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11 Best Automatic Dog Ball Launcher? – Keep Your Dog Entertained

D ogs rely on their owners for playing, exercising, and eating. Leaving the animal alone and unstimulated can have bad effects on its health, so you need to find smart and substantial ways of keeping it busy. In case you have a really energetic pet, an automatic ball thrower can be of great help in keeping it busy and happy while you are around, taking care of other urgent business.

As the dog runs for the tossed ball, it enjoys a great workout session that not only consumes its energy but also helps boost overall health. Stores are flooded with ingenious products that keep pets alert and entertained, so finding the one that best matches your needs could be taunting. Worry not, as we have analyzed the top offers and made a chart of the ones that are really worth looking into.

Why Is It So Important that Your Dog Gets Enough Exercise?

Before being regarded as beloved pets, dogs were bred and raised to help around the household. They were either going hunting with their owners or helping shepherds keep their flock safe and organized. No matter the task, they were running all day long, which allowed them to shed off the extra weight that came from having regular and nutritious meals.

In the meantime, as people became more sedentary, so did the dogs, who turned into pampered pets that no longer had a job but got all the benefits. This, nevertheless, led to serious health problems, which came with high treatment costs.

Specialists say that many of the health problems could be solved if the pets have access to smaller food portions and get enough exercise, which can bring other advantages in the long run:

Lower separation anxiety

Separation anxiety can be triggered by many causes that may have to do with the dog being abandoned or given to a new owner but abrupt changes in its schedule can also lead to it becoming anxious when left alone. One of the solutions seems to be, according to this study, to make sure that your dog exercises enough every day. Whether you make your walks longer or play fetch with it for an hour, this can help it become less nervous, less aggressive, and overall feel happy.

Fewer chances of becoming obese

All that extra energy it gets from dog food and treats needs to be consumed otherwise it will get deposited on its belly and hips. People are not the only ones who struggle with obesity, and this study has shown that exercise is just as important for dogs when it comes to staying healthy and fit.

Delayed aging

If your pet keeps moving, its joints get better lubrication, and this reduces the pain that is associated with old age. Moreover, physical activity has been proved to slow aging by delaying afflictions like diabetes, heart problems, obesity, or kidney issues. Dogs that keep moving are happier, so they are less prone to deal with depression.

More obedient behavior

By playing with your dog, you create a stronger bond with it, which will show in its attitude. As your pet gets to trust your more and more, it will respond better to your demands and may not do such a mess around the house as it used to do. You can even use games to train it, and you will soon have both a healthy and a well-behaved pet.

Feeding pets is an essential task that must not be overlooked, not even when the owner is away from home. A gadget of great help in times like those is the automatic cat feeder that dispenses kibble following a precise schedule, thus making sure the pet is well fended for.

Top 11 Automatic Ball Throwers Comparison

Photo
Product Name
Shooting Distance
Ball Compatibility
Balls Included
Funnel Capacity
Distance Settings
Warranty
Price

Best Overall
10-40 feet
2.5″ tennis balls
3 x 2.5″ tennis balls
1
3
6 months
10-40 feet
2.5″ tennis balls
3 x 2.5″ non-abrasive tennis ball
1
4
6 months

Best for The Money
Up to 45 feet
2.5″ tennis balls or 1.5 dog tennis balls
3 x 2.5″ tennis balls
17 tennis balls for dogs (2.5″) / 23 small (1.5″) dog tennis balls
3
6 months

Editor’s Choice
8-30 feet
Standard size tennis balls 2 5/8” in diameter or smaller
2 standard-sized tennis balls
3
9
1 year

Best with Treat Dispenser
10-30 feet
2″ tennis balls
3 x 2″ non-abrasive pet safe tennis balls
3
3
1 year

Best for Indoor
10-25 feet
Standard size tennis balls 2 5/8” in diameter
1 standard non-abrasive tennis ball
1
2
90 days
10-30 feet
1.85″ tennis balls
3 x 1.85″ tennis balls
1
3
N/A
10 – 26 feet
2″ balls
3 mini tennis balls
5
3
1 year
Up to 20 feet
1.5″ mini-sized balls
3 smooth saliva resistant balls
1
3
N/A
12 feet
Small tennis balls
3 small tennis balls
1
1
N/A
5-16 feet
2″ tennis balls
3 small tennis balls
1
2
1 year
Playing with your dog indoors will result in plenty of mess, as they tend to shed all-year-round. A robot vacuum for pet hair can help you deal with the stubborn hairs that are very hard to take out from carpets, so you can have more time to enjoy playing with your four-legged companion.

1. iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 14 x 13 x 12 in.
  • Balls Diameter: 2.5″
  • Shooting Range: 10-40 ft.
  • Suitable for: Medium and Large Dogs
  • Power Supply: Rechargeable battery
  • Distance Settings: 3
  • Angle Settings: 1
  • Extras: Random distance setting , Safe-distance button
  • Warranty: 6 months


The large model from iFetch stands out through a modern, curvy design and is made from durable plastic that makes it fit for both inside and open-air use. The 4 molded legs ensure it maintains its balance even when shouting at greater lengths. It is an easy-to-use tool that will soon become a dog’s favorite toy, and there’s no doubt that dog parents will love it too, seeing how it can work independently for hours with a full battery.

Best Friend for Big Dogs

Numerous ball throwers like the Etna Gotcha Talking Dog Fetch Toy or Felix & Fido Playball! are designed to work with undersized dog balls, and this is ideal if you own a Chihuahua or a Pekinese, but not so great if you are trying to entertain a larger dog, as the mini balls can easily turn into a choking danger. In this case, iFetch Too is definitely the correct pick, and here’s why:

  • Large tennis balls – this model uses regular-size tennis balls that have a diameter of 2.5” and can help keep a big dog entertained without posing any risk. The set includes 3. If at some point, you need to replace them, iFetch can offer sets for a really good price, or you can decide to use customary tennis balls, which will work just fine.
  • Customizable flinging distance – it can send the ball to 10 feet, 25 feet, or 40 feet. It is up to you to decide which is the right one by using the slider on the back of the unit.
  • Random distance launching – if you want to make things more exciting for your pup, you can select Random mode, which will alternate the distances at which the unit sends the balls.

The greatest aspect of this machine is that you won’t need to constantly feed the balls to it. It is created with two openings: a smaller one, through which the ball is thrown, and a larger one that can be used by your pup to place the ball back in. It may take a bit of patience to get it to learn the trick, but once it does it, the fun can go on for hours.

Indoor and Outdoor Training

This a toy for all year round usage, as it was conceived to be used both in parks, dog playgrounds, or your backyard, and in indoor spaces, so it can keep the fun level up even if it is raining or your dog is not a big fan of snow.

  • Safety 10-feet space limit – there’s no need to worry that it may destroy something around the house, as it comes with the preset 10-ft. shouting distance option. Just make some room for the dog to play and activate this function.
  • Immediate launching – iFetch’s way to protect your pup is to toss the ball as soon as it is released into the funnel, so the dog doesn’t have time to get into the machine’s shooting range.
  • Rechargeable battery – last but not least, this model comes with a rechargeable battery that can last through about 300 ball launchings, so the pup can have a lot of fun before you will need to plug the unit in for more energy.

You will find a lot of videos and instructions on the builder’s website, which explain how to use the machine and how to train your dog to do it. Moreover, the company throws in a 6-month service assurance that will cover both parts and repairs, assuming that the machine was used as instructed.

Performance Results – What Do Experts Say?

The iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher is a great pick if you own a large dog, as it can throw regular-size tennis balls and thus saves you of all the worries that your canine companion may choke on the small balls the other models are using. We have tried it on our German Shepard, which is extremely active and kind of obsessed with ball retrieving, and it operated flawlessly.

The dog was already accustomed to the iFetch One, so it didn’t take it long to realize that this was just a larger version of the one it used to know. It just kept on with its routine, fetching the ball and placing it back in the large opening. We were glad that this training part was already resolved as it did take a little time to do it the first time.

The battery lasts just as described. Doggo is fetching ball for about 2 hours a day (it truly is a very active dog), and the machine never ran out of power. I recharge it every night and clean it, especially after days when it was used outdoors. Overall, it is a nice acquisition that offers your pet the chance to exercise while you get a couple of hours to relax, so it is worth every penny.

Linda Tauson, Technical Writer and Product Tester


PROS

  • Works with large balls, so it is safe to use around big dogs
  • Easily customizable distance options
  • Launches the ball immediately to protect the pup
  • Includes a random distance option for more fun
  • Long-lasting rechargeable battery

CONS

  • Shouting angle cannot be adjusted
  • As with most models, the balls tend to wear pretty fast, and you need to replace them periodically


Verdict

This model will provide many hours of fun for your big furry friend, helping it keep its instincts sharp and good muscle tonus. It is a durable machine that can be used outdoors without a problem but which can serve as a good indoor entertainer during the winter.


If you like dogs but your schedule doesn’t allow you to fend for a real one, try getting a robot dog that requires minimal attention. One of the models in our chart might become your best buddy to keep you company and accustom you to owning a pet.


