Bissell Bark Bath: Taking the RUFF out of Bathing Your Dog
By Joe Marietta, Sr. Lead Engineer
Bissell came to us with a concept for a pet bathing attachment that would soon become the Bissell Bark Bath. Ideally, they wanted an attractive solution that worked with existing portable deep cleaners and fit within the current visual brand language.
To deliver a prototype quickly, we used as many current parts as possible, opting to pair an available venturi (which can mix water and shampoo from a reservoir) with the existing trigger shut-off valve. These parts were never intended to function together, so packaging them to work in the smallest space possible was challenging. We started with a rough mock-up to engineer the hydraulic circuit. After the circuit was proven successful, we began the iterative process of developing an attractive housing for everything.
One of the most memorable aspects of the project was demoing prototypes at Bissell’s Pet Spot (a four-stall kennel inside the corporate building allowing staff to bring their pets to work). Not only did the experience underscore the company’s commitment to employees and their Pet Foundation, it also encouraged owners to try new pet products. Staff members would eagerly volunteer their dogs for trials with prototypes, which meant we got to meet a lot of great dogs and owners. Some of the dogs are already the stuff of legend, namely the chief chemist’s 180-lb Alaskan Malamute, Chief.
What makes us most proud is how we advanced the concept past the initial expectation, delivering a solution that satisfied their specifications in an integrated, elegant format that was not originally considered. Ultimately, this collaborative design and engineering approach is precisely what we excel at — creating solutions that are desirable, usable, and repeatable.
Here are some glimpses into our development process…as well as some satisfied users: