Some dogs are just mad about the game of fetch and unfortunately, their owners will probably develop a shoulder injury long before the dog will tire of chasing that fluffy green tennis ball. And even though the dog is the one doing all the running around, ask any dog owner with a ball crazy dog and they will tell you it can be pretty hard work. Fortunately, if you are the owner of a ball toss obsessed dog, others before you have had the same issue and invented a great solution to the problem. Automatic Ball Launchers are the answer to your problems and your dog can operate them on their own and keep up the game of fetch until even they get worn out. The great thing is that after a bit of initial training, your dog can play fetch all by themselves to their heart's content. This is perfect for times when you are away, like when you go to work and your dog gets bored and takes to destroying the family home, or if you are just not much of a thrower and you can't keep up with even the smallest amount of fetch play with your dog.
There are different types of ball launcher dog toys on the market and they all have different features that will suit different types of dogs. For the super active dog that could potentially wear themselves out and cause themselves physical harm, there are ball launchers that have motion detectors and sensors to stop things going too far. Even with this technology, most vets will agree that it is safer not to let the dog use the ball launcher toys completely unsupervised. Ball launchers that don't have a limit on usage and will throw up to 75 feet are good if you are nearby to keep an eye on your dog and so that you can have your hands free to watch a small child or do other tasks. But these types of supervised ball toss toys are not much good for the lonely stay at home pooch. There are other automatic launchers that work on gravity and don't throw quite so far. These are good for a limited play session that won't wear your dog out and also more suitable for indoors.
So if you think an automatic ball launcher toy is the way to go for your dog, how exactly do you get them to understand how to use it. Afterall, you can't exactly just throw Fido the instruction manual and get them to read up on the details.
The good news is, the particular type of dogs that like to play neverending games of fetch are called Defining Tasks Dogs, and they are the exactly the type of dogs that are super good at learning how to use toys like automatic ball launchers. Because they find chasing and returning a ball so much fun, you don't need to give them any special treats or rewards other than the act of fetch itself, which makes it way easier to get them to use the ball launcher toy when you are not around to encourage them.
Even if you have a dog that is not a fetch and returns obsessive and tends to be a bit skittish with play or hasn't really understood the game of fetch, don't despair because these dogs too can be trained to have some good old fashioned alone fun play with a dog ball launcher. There are dog ball launcher toys that come with build in treat dispensers, so if your dog needs a bit of an extra incentive to play on their own, a small treat will help to keep them occupied. Return the ball, get the tasty treat. What dog wouldn't like that game?
The first thing that you will need to do is to help your dog feel comfortable with the ball tossing machine, just in case they get a bit confused or scared when the machine starts shooting out balls. Have your dog sit in a position where they can see the ball being release but not too close to cause alarm, maybe a few feet away, and then shoot the ball out and encourage your dog to fetch it and return to the machine. Keep your hand over the machine return slot and when your dog goes to release the ball, let it fall through your fingers and into the machine. Wait and repeat, possibly using treats when the ball is dropped into the machine for extra positive reinforcement. If you keep this up, your dog will get the hang of it and won't need your hand to be over the slot to release the ball.
Before you purchase an automatic ball launcher, make sure that you understand all the different types on the market and the pros and cons of each different type. If you are unsure that your dog will really love and use an automatic ball launcher, we recommend trialling the concept first with a gravity-based ball launcher, rather than a full blown electric or battery operated ball launcher. The gravity-operated launchers won't toss the ball as far, they are safer and much more cost-effective than a top of the range automatic ball launcher with motion sensors and other bells and whistles. Also, a gravity automatic ball launcher will be a lot safer in smaller spaces and they are a good way to train your dog safely.
When your new automatic ball launcher arrives, make sure you read all the literature included in the box, so that you understand the throwing distances and the force that will be released when the launcher throws a ball for your dog. Take these factors into consideration when you are finding the right place to set up your ball launcher so that it will not cause any injury to people or damage to property. The last thing you need is to set off your ball launcher and break a window! Also when setting up your ball launcher safely, take into account how your dog will react to the new toy. If they are super excited or even super nervous and scared, this can lead to accidents for either you or your dog, so make sure the amount of space is appropriate for the ball launcher to operate. And if all else fails to get your dog interested in using the ball launcher, a special treat will go a long way to showing your dog that the ball launcher toy is a great addition to their lives.