Monday, January 23, 2017

Where's the Fetch?

A few years ago I saw this product online, and was amazed. Originally known as the iFetch, now sold as the Fetch'n'Treat, this is supposed to be a dog-powered tennis ball launcher. Sounds amazing, right? Your dog just has to drop the ball in the hole at the top, and it will come shooting out the side.
Interactive fetch and treat dog game
Photo by Erin Koski

At the time, all my dog friends were sure this would be amazing. A ball launcher that didn't require batteries or power, that would perpetually toss the ball for our ball-crazy beasts. Then we found out how it really works.

This isn't a ball launcher for your fetch-obsessed pup. It's a food-dispensing puzzle toy. Even though it's sold as a ball launcher, it doesn't actually do anything other than send the ball rolling slowly across the floor.

Interactive puzzle food toy for dogs
Photo by Erin Koski
The original iFetch, now the Fetch-N-Treat, dispenses food when a ball is dropped in the top. Most of the time. Probably. I actually had a difficult time getting it to dispense reliably, it's pretty unpredictable.

This toy concept works ok for food-motivated dogs. Mine are also quite ball-crazy, and far more interested in the possibility of a ball throw than in this thingy that occasionally drops food. It's not motivating enough for them to keep dropping the ball in though, because it doesn't actually launch anything. Roll the ball and maybe get some kibble occasionally? No thanks.

Happily, in the years since this disappointment hit the scene, the iFetch company has developed some actual powered fetch machines.

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