If you’ve read any of Coop’s previous reviews, you know that A) he is a genius, and B) he has tons of energy at night. But what you may not know is that he is an absolute master of the game of fetch. Coop can play for hours, and he drops the ball right at your feet every time. (See item A: genius.)
Conversely, our terrier mix, Mama Dog, is really terrible at fetch, though she loves to compete with Coop to see who can get to the ball first. Her outright speed beats his long legs about 50 percent of the time; 100 if she is really trying. But she brings the ball back approximately zero percent of the time, instead dropping it a few feet after getting away from Coop. Luckily, he almost always picks it up and happily returns the ball for her. Almost always. Sometimes I have to go searching for it in the dwindling evening light.
Another thing you should know is that I throw like a girl. Yes, I know, that is no longer something we say. But I throw like what people are thinking when they use this ridiculously outdated and sexist insult: poorly. And often right at the ground after a failure to release in the right point of the arc. I once — and I am not proud of this at all — accidentally threw a tennis ball at Coop’s eye after a spectacularly bad release, rendering him afraid of both me and all balls for a good 24 hours.
Cue the best toy we have ever played with, the one that solves all of our fetch problems: The Chuckit Max Glow Pro 18 Launcher and Max Glow Ball.
You may have used a Chuckit launcher before. It amplifies your throw and requires far less energy than just hurling a ball yourself, extending the length of time you can play fetch with your dog before tiring. It’s a cool tool. But the real genius, in my opinion, is the special Chuckit rubber ball. It bounces higher and farther than a tennis ball. The Chuckit launcher is a fine tool, but paired with the special ball — and in this case, the glow ball — the sum is so much better than the parts. The glow ball also has two holes in the side that make it “whistle” when you chuck it. It sounds like ducks coming in for a landing, and combined with the glow it makes the ball really easy for dogs to track in the dark.
If you already have a Chuckit launcher, you would not really need to buy the glow model, but I will say that having both it and the ball glowing brightly makes it easier to retrieve the ball in the dark. One of the great features of the Chuckit is that you can use it to pick up the ball, reducing your bending and the spit saturation of your hands. This might be a little harder in the dark if your launcher and ball weren’t so visible.
All in all, we absolutely love the Chuckit Max Glow Pro Launcher and Max Glow Ball and enthusiastically recommend it for dogs who love fetch and the people who love them. One note: To extend their life, you should always put both pieces out of your dog’s reach at the end of each fetch session. They make very tempting and inappropriate chew toys (though the balls are relatively inexpensive and available separately). We store them on a shelf in a sunny area, so they can soak up the light and charge during day. The glow lasts up to a half-hour when fully charged.
Speaking of inappropriate chew toys, along with the standard launcher we also received the Max Glow Ultra Sling, a handheld slingshot and glow-in-the-dark “rocket toy.” I say “rocket toy” because saying what it actually looks like to me would be rude. But come on — look at it. Not something you think belongs in a dog’s mouth. After a sufficient amount of tittering, we put the sling to the test.
Massive toy fail. The package has detailed instructions as well as an illustration, so I know I wasn’t doing it wrong, but the band, which stretched much less than I thought would be needed to get a good launch, snapped out of the dart clip and into my hand or face at least five times before I ever got a launch. Said launch went about seven feet. No fun for me or for Coop. Thinking the problem might be with me, I enlisted my husband to test it. Same result. The sling launcher just does not work very well. There is a massive design flaw in the clip that holds the dart to the sling. After the smashing success of the Chuckit, this was especially disappointing.
Another design issue, aside from the premature (so sorry to use that word!) release, is that unlike with the Chuckit launcher, your dog won’t be able to tell when you are about to launch a toy. There is no kinetic clue that a throw is about to happen. And so Coop often missed the launch even when it happened somewhat successfully. And he didn’t love bringing it back the way he does with the ball. He wanted to chew it up instead.
Quality: The products all seem durable. The launcher combo is a big winner, with the ball earning especially high marks for the extreme bounciness and whistling noise.
Style: The launcher combo is pretty classic. The sling looks nice. The dart? Well, you may end up in a confessional.
Function: Launcher combo: A++. Sling: D-. The launcher-ball combo is, hands down, our favorite toy we have ever used. Even I can get a good throw with it, and the glow feature means we can play late in an effort to tire out the dogs before bedtime. The sling was disappointing. It failed way too often to be fun. Even when it functioned correctly, it was not as fun for us or the dogs as the classic ball.
Creativity: Designing a dog toy that looks like an adult toy is pretty creative. Otherwise, these are pretty standard fetch toys. The launcher itself was groundbreaking when it first came out, and there is no reason to fiddle with a classic.
Value: The Chuckit Max Glow Launcher and Max Glow Ball go for about $15 as a combo. Replacement glow balls are about $5 each. Worth every penny if you have an avid fetcher. The Ultra Sling costs about $24. I wouldn’t bother with this one unless you and your dog are really into that “dart.”
The classic Chuckit launcher has been improved with the addition of a wonderful, whistling glow ball. If you have a fetcher in your life, this toy can’t be beat.
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About the author: Lisa Seger (who goes by Blue Heron Farm on most social media platforms) is a former office drone turned dairy farmer and cheesemaker. She found that cubicle jobs just didn’t allow for enough quality animal time and so made animals her work instead. Like all dairy farmers, she has virtually NO free time, but what little she gets is generally spent in pursuit of rescuing, fostering, and placing homeless dogs. Or being a smart-alec on the interwebs. Follow her on Facebook.