This site is no longer being updated. Read more on pet behavior and wellness at The Wildest.

The Automatic Dog Petting Machine

By The Bark Editors, March 2019, Updated June 2021
automated pup petting contraption

Matt Thompson of Thompson Woodworking is a mighty handy guy. A craftsman and inventor of the Michigan Beer and Michigan Wine chairs, he recently turned his talents to creating a gizmo for his dogs, Bonnie and Clyde. Bonnie, a five-year-old Shepherd, is one of those head-butting-pet-me-now kind of pups, and while charming, it can also get in the way of a guy doing his job.

To satisfy Bonnie’s needs (and his own), Matt decided to build her a petting machine inspired by Rube Goldberg’s contraptions. He set to work cutting the wooden cogs with a band saw, then assembled them on a frame; an old corded drill serves as the low rpm motor, providing the speed he wanted and one he thought Bonnie would tolerate.

He tells us that it took a lot of treats to entice Bonnie under the wooden hand, and she’d still rather be petted by her humans. Little Clyde really likes it, but needs some help to get within petting range.

Courtesy Matt Thompson