As I was perusing Facebook a couple of weeks ago I saw a post bragging about some amazing clearance sales at www.drsfosterandsmith.com. Now, what type of responsible dog mom would I be if I did not scurry over to their website, and check out every single product on their 17 pages of clearance?
One of the more interesting products I came across was the iFetch line of dog toys. There were 3 options, all listed as fun, interactive, automatic toys for your dog to play fetch by him or herself. I went with the one that was for small dogs and was also cheapest. Retailing at $39.99 the $17 I paid was a steal.
A week or so later it finally arrived! As I opened the box my first reaction was “wow, this is really light for an automatic ball throwing toy.” And then I realized that it was an automatic ball throwing toy in the sense that the ball falls out automatically, and a dog could play fetch by himself, but not in the sense that it actually threw or launched a ball for my dog to chase. There were no mechanical parts, or batteries, or power cords. But this is not the company’s fault, I should have looked more closely at the picture.
1.6" iFetch Ball Standard 2.5" ball
Once I got over that initial disappointment I examined the toy some more. The iFetch Frenzy is a blue and white plastic product and it is very lightweight. Your dog plays with this toy by dropping a small 1.6” ball into the top, it then falls down into one of three shoots, and then rolls across the floor for your dog to chase. It comes with the necessary tennis balls, which are quite a bit smaller than your average tennis ball.
I knew that when I first played with this toy with Dustin I would have to help him. Dustin already loves to fetch and knows how to bring the ball back, he also knows how to drop when asked, and will put something into something else when asked (i.e. a tissue into the trash, a ball into a hoop, etc.). Taking those skills and applying them to a new toy was not difficult for Dustin and he learned how to use the iFetch pretty quickly. If your dog does not already have these three skills I would think that it could potentially take a week or so before your dog was able to play on their own.
According to their website, the iFetch is perfect for small dogs and small spaces. But, because of my small apartment, and his small size, Dustin was having a hard time seeing exactly where the ball exited the iFecth. Dustin is about 12” at the shoulders and weights 19lbs. Most people would call him a big small dog. I honestly can’t imagine this toy working well for a dog smaller than Dustin. His head was just high enough to put the ball into the top, and then when the ball rolled out he had a hard time seeing around the iFetch to see which direction it was rolling. Because he did not immediately see where the ball went it took away some of the immediate gratification, and also some of the fun for him. If the ball had rolled in the same direction every time, and he could predict where it was going to roll, I think he would enjoy this toy a lot more.
My overall rating for this toy would be 3 out of 5 stars. I think that it is innovative, and I like the design. The mechanics of the toy work well, the ball drops and then rolls out, we didn’t have any issues with that at all. There are no flaws in the construction. It appears to be relatively scratch, bite, and drool proof. It is also convenient that the base of this toy can hold the tennis balls. The main reason why I would take two stars off is that I’m just not sure why this product is so much better than just playing fetch with your dog.
The three shoots made it hard for Dustin to find where the ball was coming out of, and by the time he saw, it had already stopped rolling. Most of the fun of fetch is chasing a moving ball, and he didn’t really get that experience with this toy. If I had paid the full $39.99 price tag I honestly think I would have been disappointed. But, for the $17 that I paid it was fine. I don’t love it, I don’t hate it. It’s not a bad product. I was expecting it to be a fun way for Dustin to play fetch without me. And It just doesn’t really do that. The ball only rolls about 5 feet and seems to be fun once or twice but not over and over. As Dustin and I were playing with the iFetch he actually asked me to just throw the ball normally.
My experience with this toy is limited to just playing with Dustin. I think that some dogs who LOVE the tennis ball could potentially have a lot of fun with this toy. But, if your dog is ball obsessed it would also be important to make sure their time with this toy is limited each day.
It appears to be relatively scratch, bite, and drool proof.
Convenient base holds the tennis balls.
It can be fun teaching your dog to play with this toy.
Can be used inside.
Ball-obsessed dogs might really love it.
It is a little big for small dogs.
The ball doesn’t roll very far.
It doesn’t really create a game of fetch, it more so becomes a game of pick up the ball and drop it back in.
I don’t think many dogs will play by themselves for more than one or two drops.
1.6” tennis balls could be hard to find (Kong makes some that are 1.5” but I couldn’t find any other companies that do).
More of an interactive toy for you and your dog to play with together that for your dog to play with alone.
Would I recommend this Product?
For most dogs, probably not. Just play fetch instead.
© Leash and Learn 2018