Monday, March 3, 2014

Product Review: Chuckit! Ultra Ball

Product: Chuckit! Ultra Ball, by Canine Hardware. This is a bright orange ball made from natural rubber, it floats, and comes in three sizes to match the Chuckit! ball launcher.

Brisbane is only mildly obsessed with tennis balls, unlike many herding breeds and retrievers.
waves and a tennis ball
They're not the first thing he grabs when he's ready to play, and are really only captivated when they are thrown. He would prefer they be launched via the Chuckit! ball launcher, and I always bring mine when we visit the off-leash dog beach because otherwise he will find someone else who has one and become their dog until physically removed from the area. For years I have eschewed specialized balls, preferring free and cheap used tennis balls. Penn was our brand, because at some point they were only made in America and were less likely to be contaminated with lead.

Brisbane loves to bite tennis balls, especially after chasing them down. He doesn't gnaw with his back teeth, just chomps down with his canines over and over. This will puncture the ball pretty quickly, usually within a couple of beach trips. Once breached, the ball will fill with water and cease to fly as far. It will also crack and lose its shape, and then it doesn't work nearly as well with the launcher. After capturing the tennis ball, Brisbane prefers to run out into the surf and stand belly-deep while biting the ball. Most of our balls are lost at sea when he drops them and they fill with water, sink, and then roll down into deeper water. Yes, this is littering, and no, I don't ever leave balls on the beach if I can help it. I have explained the nature of gravity and sinking tennis balls to Brisbane, but his behavior has not improved.

Chuckit Ultraball in action
Enter the Chuckit! Ultra Ball! I got a two-pack of these to see if they would last a bit longer than the tennis balls. There are a ton of Chuckit!-compatible balls by Canine Hardware, but most of them don't actually float and are therefore at risk of being lost to Davy Jones' Locker. The Ultra Ball floats, bounces, and doesn't collect wet sand quite as fast as a fuzzy ball so it's easier to spot. So far it has lasted through several dozen beach trips and still looks brand new so I haven't even had to break out the second one yet. Brisbane reports that they are just as much fun to squoosh as a regular tennis ball, but not as much fun as those Kong squeaky tennis balls.

<---I have approximately one million pictures of Brisbane grinning on the beach with a ball.

Another perk about this ball is that it comes in three different sizes so you can get one big enough for your dog in case you were traumatised as a child by that James Herriot story about the choking collie.

Brisbane uses his telekinetic powers

Pros: Floats, doesn't grab dirt/sand/crud, doesn't take on water, probably isn't contaminated with lead, comes in multiple sizes, is significantly sturdier than a good-quality tennis ball.

Cons: Not fuzzy, doesn't bother Brisbane but other dogs might find it unappealing. Honestly, the biggest downside is chasing down random dogs who have beat Briz to the ball and then refuse to return it. I haven't actually shouted "Give that back! That's a $5 ball!!!" at anyone yet, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility. I wouldn't throw it anywhere with a high likelihood of ball loss.

Bottom Line: This ball has completely replaced regular tennis balls for us.

dog jumping straight up

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