If you can’t keep up with your dog’s demands for yet another game of fetch, this gizmo could save your throwing arm. The iFetch flings balls from between 10 to 39 feet (depending on the model) and it can even be operated by your pooch. All your dog has to do is drop the ball into the funnel and wait for it to shoot out the front. The device is powered by batteries or electricity and each model has three distance settings, which can be selected via the press of a button. Shira Klazmer, marketing manager of iFetch, explains why pets love iFetch.

Why did you create this device for dogs?

The idea for the iFetch started one afternoon when Grant Hamill was in high school and was trying to do his homework at the kitchen table. His toy poodle, Prancer, kept dropping the ball at his feet, begging him to play fetch. Twenty minutes later, with Grant growing tired of the game and Prancer as energetic as ever, Grant finally asked, “What if we made something that could throw the ball for Prancer so I can finish my homework?”

When Grant’s grandfather, Denny, heard about the idea, he said, “Why not? This could be a fun family project.” And from such simple beginnings, the iFetch was born. Several months later, after hundreds of hours of researching, prototyping, testing, and refining, we finally launched our Kickstarter campaign on June 17, 2013. Thirty days and more than 1,000 backers later, we had received $88,000 — more than four times our original goal.

Due to popular demand, we also released the iFetch Too in November 2015, a larger version of the iFetch that uses standard size tennis balls, launches the ball up to 39 feet farther and is powered by a rechargeable, internal battery. Most recently, we released the Frenzy in March 2016. A gravity-driven (battery-free) interactive fetch toy that rolls mini tennis balls along the floor in one of three directions at random.

How does the iFetch work?

The iFetch is powered by six C batteries or by plugging it into the wall. It has three distance settings on the back that are easy to switch with just the press of a button. It can launch mini tennis balls 10, 23 or 30 feet. One ball is dropped in — either by the dog or human — at a time.

The iFetch Too is powered by a rechargeable, internal battery. It has four distance options on the back that are also easy to switch with the press of a button. It can launch standard size tennis balls 10, 25 or 39 feet. It also has a random setting that will launch the ball at a random distance each time.

The Frenzy requires zero power and is completely gravity-driven. One ball at a time is dropped in the top and rolls out one of the three chutes along the base at random.

Do pets actually enjoy iFetch?

Of course pets like iFetch! Pets who are very fetch-driven and energetic are constantly craving a game of fetch. The idea behind the original iFetch was to provide an option for pets to play fetch even when their humans are occupied or gone from the house. It’s a great option for pets while their humans are away at work or simply unavailable. However, many of our customers play the iFetch products with their pets. It creates a great bonding experience and is enjoyable and entertaining for the entire family. It provides both mental and physical stimulation for pets and is great for their health by encouraging exercise and movement.

Is the iFetch totally safe for dogs to use?

Our automatic ball launchers can cause harm if your pup were to stand directly in front of it when the ball launches. So just like any other electronic device that launches balls, it’s important to supervise your pup while they are first learning to play with the toy. In the same way that you wouldn’t hand a tennis ball launcher to a child without first showing them how to play safely, we encourage our customers to help their pups to learn how to use our products safely by learning to drop the ball in the funnel and then “mark” out a safe spot — out of the line of fire — for their dog. Otherwise, our toys are all perfectly safe.

The Frenzy is a great option for any dogs who may be skittish and scared of noises or sudden launching.

How easy is it to train a dog to use the iFetch

It really just depends on the dog. Some dogs catch on in 20 minutes, others take a few weeks. It’s important to be consistent with training and to do short training sessions frequently. Positive reinforcement is highly encouraged, and we know your pup will catch on.

-Daniel Casillas