Playing fetch is a great way to get your dog to exercise, and it will be a lot of fun for both of you. Fetch engages your dog's mind and body. Some breeds, like retrievers and other hunting dogs, enjoy fetching more than most. These dogs could play fetch all day with seemingly endless energy. The PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher was designed for these types of dogs.
I've been checking out videos of this automatic ball launcher for months. I've read some reviews from very happy pet owners, but I was still skeptical. Could a dog really entertain himself with an automatic ball launcher? I had to try the PetSafe Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher for myself!
I was surprised at what happened when I introduced this product to my dogs. I'll tell you all about the quality of the product, how well my dogs like it and whether or not it was easy to train my pack to use it. This detailed review will help you decide if an automatic tennis launcher is right for your pet.
Most dogs will take to this game quite naturally, but you need to train your pet to play the game with you before you can take it up a notch and train them to use an automatic ball launcher. If you're having trouble teaching your dog to retrieve a ball, check out my video guide for step-by-step instructions on how to teach your dog to play fetch.
PetSafe Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher Review
The PetSafe Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher is made for medium and large breeds. It works best with standard size tennis balls (2.5″ in diameter), but can shoot the smaller ones as well. I've tried using the smaller tennis balls, and it does shoot them. However, the balls don't always ‘catch', which means that sometimes the launcher won't fire the ball.
As you'll see in my video review, it definitely gets the job done! You can set this device to launch the tennis ball between 8-30 feet. It has 9 distance settings and 6 angle settings, as well. There are two knobs on the side of the launcher to adjust its range. It takes just a few seconds to pull out the knob and readjust the settings.
Thanks to the various distance settings, this product can be used inside or outdoors. The unit is water-resistant, but not waterproof. It can be used with the included power cord or 6 D-size batteries, which are not included.
In my video review, I mention our Labrador, Saddie. She loves to play fetch, but she's also a little bit timid. Unfortunately, she was a bit scared of the PetSafe Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher when we first received it. She's finally coming around to it now, but we've been using it for about 2 months.
In my review and my photos above, you can see my mixed-breed dog, Joey, who absolutely LOVES this ball launcher. It took me about a week to train him to drop the ball into the launcher himself, but he still doesn't like to do it every time. He's just so excited to chase the ball that he focusses on the launcher and forgets about dropping the ball.
You can queue up 3 tennis balls in the launcher at once. This allows your dog to get the fun of fetching without having to drop a ball in every single time. The device is also equipped with multiple sensors to keep you and your dog safe. The front motion sensor protects you and your pup if you're standing within 7 feet of the launch area.
I also like the rest feature that this launcher is equipped with. As you can tell, Joey would keep fetching a ball all day long as long as the launcher would keep throwing it. There is a 15 minute rest interval after 15 minutes of play to ensure that your dog isn’t playing past the point of exhaustion.
Audible tones will also alert your pooch when the ball is detected and when it will launch. The tones sound when the 2 second motion detection delay is activated and when the 15 minute rest time begins and ends. This makes the training process really simple!
Speaking of the training process, you need to know that it will take training before your dog will enjoy using the PetSafe Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher on his own. You can't just buy this product and expect your dog to teach himself to use it. If you're not willing to put in the effort, the product won't be worth the money.
The good news is that PetSafe includes an easy-to-follow training guide to help pet owners teach their pup how to use the launcher!
Sadly, I can't recommend this product for timid dogs. In my video review, you can hear the sound it makes when it launches the ball. It's not loud, but it is different, and many dogs are uneasy around new devices that make strange noises.
Dirty or wet tennis balls may also affect the performance of the launcher. However, we always use it outdoors and there has never been an issue with the launcher due to debris or moisture. If the ball was launched directly into the mud or water, you may have an issue, but it works just fine for outdoor use on the grass or packed ground.
With advanced technology comes an increased price tag. I was expecting this product to cost $250 or $300 dollars. You can purchase the PetSafe Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher for $169.95 on Amazon right now. It's a little bit less expensive than I expected, but still out of the question for pet owners on a budget.
Of course, an automatic tennis ball launcher isn't a necessity. But, it can save a lot of hassle and headaches if your pet is constantly pestering you to play fetch with him. If you can afford it and your dog loves to play fetch, I do think you'll get your money's worth out of this product.
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