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Man builds an ingenious dog-operated tennis ball catapult for their pup so she can always play fetch

The whole process of ideating and creating a dog-operated and powered ball thrower cost him a few afternoons of busy craftwork.

Man builds an ingenious dog-operated tennis ball catapult for their pup so she can always play fetch
Cover Image Source: Pexels /Matthias Zomer

For dogs, nothing is more amusing than a fun ol' game of fetch. They enjoy it so much because it appeals to their innate hunting instincts. In their minds, they are catching prey and returning it to you, their pack leader. This activity fulfills a dog's basic need to support its pack. Your fluffy companions are hellbent on playing fetch, so do not be surprised if you find them obsessing over tennis balls, ropes and even rocks and sticks. Since dogs do not seem to let go of their toys anytime soon, wouldn't it be fun to make a custom ball catapult in your backyard for them? We are unsure about you, but one dog owner has impressed the internet with his 'paw'-tastic DIY creation for his dog, Olive, to play fetch by herself.

George Giavasis, from Northwest Montana—also known as u/GoesUp on Reddit—shared a video of the catapult he made for his pup on the platform, garnering over 117K upvotes. He describes his invention as the “first-ever recorded completely dog-operated tennis ball catapult.” Despite its simple mechanism, getting the design right took him a series of trial and error for elements like overall height, weight balance and cord attachment spots. Although 13-year-old Olive mellowed over time, she still loves a game of fetch, even today. Olive was just a year old in the video. Givasis said he was keen on creating a custom fetch device for his dog from the very start.




"Olive was the most nuts-for-fetch dog that you could ever meet," he told Newsweek. "I'm kind of an engineering-minded person, and a bit of a tinkerer. Plus, I was in grad school at the time and had a lot of free time. To Olive, people were just tools for fetch. I was sure she would be just as happy with an actual fetch tool."

With the help of some age-old technology and materials he already had, Giavasis was all set to make the catapult. "It's very simple, but it took a lot of trials to get it tuned just right," he said. "I hoped at the time that I could find someone else's design online and just copy it. But, when I couldn't find a single trace of another dog-operated and -powered ball thrower, I went to work."


The whole process cost him a few afternoons of busy craftwork, and Giavasis was ready with his new invention. "Olive was pretty happy to have a ball thrower that never got tired. But she would get a little frustrated sometimes when she was learning," he said. Giavasis built his first project about 12 years ago, and 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 shared 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. The paddle is indeed attached with an old hinge,” he added.

Image Source: Reddit / u/Dispositionpsn
Image Source: Reddit / u/Dispositionpsn


Image Source: Reddit / u/gloomyglooom
Image Source: Reddit / u/gloomyglooom


Image Source: Reddit / u/Early_Pearly989
Image Source: Reddit / u/Early_Pearly989

The catapult would be nothing without either of them, and Giavasis noted that Olive understood how to use the catapult very quickly. “That video pretty much shows how long it took to teach her to use it,” he wrote. He gave Olive a command for loading the ball and showed her how to launch it. He added, “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.” Several dogs, including Labradors, are bred to retrieve items for their human owners. So, when you play fetch with your furry friend, you notice how much they enjoy themselves, and that is because they can display their inherent capabilities.

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