The Fetchball™ Scoop from Cestaball Enterprises, Inc. is something to see! Basically, it’s a 15” long, yellow, lightweight, plastic scoop – like the ones used in the game of Jai-Alai.
It’s wide enough to hold many of the standard dog balls or the ever-favorite tennis ball. The wide tip makes it easy to pick up the ball without touching it. The high side walls keep the ball from falling out of the Scoop, and also help control your throw.
Each Scoop is handcut and assembled in a 40-step process. It has a soft leather glove attached to it by a small bolt. You put the glove on and then strap it closed with Velcro®. The Velcro strap will also fasten the Scoop to your belt for easy carrying.
The object of the Fetchball Scoop, according to creator Neal Scheyer, is to “Never touch a slobbery ball again!” (In a perfect dog world, this may be true, but unfortunately my world doesn’t include perfect dogs.) And it takes the game of fetch a step farther since it allows you to throw the ball up to 150 feet – without throwing your arm out!
Scheyer says the benefits to your dog include increased agility and sharpened motor skills; strengthening the musculoskeletal system; relieving stress and reducing shedding; improving mental alertness, digestion and coat; strengthening the immune system; enhancing the cardiorespiratory system; and giving the dog a deeper, longer sleep.
Scheyer recommends starting slowly after a warm-up of short throws, and ending with a cool-down period. And, of course, always provide plenty of water before, during and after a romp with the Fetchball Scoop. The Scoop can be used to serve your dog water, too.
The first thing you do is slip your hand into the glove and then strap the Velcro around your wrist. Make sure the Velcro is tightly fastened so the Scoop won’t fly off your arm when you throw the ball.
The glove fits rather snugly, so expect that it’ll take a bit of effort to get it on your hand. But this is a good thing. It means that between the tightly fastened Velcro and the snugly-fitting glove, the Scoop won’t come loose in the heat of the game!
It took me about 10 minutes to get the hang of throwing the ball with the Scoop, but once you get used to it, it’s pretty simple. The hard part comes when you try to get your dog to do what you want! The main objective is to get your dog to drop the ball directly in the Scoop after he has retrieved it. I played with Chops first. While she’s a brilliant and reliable retriever, she likes to tease some of us by playing “keep away” on the return trip. When she was in that mood, the Scoop was kind of pointless – I had to use my hand to get the ball out of her mouth. Chops is not the ideal candidate for the Fetchball Scoop, but she’s a heck of a catch partner!
Harley, my Jack Russell Extra-ordinaire, did really well with this one. He’s a good fetch dog, so he always brought the ball back to me. After only a couple of times, he put the ball back in the Scoop. I didn’t have to touch the tennis ball at all once he started to cooperate!
It’s a really fun game if you have a big area to play in, because you can make the ball go far once you master the technique of throwing with the Scoop. But, as the instructions say, throw the ball only as far as the dog can see, or you’ll have to fetch the ball yourself!
I also tested the Scoop with my other dogs. Mandy is like Chops – she just took the ball and ran away with it, so it wasn’t as much fun with her. Fisher looked at me like I was crazy if I thought she was going to get up from her comfortable place on the deck (she was still there from the Dog Hoop test).
My husband, Steve, tried it out in the house, and we decided we would definitely not recommend this. The ball gets going pretty fast! But, men will be boys, now, won’t they?
When the Scoop arrived, Good Dog! editor Judi Sklar tried it on first. She thought the glove was too difficult to get on and said the Velcro “bit” her! She phoned Neal Scheyer who explained that a tight glove is a good glove since that means it’ll stay on. But he went to work on the Velcro and they’ve improved the strap by smoothing the edges. The glove was a little uncomfortable to me, but it was bearable. It comes in three sizes: Medium, Large and Extra Large for either right- or left-handed humans (make sure you specify which one you need).
Harley and I think this is a great invention! You’ll find the Fetchball Scoop at Pet Supply Warehouse, or call the manufacturer, Cestaball Enterprises, Inc., Carlsbad, CA 92009 at 619-944-9403. The company is working on developing Fetchball Competitions, so you might want to check into that, as well