Playing fetch is one of the most fun parts of having a dog. But sometimes, our furry friends have much more energy than we do, and they're a bit bummed when we're ready to stop the game. Wouldn't it be great if they could catch as many tennis balls as their little hearts desired? A man called George G. wondered about this and, with the help of some age-old technology, created a device for his dog Olive to play fetch on her own.
The man, who is known as u/GoesUp on Reddit, shared a video of the catapult he made for his pup. He describes his invention as the “first-ever recorded completely dog-operated tennis ball catapult.” Despite its simple mechanism, getting the design right wasn't straightforward. He recalls turning to trial and error when it came to elements like overall height, weight balance, and cord attachment spots. “Just thinking and tinkering. I tried to find plans on the internet and couldn't, so I started playing around,” he wrote. According to a video posted to his YouTube channel, he built the first iteration about 12 years ago.
When asked about the details of his invention, he explained, “The arm has a hole in it and pivots on a thin metal rod.” He also went on to give further insight into the static part, which is made of two parallel boards. “The arm swings between them, and pivots on…a big nail. The nail is at the top. Paddle is indeed attached with an old hinge.”
Above all, the catapult would be nothing without its clever operator and client. George G. recounted that training his dog to use was surprisingly fast. “That video pretty much shows how long it took to teach her to use it,” he wrote. To achieve it, he gave Olive a command for loading the ball, and showed her what to do for launch, adding: “It only took a few minutes to be honest. Olive was NUTS for fetch, so training her to do something that resulted in more fetch was pretty quick.”