2. iDogmate Ball Launcher

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 13.39 x 9.84 in.
  • Balls Diameter:1.5”/2.5”
  • Shooting Range: 10-40 ft.
  • Suitable for: Small and Medium Dogs
  • Power Supply: AC Plug or Rechargeable battery (included)
  • Distance Settings: 4
  • Angle Settings: 1
  • Extras: Automatic power saver , Remote control
  • Warranty: 6 months


The version for bigger pups from iDogmate comes with 3 2.5” balls made of a hard material that can’t be chewed with ease and promises to be a dependable tool in training your pal to retrieve and place the ball back in, due to the large funnel (24 mm by 24 mm) that allows it to hit the spot every time. You can place 3 balls in the funnel at the same time, so this model can be used to entertain more than one dog and works great with more active pups. Similar to the iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher, it is suitable for both open-air and interior use, as the distance span can be effortlessly adjusted to go from 10 to 40 feet, and it is quite a compact product that can be easily carried around.

The included remote lets you select the distance and activate the device. Also, two power supplies are available so it can be plugged into an AC outlet or it can work on the included rechargeable battery. To save battery life, the machine turns off after a period of standby, in case the animal feels tired and no longer wants to play. If you have an anxious pet, don’t fear that it will be frightened by the machine, as it doesn’t make loud and disturbing noises.

PROS

  • It accommodates two ball sizes
  • The rechargeable battery lasts very long
  • The hurling range is generous
  • The remote lets you assist the game

CONS

  • The balls are not very solid
  • It doesn’t throw as far as stated at the highest distance


Verdict

Great for all dogs, it is a smart purchase. It works with two types of balls to fit many breeds. The fact that it very quiet as compared to other similar devices makes it a great addition for people with nervous dogs.



3. GoDogGo Fetch Machine G4

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 14.02 x 15 x 17.99 in.
  • Balls Diameter: 2.5″ tennis balls or 1.5 dog tennis balls
  • Shooting Range: Up to 45 feet
  • Suitable for: Small, Medium, and Large Dogs
  • Power Supply: AC Plug or Batteries (not included)
  • Distance Settings: 3
  • Angle Settings: Adjustable
  • Extras: 3 time settings, Remote control, Auto stop
  • Warranty: 6 months


The biggest concern when playing with a fetch toy is that it will send the ball directly to the face of the dog, hurting the poor thing. This will never happen with the GoDogGo, thanks to an ingenious design hack called Safety Arc. It shoots balls upward to keep animals out of a direct pattern.

The tall design, with a large funnel to hold up to 25 balls, makes it more appropriate for big breeds that won’t have a problem reaching into the feeder. Furthermore, this is one of the most convenient machines because it’s suitable for a diversity of ball sizes, ranging from 1.75” to 2.5” and just like the iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher, it already comes with 3 balls. Three distance options are available, Low, Medium, and High, along with three time settings to launch the ball with 4, 7, and 15 seconds pauses.

With two power sources, it can be used inside and outside the house. Equally important, the remote control will allow you to change the settings with ease from a distance. The auto-stop safety sensor will offer on-demand fetch on every occasion the dog wants to play. In case you are not happy with the product, you can return it within 30 days or you can benefit from the 6-month warranty.

PROS

  • Remote control with 50 feet range
  • A 6-month warranty period and 30-day return
  • Upward ball lunch for safety
  • Compatible with multiple ball sizes

CONS

  • It makes a loud noise when launching
  • Not intended for tiny pups


Verdict

We recommend it because it’s safe for the dog since it doesn’t throw balls directly at it. Also, it works with many ball sizes so it will be a great fit for many breeds. The warranty policy is very alluring as you can return the product free of charge.



4. PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 13.8 x 14 in.
  • Balls Diameter: 2 5/8”
  • Shooting Range: 8-30 ft.
  • Suitable for: Medium and Large Dogs
  • Power Supply: AC Plug or 6 Batteries (not included)
  • Distance Settings: 9
  • Angle Settings: 6
  • Extras: 15 minute rest interval after 15 minutes of play , Audible tone alerts, Motion sensor
  • Warranty: 1 year


A leading manufacturer in the pet-related products industry, PetSafe brings to the table this clever device in a stylish design that can be used by canines of small and average dimensions. Protection is of utmost importance, bearing in mind that the ball is expelled automatically, and you wouldn’t want it to hit the pup in the face. The movement sensor located on the front can detect movement from up to 7 feet away. Additionally, a ball detection sensor is located in the launch pocket. They work together to keep the dog protected and away from the shooting ball.

The audible tones will help your pet understand what to do, thus reducing the chances of getting hit. The ball funnel is outsized, making it simple for the pet to position the ball, and it’s not very tall, so tiny pups will not have trouble releasing the ball. It can pitch from 8 to 30 feet so the ball doesn’t go as far as it does with models like iDogmate Ball Launcher or GoDogGo Fetch Machine G4. The shooting distance can be set to 9 different stages, and you also have 6 angle settings at your disposal. Moreover, this waterproof device stops after 15 minutes of play, a rest feature specially designed to prevent over-exerting.

