If your dog loves to chase a ball, let the PetSafe® Automatic Ball Launcher do the hard work for you
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
What it says it does:
Can be used indoors and out
9 distance and 6 angle settings
Holds up to 3 tennis balls at a time
Built-in safety sensor
Mains or battery operated
Our tester said:
This ball launcher is as much fun for the owner as the dog as it really is hilarious to see how excited your dog gets.
I tested this both indoors and outside in my garden, although you need plenty of room and no antiques in range when operating it indoors.
My dog (Casper) is obsessed with chasing balls so was instantly inquisitive when he saw me loading tennis balls into the launcher (so much so, he kept putting his snout into the firing hole to try to get them out!).
You can alter the distance and angle of the balls with the knobs on the outside of the machine then, after playing a little tune, a ball is launched quite forcefully across the room. Casper loved it and looked a little confused at first as to where the ball was coming from, but he soon got the hang of it and you could see his excitement visibly increasing when the tune began to play, signalling the launch of the next ball. Sweet!
One of the objectives of the ball launcher is to encourage the dog to bring the ball back and place it in the hopper on top, ready to be relaunched. Easier said than done – Casper is an 11 year-old lab-collie cross and refused to put the ball back in, but then he never brings the ball to me when I throw it for him manually. I think if we were playing with this outside in the summer, he would (hopefully) get the hang of it but, as the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
Due to the restrictions of the weather and time of year, we tested it in the garden for only a short time but were very impressed with its velocity. The ball shot across the far end of our reasonably-sized garden and Casper took off after it with a vengeance. This would be a fun plaything for the summer months or in a local park if you don’t have a large enough garden.
Quite a sturdy machine, it feels good quality and looks smart. It runs on a mains lead as well as batteries so you could take it to the park or on holiday with you, although it is quite heavy.
It also has a built-in sensor that detects if a pet or human is within firing range so it won’t cause injury, and it also has a ‘rest’ timer too which means it launches balls for 15 minutes then ‘rests’ for 15 minutes so your dog (and you!) won’t get exhausted.
The PetSafe® Automatic Ball Launcher costs £129.99, which I think is quite expensive for what is essentially a dog toy but it is great fun and may be a good investment for those with limited mobility who perhaps can’t throw a ball for their dog. And if you can teach your dog to bring the ball back and put it in the launcher yourself, you’ll have it cracked.