Ever since my sister adopted Clancy as a rescue puppy, you probably notice I’ve been taking every chance I get to highlight dog treats and dog toys. Part of the reason, of course, is that animal and pet charities are near and dear to my heart, and when I come across companies that make great products that contribute to them, I’m always eager to showcase them and let people know about them.
But another reason is that it’s just so darned fun to try out new products with Clancy. He’s still in that puppy mode where he just wants to play, play, play all the time. And as I’ve shown in previous posts, he’s turning into a very, very athletic dog with an energy that doesn’t quit.
Now my sister will readily admit that she’s the epitome of the phrase “throws like a girl”. And while my arm is a little better than hers, I don’t think if I were a centerfielder I could throw a baserunner out at home on the fly, or even after five bounces. But luckily for both of us, there’s the awesome ball tosser from Planet Dog called “Wood Chuck”.
Like other ball tossing toys, this one uses the laws of physics to allow someone with girly or girly-man muscles to throw a ball like a major leaguer. I’m no physicist, but I believe it uses the concept of leverage to let someone who ordinarily couldn’t throw 10 feet to throw 100 feet. And for dogs that love to run, no doubt they’re saying “it’s about time”.
At first I wondered if they built it with wood just so they could name it with a silly pun. But after trying it out, I’m finding that it’s one of the best ball tossers I’ve ever used. Unlike plastic, which get dirty and icky and can break pretty quickly, the bamboo wood used in this product stays clean and beautiful looking and is very, very durable. One end of the toy is a “claw” that is perfectly sized to hold Planet Dog balls (in their catalog, they mark certain balls as being “Wood Chuck Friendly”), and can also hold tennis balls. One added benefit–for the inevitable point of play when your rubber ball becomes totally covered in drool, you can actually load up this toy without touching the call–just put the “claw” over the ball and press down on the wood with a little force. Voila–you’re loaded up for another long throw.
The other end of the tosser is the handle, which is made up of smooth, rounded, and solid cork. It’s extremely comfortable on the hands and is ergonimic–no matter what your tossing style or whether you toss with one hand or two hands, it feels great. On a side note, both the bamboo and the cork are natural, the wood is produced sustainably and the cork is made from reused scraps. It’s always fun to read the labels on Planet Dog products–they have the familar recycling logo with the three arrows, but the words read “Reduce, Reuse, Rewoof”.
Cleanup is a snap–just wipe it down after each use, and don’t leave it in the rain or out among the elements. And of course, keep it out of doggie’s reach if doggie thinks everything is a chew toy.
Planet Dog also makes the best dog balls around. My sister said that Clancy’s favorite ball by far was this Orbee-Tuff Glow For Good ball from Planet Dog. In fact, it was such a great dog that one day my sister came home after a session in the park, only to realize that one of Clancy’s pals in the dog park ran away with it. Happily, we have another one now to take its place.
This ball has a lot of great things going for it. First of all, it scores 5 of 5 chompers on the “chew-o-meter” scale, which is Planet Dog’s measure of how durable a toy is. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, there isn’t a dog toy yet that Clancy hasn’t totally destroyed and disemboweled, but even after hours with this ball, it’s good as new.
There are other great things about this ball. It’s got a minty flavor (when I opened the box, the whole thing smelled minty fresh); I’m not sure how much this really does towards freshening doggie’s breath, but on the positive side you don’t need to hold your breath as you might with an old tennis ball with weeks and weeks of slobber baked in. It’s also glow-in-the-dark (the kind where you hold it up to a light for a while), which is useful for late night sessions. And there’s a “treat hole” in it, like a Kong, so doggie will have hours of fun trying to get it out (my sister, who’s a vet, explained to me that it’s not mean and dogs don’t get frustrated like humans do, as this just encourages their natural instincts.
Here’s some video of Clancy and me at a house we rented over the weekend with a huge (and I mean huge) meadow. I figured, what better opportunity to put the Wood Chuck to the test? Here’s a video of me chucking the ball to Clancy.
As you can see, the Wood Chuck has a nice long handle, which means I can throw the ball really far–I was getting close to 80-100 yards at one point, which made me start feeling like Peyton Manning. It was about double what I could throw just with my hands. And as you can see, it took me a little while to figure it out, but once I got the hang of it I could grip and throw the ball without touching it, meaning that the none of Clancy’s dripping drool got on my hands.
You can see from the video that Clancy was having a ball (literally). This video only shows a few minutes, but we were out there about an hour, and he just didn’t seem to get tired–and then he wanted more that evening, the next morning, and the next afternoon; he just didn’t get tired; from start to end of our tossing sessions he’d run to fetch the ball at full speed and run back at full speed.
I was throwing the ball so far that there were times he’d lost track of it, but then his hunting instincts would kick in and he’d be able to use his nose to track the ball down, his tail tagging vigorously the whole time he was looking, and then he’d prance back to me proudly once he found it. Clancy’s a mutt, so we’re not sure what breeds he has in him, but clearly he’s got the athleticism, the nose, and the unbridled enthusiasm of a great hunting and sporting dog.
This weekend was one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in a while, and a lot of it is thanks to the Wood Chuck. While ordinarily my arm would get sore from all that throwing, this toy let me keep up with Clancy and really maximize his exercise. He was pretty conked out, sleeping like a puppy through the whole night.
And best thing about these products is that, 2% of all purchases at Planet Dog funds a great cause. Purchase of the Wood Chuck in particular goes to the training, placement, and support of service dogs that help people in need nationwide. And purchase of the Glow for Good ball, as the name suggests, goes even further. 100% (that’s right, 100%) of the proceeds of the ball support the Planet Dog Foundation and the various causes it supports.
For more information, visit the Planet Dog Foundation Web site. This great cause has supported over $1 million in amazing causes, thanks to the purchases and donations of dog lovers everywhere.
I have some more Planet Dog products to show you, but the Wood Chuck and a durable Planet Dog ball should be on the “must have” list of every pet owner out there. If you know a pet owner who doesn’t have one, there are few better “essential” gifts you can give.