Is A Fetch Machine The Answer For Your Dog?


Sorry folks, we don't carry a machine that will throw the ball for your dog. But fetching machines are getting a lot of attention lately. 

Is this invention a godsend for hyperactive dog breeds or will it put dogs in danger? Will a machine compromise the owner-dog bond in the name of convenience? You decide.

An early prototype

Jerry was a cute Dachshund with an enterprising engineer owner who designed and perfected his own fetching machine. 

According to the designer, "I built the ball machine because I thought my dog Jerry, might like it and that it would be something fun for me to build." It took Jerry's owner two years to perfect his machine that was also a hobby. It featured safety components including a "proximity sensor" designed to protect Jerry and his son from the machine.

The inventor assures viewers, "Far from being a replacement for me, I was always right there with him enjoying his fun. And with all the troubles that I went through to build the ball machine, I still end up throwing more balls than that the machine could count!" This video was posted in 2008 and has garnered over 9 million views!

Now there are a few professionally marketed automatic fetching machines for dogs. These include the GoDogGo fetch machine and the iFetch pet toy. 

The GoDogGo Automatic Ball Launcher

The GoDogGo dog ball launcher company says they've been "keeping ball-crazy dogs happy since 1999." The list price is $139.99 but is currently on backorder due to high summertime demand. It is recommended for outdoor use only.

The machine can be set to variable launch distances to suit different breeds. Small, medium or large balls can be used with the machine as well. Intervals between launches can also be adjusted. 

The iFetch Pet Toy

The iFetch company's catchphrase is "Your best friend's best friend."  The iFetch is designed for smaller dogs and works indoors. Many dogs can be taught to run the launcher themselves. The unit sells for $99 and extra balls can be purchased for $10. 

The iFetch company is currently working on a model for larger dogs as well.

Testimonials for both launchers are glowing: "Our dog plays with it for hours. Thank You!"  "It's a godsend!" "Best purchase we've made!" 

Examples of folks who really seem to benefit from these launchers are those with high-energy breeds, for owners of multiple dogs, and owners with physical limitations. This could be an excellent tool to challenge dogs both physically and mentally. Plus, it's just plain entertaining.

Dog trainers always remind dog owners to be sure pets get plenty of exercise, because a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. But are there risks to these automated fetch toys?

Use with caution

Our advice is to only use these types of products with supervision. It is concerning to see the testimonials of dogs using the launchers "for hours." Repetitive use injuries are a threat since dogs with a high play drive will keep playing without realizing they are in pain. 

Machines can supplement your dog's exercise routine but, remember, one of the benefits of having a dog is nudging us from the trappings of a sedentary lifestyle! Get out there and walk your dog!

A machine simply can't replace the intimacy shared between a human and a dog. Continue to be proactive in nurturing that bond.

Fetching alternatives

As mentioned earlier, as of yet, doesn't carry an automatic ball launching machine. But we do have several products that can make the game of fetching easier.

The most simple design is our Zanies Easy Thrower

With this toy, dog owners can play fetch with their dogs without having to touch wet, drool-covered balls. This thrower helps the ball go further and makes picking up the ball easier. 


Shop for all fetch toys at

Are automatic ball launchers a good idea for you and your dog? 

This entry was posted by Mary.
ABRAHAM on August 15 at 4:01 PM said:

This is an interesting artical and one of debate which I will test this weekend. I like the idea of the machine, however, I have to agree with Baxterboo to be very watchfull of your pet as they don't hurt themselves by over playing. For me and my 2 pets I would go for the ball launcher at Baxterboo, it's interactive and that's why I have pets. I love their company and spending playtime with them is my favorate part of the day and or night. This is also excersize for the human, I see it as a light erobic work out and having fun with your pet at the same time. Can't wait to bring it up with friends over casual conversation and hear what the verdict is. Thank you, for posting yet another great blog.
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