Somehow I think my dog ended up with a better Christmas than I did when we bought him the Playball, a dog ball launcher. Currently, Cooper is only 7 months old and he is very active and has lots of energy and his favorite thing to do, like a lot of dogs, is play ball. Now a lot of these ball launchers are expensive and do not always have the best reviews. This is one of the cheapest I have found, on Amazon for $70 or at Walmart. It is actually cheaper on Amazon than on the company’s own website.
While the reviews on a lot of these ball launchers are not very positive, so far I have not had any problems with it and I have used it at least an hour everyday since purchasing it. Is has a long battery life, you can plug it in to charge it, and even if the ball gets jammed inside the machine you just have to hold in down for 5 seconds and it uses extra power to push the ball out.
At first my puppy was scared of the machine, but he just loves playing catch so much that he would nervously walk past the machine and then run after the ball. After a few times he got used to the noise and now he gets excited when he hears the loud noise because he learned that meant he could play catch. He also realized the machine would not hurt him. He is a pretty smart pup, so now he knows to bring back the ball towards the machine and he knows where the ball is launched out of the hole. While he has not yet learned to put the ball in the machine himself, he just puts it at my feet, it has become his favorite activity and is a great option especially when it is too cold outside for a long walk or playtime.
This is made more for a smaller sized dog, since the balls are smaller. I was afraid they would be too small but they are perfect for him to carry in is mouth without swallowing them. Plus they are made of a tough material so he is not able to chew it into pieces. There are launchers made for bigger dogs, but under different brands.