Due to the adaptable flinging range and the dual power source, it can successfully be used inside the house and outside. It works best with 2.5” tennis balls, but it can also perform with smaller types. Created by the PetSafe brand, it comes with a 1-year limited warranty and US-based customer care which provides friendly assistance.

PROS

  • Capable of detecting movement from up to 7 feet away
  • Pauses for 15 minutes
  • Several distance and angle choices
  • Able to throw within a wide range
  • Audible tones to announce when the ball will be thrown

CONS

  • Not appropriate for tiny pups
  • It gets confused if the dog stands in the sensor array


Verdict

This is an interesting device for small and average to large-sized pups. It is packed with protective sensors, several distance levels, and tone alerts. To make playtime more challenging, it sends the ball far.



5. Paws & Pals Automatic Dog Ball Launcher

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 14.3 x 11 x 10.7 in.
  • Balls Diameter: 2”
  • Shooting Range: 10-30 ft.
  • Suitable for: Small, Medium, and Large Dogs
  • Power Supply: AC Plug or Batteries (not included)
  • Distance Settings: 3
  • Angle Settings: 1
  • Extras: Indicator lights, Food compartment
  • Warranty: 1 year


In terms of design, this one scores big points. It is stylish and modern, being a great home addition that will not take too much space since it is very space-friendly. Given how short it is, it is the ultimate companion for short and medium-sized pups. The construction is weather resistant so it can be used in the open air anytime. The funnel is generous, so dogs can effortlessly drop the ball that will be ejected through the front hole.

Similar to PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher, it uses 2” balls and can send a ball up to 30’ high, but you can also decide to fling at 10’ or 20’. Each selection will be visible through the light indicators. Three pet-safe balls are included in the package, but you can always use balls smaller than 2”. It’s a fantastic way to exercise outdoors, but it can also be used inside the house, with caution. Due to the treat partition, it can also be used as a feeder or as a rewarding means for the good boy that carried the ball back.

PROS

  • Modern design
  • Indicator lights to let you know the distance selected
  • Wide ball feeder
  • Treat compartment

CONS

  • No sensor to detect if the dog stands in front of it
  • It has a hard time launching wet and dirty balls


Verdict

With a modern layout and a built-in treat dispenser, we are convinced that this is will become their new favorite toy. Take care that the balls are always clean; otherwise, the machine will hardly throw them.



6. Franklin Pet Supply Ready Set Fetch

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 14.25 x 12 x 8.75 in.
  • Balls Diameter: 2.75”
  • Shooting Range: 10-25 ft.
  • Suitable for: Medium and Large Dogs
  • Power Supply: AC Plug or 8 Batteries (not included)
  • Distance Settings: 3
  • Angle Settings: 3
  • Extras: Audible alert
  • Warranty: 90 days


This is an exceptional pick for playing inside the house, but it can also be used outdoors due to the battery feature that lasts for hours. Made of superior plastic, it is lightweight, so it won’t be hard taking it outside for a play round. It is a bit tall, so tiny pups might find it hard to place the ball in the funnel, but it is ideal for average-sized four-legged pals.

Balls measuring 2.75” fit through the feeding channel but can also work with smaller ones. A single ball is counted in the package, unlike other models that include at least 3 balls (iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher, iDogmate Ball Launcher, GoDogGo Fetch Machine G4). It tosses balls at 10’ or 25’, and it also offers 3 angles, permitting you to use the bottom legs to elevate or lower the device. A nice feature is the safety signal that can be heard prior to firing the ball. To announce the ball is approaching, a sound will be heard, and you can decide to turn it on or off, in case your dog is frightened by loud noises.

PROS

  • Space-friendly design
  • Great for average and large size animals
  • Generous fun for effortless ball positioning
  • Modifiable flinging angle

CONS

  • Comes with only one ball
  • The balls don’t reach very far


Verdict

Great for use inside, it will be the best buddy for your pet to play with when you are busy. It comes with a basic ball that can be shot at various lengths and it fits very well average to large animals. The distance is not very challenging for very active animals.



7. Pet Prime Interactive Fetch Toy

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 10.6 x 10.2 x 8.3 in.
  • Balls Diameter: 1.85″
  • Shooting Range: 10-30 ft.
  • Suitable for: Small Dogs
  • Power Supply: AC Plug or 6 C Batteries (not included)
  • Distance Settings: 3
  • Angle Settings: 1
  • Extras: 24/7 customer service
  • Warranty: N/A


The mini model from Pet Prime is the perfect choice for an active small dog. First, because it can toss small 1.85” balls that will fit into the pup’s small mouth, helping it retrieve them easier, and secondly because it is super convenient for the owner to carry a more compact and lightweight machine to the playground. This toy weighs only 4.69 lbs. and measures 10.6 by 10.2 by 8.3 inches, boasting a stable design that guarantees it will not tip over while launching the balls.

You can regulate the flinging distance by selecting either 10”, 20”, or 30”. The first option is great if you want to use the machine inside, as it ensures the ball doesn’t get out of control and hit something around the house. A series of LEDs placed on the back of the machine allows you to quickly check the option chosen. The preset angle works ok for most pups, and this is all you get, actually, as this model doesn’t let you alter the angle compared to the Franklin Pet Supply Ready Set Fetch, for example.

It features two power options. Thus, if you use it around the house or in your back yard, you can plug it into a wall outlet and get it functioning for as long as you need, but if you decide to take your pup to a dog park, you can place 6 C batteries in the battery section and offer it a good moment of fun.

If you need to replace the balls (they tend to deteriorate in time as they get filled with saliva), Pet Prime offers 6-piece sets for a good price. Moreover, they have a helpful customer service team, which will answer your questions and try to solve any issues you may encounter with the machine 24/7.

PROS

  • Throwing distance can be easily attuned
  • Two power options allow it to be used both around the house and remotely
  • Small ball compatibility makes it the right choice for tiny pups
  • Lightweight design makes it easy-transportable

CONS

  • The throwing angle cannot be adjusted
  • Fit only for small dogs – the 1.85” balls can represent a choking risk for larger dogs


Verdict

If you have a small dog, it will greatly enjoy this model, which can toss balls to its size. You can change the distance to fit the environment where the play happens and also choose the way this toy should be powered. A small disadvantage could be that the tossing angle cannot be attuned, but most small dogs will find the preset angle ideal for the play.



8. gosh! SmartPult Ball Launcher

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 9.84 x 7.09 x 11.81 in
  • Balls Diameter: 2”
  • Shooting Range: 10-26 ft.
  • Suitable for: Small and Medium Dogs
  • Power Supply: AC adapter or 6 C batteries
  • Distance Settings: 3
  • Angle Settings:
  • Extras: WiFi connectivity, Dog food dispenser
  • Warranty: 1 year


This model boasts a slick design and a plethora of impressive features. It’s among the most stylish devices that blend seamlessly into modern homes due to its futuristic design and vibrant green finish. By far, the characteristic that makes it pop out is the Internet compatibility that makes it a great addition for busy people who want to keep an eye on their dog while away from home. Using its app compatibility, you can connect it via your home WiFi and control it remotely. You will know when the connection is good through the flickering blue light on the housing.

Since it uses 2” balls, it is the supreme companion for small and medium-size animals, and it can dispense 5 balls consecutively for an endless fun time. Furthermore, it can be adjusted in three different distance settings, including 3, 6, and 8 meters. They can be set by pressing the select button mounted on the top.

One of the most interesting elements is the snack dispenser on the side that will offer treats and kibble (also present in Paws & Pals Automatic Dog Ball Launcher and BallReady Ball Thrower). You can use it to feed the dog since you can create a schedule using the app, or it can dispense treats as a recompense for recovering the ball. In the event of dealing with malfunctions, the device is covered by a 1-year warranty.

PROS

  • It can carry up to 5 balls
  • It doubles as a feeder due to the treat dispenser
  • It boasts a stylish design
  • Ideal for small to average pups

CONS

  • It often disconnects from the internet
  • It’s a bit tall so small pups can’t reach into the ball feeder


Verdict

It has more features than other similar devices. It works for short and medium-sized canines and it is capable of carrying up to 5 balls. It is simple to set up and operate and your pets will enjoy playing with it.



9. Felix & Fido Playball!

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 12 x 8 x 9 in.
  • Balls Diameter: 1.5”
  • Shooting Range: 20 ft.
  • Suitable for: Small Dogs
  • Power Supply: AC Plug or 6 C Batteries
  • Distance Settings: 3
  • Angle Settings: 1
  • Extras: High-quality balls
  • Warranty: N/A


This model is ideal for short pets as it works with 1.5” diameter balls, much smaller than most of its competitors. Due to the three settings, Close, Medium, and Long, you can choose how far you want the ball to be flung, so it can be used inside the house without any risk of accidents. Each time you select a distance, a light will turn on, letting you know how far it will land. The maximum length is around 20 feet, so it’s not very far, even on the highest level.

Three balls come in the box, made of a material that is resistant to saliva, so they won’t get damaged after each grab. However, wet balls are harder to throw, so you must make sure you clean them after each play round. Dogs won’t have a problem recovering the ball as the funnel is very generous in size. The power cable is included, and you can also put batteries if you want to use it outdoor.

PROS

  • Space-friendly design
  • Great for average and large size animals
  • Generous fun for effortless ball positioning
  • Modifiable throwing angle

CONS

  • Comes with only one ball
  • It doesn’t toss too far


Verdict

A great pic for small breeds, this model is both affordable and easy to use. The balls it throws are small so a pug or corgi can easily retrieve them. The distance to which it launches is not very far but 20’ is often enough to keep a small dog entertained.



10. Etna Gotcha Talking Dog Fetch Toy

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 9 x 8.5 x 6.5 in.
  • Balls Diameter: N/A
  • Shooting Range: 12 ft.
  • Suitable for: Small and Medium Dogs
  • Power Supply: AC Plug or 4 Batteries (both not included)
  • Distance Settings: 1
  • Angle Settings: 1
  • Extras: Voice behavior reinforcement
  • Warranty: N/A


Etna Gotcha is specially designed for short canines because it works with small balls only, smaller in size than customary tennis balls. Three are contained in the package so the fun can start immediately. The compact shape makes it ideal for playing inside the house since it won’t take much space, but it can also be taken outdoors, thanks to the battery feature. Batteries don’t come in the box, but neither is the AC adapter, so you need to find a matching one, which is a major downside.

Unlike other machines with modifiable distance, like the top-ranked iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher or the iDogmate Ball Launcher, this one only throws the ball around 12 feet away, which is very short, compared to those that throw over 20-30 feet away. This means that it will not be a challenging play round for very active canines. The funnel is large, so they won’t have trouble releasing the ball. A nice feature that other machines lack is the voice that entertains the pet. When the ball is tossed, “Get the ball” can be heard through the speaker, and when the dog recovers it, the machine says “Good boy!”, making the animal feel more at ease.

PROS

  • The low-profile design is great for short pups
  • The ball-return funnel is very large
  • Voice commands
  • Simple operation

CONS

  • The tossing range is very small
  • The power cable is not included


Verdict

Small pups will love it, and so will owners who aren’t particularly looking for a piece of complicated and advanced machinery. It comes with 3 miniature balls and features two voice commands that will surely make them feel happy and comfortable while playing.



11. BallReady Ball Thrower

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Size: 11.81 x 7.87 in.
  • Balls Diameter: 2”
  • Shooting Range: 5-16 ft.
  • Suitable for: Small dogs
  • Power Supply: AC Plug or 1 Battery (included)
  • Distance Settings: 2
  • Angle Settings: 1
  • Extras: Dog food dispenser
  • Warranty: 1 year


This is an auto-fetch machine suitable for small to medium canines. It is compact, so it can successfully be used inside the house, even more, since it throws at very small distances up to 5 meters only. You can select between 2m and 5m, depending on how far the animal is willing to run. The distance is minimal compared to its competitors, but along with the low-profile shape, it makes it highly recommended for tiny breeds.

In the box, you will find three balls made of saliva-resistant material, so they will take up some chewing. What we like most is its ability to release food for every 1 or 5 balls returned, as a reward. You can also set a regular feeding schedule for every 12 or 24 hours. This way, your canine companion will have its meal served when you are away. The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty for the device, covering for possible malfunctions or defects.

PROS

  • Made of quality materials
  • Shooting distance settings
  • It hands out snacks
  • It features a meal feeding time option

CONS

  • The distance range is limited
  • The balls are poor quality and tear fast


Verdict

There are some reasons why this would be a great purchase. It is suitable for small to medium pups and doubles as an automatic feeder, so it will be of great help looking after your dog. The distance range, though, is very small, so it’s not a challenging toy.



Training Tips – Teaching Your Dog to Use the Launcher


We can agree that playing fetch is every dog’s favorite activity to share with its owner. Whether you suffer from a physical impairment that keeps you from tossing the ball or you simply want to use that time for something more urgent, the dog can have a blast playing fetch by itself if it gets the hang of operating the device. It might seem complicated at first, but with a bit of patience and involvement from your side, the dog can learn how to operate it and entertain itself.

  • STEP 1

    According to experts, the best way to train dogs to use the device is to use positive and negative reinforcement, so make sure you have a bag of treats around and be prepared to show them “the cold shoulder” each time they don’t respond to your instructions. Note that some machines even come with a food dispenser, so you can use it to treat your dog each time it places the ball back in the funnel.

  • STEP 2

    Start with a “warming up” moment. Don’t turn on the unit but stand next to it while playing fetch with your dog. Place a ball in the funnel and call your dog. If it comes, give them a treat.

  • STEP 3

    Help the dog get accustomed to the warning signal if the model you’ve acquired has one. Turn on the machine and let it sound the signal, then call the dog to you. Reward it with encouragement and maybe a treat.

  • STEP 4

    Throw the first ball. When the animal returns the ball, put it into the funnel, then take it back and toss it again. Say commands like “drop it” or “bucket” so the dog will know what to do after retrieving the ball.

  • STEP 5

    After a few rounds, turn on the machine, place the ball in the funnel, and have the dog sitting next to it. After launching, say “fetch” so it will go after the ball.

  • STEP 6

    When it returns the ball, ask the dog to come next to the machine and discharge the ball into the funnel, saying “drop it” or “bucket”. This will create associations between the ball and the device. After executing the order, give the dog a snack to stimulate it.

  • STEP 7

    When the ball is flung, repeat “fetch” so the canine will run to get it. When it comes back, repeat the “drop it” instruction and offer a new treat. With a few launches, they should get familiar with the machine and will shortly start executing the commands without you having to say them out loud.



Reasons to Make the Purchase


Over the last few years, these devices have increased in popularity as technology advances and aims to make your dog’s health a priority. From physical activity to mental stimulation, all their benefits are amazing, and all those hours of continuous fun are essential for a healthy life.

  • Protected health state

    It stimulates the animal’s mind and keeps it active for as long as they want. Moreover, these toys prevent obesity, keeping your pet healthy and happy. They are designed to enable physical activity, mental stimulus, training, and autonomy in your canines. They work by placing a ball into the device’s chute that throws it anywhere from 10 to 30 feet. They must run to get the ball, they will manage to coordinate eye-body movements, and they will perform the daily mandatory activities that improve the overall health state.

  • Dog training and discipline

    What we like about these products and we consider a great advantage is that the animal can play without human assistance. Also, they learn how to chase and catch an object and retrieve it for another playtime round, which greatly improves their discipline. These devices are great toys that will make your dogs more relaxed. They improve the mood of your pet, providing them with lots of fun and joyful moments even when their beloved human is not around to play.

  • Compensation for your absence

    We must not forget that these machines make up for your absence by offering them a means of playing while you are busy or away. It’s hard to deal with all the daily chores and still find some time to spend with your pet playing fetch, so having a spare solution for times when you are away means keeping your pet happy at all times.



Buying Guide


If you intend to buy a fetch toy for your canine, take a look at this buying guide. Here, you will find everything you need to know, including indispensable features, settings, and performance particularities. You may find some interesting models in stores, but a smart purchase is based on several factors.

  • Distance Adjustment

    There is nothing more weighty than selecting the distance, so you can make the game more challenging. While some throwers can be attuned between 6-16 feet, others can pitch the ball to a distance of 30 feet or more. Big breeds need a machine that throws far away because they need to work out more daily, while small pups need balls thrown closer, or they will shortly lose interest in fetching. For example, GoDogGo G4 can send the ball up to 45 feet, and iFetch Too and iDogmate have good throwing distances as well, going up to 40 feet.

  • Angle customization

    Picking a model that allows you to adapt the angle at which it launches the ball is a wise choice, as this option can prove quite useful when you are trying to use the machine indoors or in outdoor places that come with some restrictions. Most models are set to toss at 45 degrees, nonetheless, which is considered the perfect angle for most situations. PetSafe lets you adapt the angle, offering 6 positions.

  • Suitable for use indoors and out

    As was outlined above, some models are fit for exterior playing, while most models work inside and outside. Still, if you want to buy one for out-of-doors, do not worry about the extension cord because most of these products are equipped with optional battery power that lasts for a long time. Those that throw balls up to 10 ft. are safe for indoors, while the ones that shoot balls further are great for use outside the house.

  • Check the dimensions

    Make an option according to your pet’s size. The regular tennis balls can be returned by medium and large-size canines while the miniature balls are safe to use by small pups. Also, a tall device is not suitable for short breeds because they can’t put the ball into the funnel if they can’t reach it. Some auto ball throwers work with regular balls, while others with miniature balls. This aspect is significant to avert exposing your dog to a risk. Small balls pose a choking threat to large breeds, while big balls might be uncomfortable for the tiny jaws of small pups. iFetch Too is the best you can get for big dogs, while Pet Prime Interactive Fetch Toy works great for small dogs.

  • Costs

    As previously mentioned, there are hundreds of models offered for sale today. Since each device features various functions and settings, the prices may vary widely from a model to another. You can pay a lot of money on a high-quality model that comes packed with the newest features and technologies, but some budget-friendly yet effective devices can rise to your standards. When acquiring a model, make sure to check if you can easily buy replacement balls and pay attention to their price. Some can prove more expensive than you would expect.

  • Warranty

    Some of these models are expensive, so it is normal to expect them to come with a warranty. This after-sale service will protect you in case you receive a unit that has a manufacturing flaw or if the product breaks during normal use. In most cases, the manufacturer will cover parts and labor or replace the product with a functional one. The warranty of launch throwers usually varies from a few months up to 1 year.


Frequently Asked Questions



How long does training take?
On average, it will take 4 to 6 months to teach it to return the ball.

