Austin family's invention lets dogs play fetch on their own

Feel guilty about being too tired or busy to play with your dog? An Austin family's invention will let you take that break while keeping your pet entertained.

iFetch is an interactive entertainment and fitness exercise toy. It came to be after a college study session was interrupted by a fetch obsessed dog. It's a little white machine that can keep a dog going all day long.

Grant Hamill says, "One morning I was just sitting at the table eating breakfast and just doing a little homework before school and I had just about had it with him barking at me and he had actually learned to balance the ball on my foot to acknowledge that the ball was there."

Grant and his grandfather Denny put their heads together and created the iFetch.

The project took several years but now they've sold about 30,000 units.

The machine can be plugged in to an outlet or can run on batteries. It can be set to shoot the ball 10, 20 ,or 30 feet.

The ball just needs to be dropped into the opening and pets can keep playing on their own.

Denny Hamill says, "Most dogs with people gone all day are really sedentary and they don't get exercise. And when we all come home we exercise our dogs but they need more."

So how do you train your dog to do it?

The company actually has a training video on the website that walks you through it.

"It is tricky, some dogs get it right away. The ones that get it right away are the ones who fetch all the time and know how to fetch. And they just need to be taught to drop it in," says Denny.

Some pups may never get it but children can still have fun using it with their dogs.

The current iFetch is only for small to medium sized dogs but they are hoping to come out with the iFetch 2 for large dogs in the spring.

For Grant and Denny it's been a learning experience and has created a unique way to bond.

iFetch costs about $100. For more information or to order one, head to iFetch's website here.

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