a simple pushing motion. It can be mounted on the side of a wheelchair using a commonly-available type of mounting bar and bracket. The device is made of exclusively 3D printed parts in order to eliminate any potential difficulties sourcing components, and does not require any electronics. It is both easy and affordable to replicate. Short video demo of the finished product being used at PADS: Close-up video of the device being used: