We have a dog (rescued from a puppy mill) that goes to the back door when she needs to go out, but she doesn't make any noise. After a couple of minutes, she does her business right by the back door. :-(

What I think that we need is some kind of sensor that detects her presence by the door and rings a remote alarm, so we can let her out before it's too late.

Is anything like this available as an off-the-shelf consumer product? The alarm should preferably be wireless and with a range of at least 20 feet.

What should I search for? All I can find are expensive burglar alarms.

I am comfortable with building a suitable circuit from the ground up. But I would rather not do that, as we need an immediate solution for this dog's changed behavior.

  • 2
    This question may get some "close" votes, because you're asking for an off-the-shelf alarm. On Lifehacks, our goal is to suggest non-obvious solutions rather than off-the-shelf products that are already fit to solve a problem. You may be able to reword the question to fit the spirit of this site better ... but that will be challenging because it seems as though a motion- or pressure-sensitive alarm will do the job nicely. Jul 24, 2019 at 0:54
  • 3
    Have you considered getting a dog-flap so it can go in and out?
    – RedSonja
    Jul 24, 2019 at 6:32
  • 5
    Why look for a burgler alarm when all you need is a light barrier doorbell, the kind that many shop owners use just behind the entrance of their shop to make them aware of customers entering / exiting. Most have to advantage of adjustable ring tones and volume.
    – Elmy
    Jul 24, 2019 at 6:41
  • 4
    A nearly identical post is on pets.se Dog pees inside if back door shut with no sign Jul 24, 2019 at 12:37
  • 2
    @BrettFromLA there’s Pets SE? Although I would rather ask about how to train the dog to „speak up“ in such a case.
    – Stephie
    Jul 24, 2019 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


You can look into motion sensors. These can be fairly simple, like the ones stores use to detect people entering their store, or it can be something you build yourself.

The off-the-shelf kind have a wide variety. You can get ones where it's attached to the top of the door and anything near the door, including yourself, rings a chime. You can also get the type where it only chimes when a IR beam is broken, such as when the puppy crosses a threshold or past a counter/desk/wall to get to the door. There are a wide variety of sensors to prevent "ghost" detection. These also sometimes have the ability to have a remote chime.

As far as DIY goes, you can use a micro controller (like an Arduino) or a mini computer (such as a Raspberry Pi) along with a variety of add-on sensors to perform an action of your choice. This can ring a remote chime, flash a lamp (useful for deaf or hard of hearing people), or anything else that'll get your attention. Maybe you just want something that's not super annoying or you can adjust the sensitivity so it doesn't ring every 30 sec as you make breakfast near the door, for example.

  • 2
    to add to this, you can get toys that are built for this as "room guards", if you want a simple item that needs no modification or installation - they are also pretty cheap.
    – Baldrickk
    Jul 25, 2019 at 12:44

Could you train your dog to ring a bell, or to press a button when it needs to go out? You basically just don't open the door until the dog does the action you want to activate the circuit or indicate what it wants. You can figure out the rest from there.

  • Thanks, but you don't know this dog. She is about 10 years old, and we think that her treament at the puppy mill left her with PTSD (Long story, but she shifts between being loving and scared of me or other men.) And we can't watch her all the time. Jul 25, 2019 at 2:46

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