Are automatic ball launchers bad for dogs?
Unless they get hit hard by a ball, there is no risk involved in playing with it. Big canines can play around 2 hours daily, while small ones should limit to 1 hour. Some vets confirm that long-range models can damage the joints, muscles, and cartilages, causing arthritis.

How does an automatic ball launcher work?
It shoots a ball to a specific distance and requires the dog to catch it and drop it in the funnel so it will shoot it again. This cycle can be repeated for as long as the animal enjoys it.

Why do dogs like running after balls?
It reminds them of their history as hunters. They prefer balls over other fetching items because it fits their mouth and is easy to return.

Can I use softballs?
We recommend avoiding using softballs. They are so light that the device won’t throw them too far away. Plus, they are not safe. The foam can break into small pieces that can be ingested.

Do dogs know when to stop playing?
They don’t sweat as people do, but they get tired, so they will probably know when to stop fetching.

How far do automatic ball launchers shoot balls?
It varies from product to product. The lowest starts at 10 feet and can reach 50 feet in high-power machines. Good models let you select the distance.

What size is a regular ball used in tennis?
The diameter, as defined by the International Tennis Federation, is 2.5-2.7”.

Do all dogs play fetch?
The majority loves playing fetch. It accentuates their hunting instincts and keeps them dynamic.

Should you toss a ball high?
Avoid throwing high so the dog will have to jump to catch it. It’s best to throw parallel to the ground, allowing them to reach the ball effortlessly to avoid falling and hurting.



Conclusion

A ball fetcher can be a great companion for your dog when you are not around. It keeps it active both physically and mentally while you are busy, and according to studies, 30 minutes to 2 hours of daily physical movement is highly beneficial. This is why you shouldn’t hesitate to get your beloved pup a machine that will entertain it during the day. Whether you need one to use inside the house or you are careful with your budget, one of the subsequent models will surely meet your requests.

Best Automatic Dog Ball Thrower for Sale: iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher

It needs slight guardianship and provides endless fun outside the house but also inside if required. Suitable for tall dogs, it tosses the ball at up to 40 feet and uses customary 2.5” tennis balls that don’t present a choking hazard. The package arrives with 3 balls, and the machine is prepared to be used on the spot, as it can be connected to an AC power source. For more freedom of movement, you can also use it on batteries. It is a safe model that shuts the ball as soon as it is loaded into the cone, ensuring that the pup doesn’t have time to run in its way and get hurt.

Editor’s Choice: PetSafe

This machine rises to the highest standards due to the qualitative construction and the smart features it incorporates. With 9 distance and 6 angle choices, it can shoot balls at a whopping 30 feet distance. It incorporates motion sensors to avert accidents. Also, audible alerts notify the animal when a ball is about to be tossed so it can take the position and run to fetch it. The generous size makes it suitable for pets of all breeds, especially since it fits medium-size balls that can be caught by small and large breeds alike.

Best Automatic Dog Ball Thrower with Treat Dispenser: Paws & Pals

After a tiresome run-and-fetch, dogs might get hungry, so it’s always helpful having some treats around. The bottom treat compartment is ideal for feeding them portions of their favorite snacks. It can also be used to reward it for being a good boy and bringing the ball back. As for the performance, it can throw at a challenging speed, and it fits common balls, so it is highly versatile.

Best Indoor Automatic Dog Ball Thrower: Franklin Pet Supply Ready Set Fetch

Since it’s not always possible to walk your canine and divert them for hours, we suggest this interactive machine that throws balls automatically. Space-wise, it is really compact, measuring only 8.75” wide and 14.24” tall, so it won’t be hard finding a spot for it. It can throw at small distances of 10 feet, ideal for use inside the house. Furthermore, the throwing angle can be adapted to avoid any accidents happening if it hits an object. To protect the dog against the flying ball, a sound will be heard prior to throwing.

Best Automatic Dog Ball Thrower for the Money: GoDogGo Fetch Machine G4

You won’t believe how many nice features come with it. For starters, it is compatible with multiple ball dimensions, it has a generous funnel-like feeding chute, and it can throw at impressive lengths up to 50 feet. It will be an amazing friend for pups of all sizes, even large breeds that need extensive daily workouts. The flinging time and distances are changeable, but the animal will always be safe from the flung balls due to the exclusive Arc design that lobs the ball upright and not towards the dog.

Adrian Nolan
Adrian Nolan
Adrian has worked as a professional reviewer since finishing college. His passion for writing can be seen in each article he writes as he makes sure to thoroughly research the subjects and provide accurate and comprehensive information. In his spare time, Adrian likes to catch up on the latest news and read books by his favorite authors but makes sure that he never fully disconnects from the world of technology to be the first one who talks about what new features have appeared in his pieces.
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