Crazily durable, chuckable, and with both fetch and treat-dispensing features, these new balls will keep your dog engaged and happy.
About this project
Why should dogs have to settle for anything but the best? We’re Paww, a group of designers, tinkerers, and dog-lovers on a mission to make smart gear for dogs and their humans. A few years ago we decided that dogs deserved something better than ratty, flimsy, boring tennis balls. And so we got to work.
We scoured the market and looked at every fetch toy we could find. But the funny thing was, even with hundreds of options, most people just end up using a simple tennis ball. They’re cheap, dogs seem to like ’em, so why not? Well, for starters, they’re kind of boring. A round ball just bounces in a straight line and not much else. Some dogs like to play tug too, but it’s impossible to grab a basic ball when it’s in the dog’s mouth. Most basic balls aren’t very durable either, so you probably replace them fairly often. Lastly, if you live in a city (like our hometown of San Francisco, for instance), you probably take your dog to fenced-in dog parks rather than wide, expansive open areas… and tennis balls have a nasty habit of rolling too far, bouncing into the street, and getting stuck under cars.
After months of research with dogs, dog owners, trainers, and many others we decided that the ideal fetch toy needed four key attributes:
1. It should be incredibly durable
2. It should have interesting flight and bounce patterns
3. It should be “chuckable” with ball launchers like the “Chuckit!,” “Throw ‘N Go,” etc.
4. It should dispense treats so your dog can stay engaged once you’re back home
After years of development and hundreds of prototypes, we’re excited to introduce the PortoBallo, the GoofBall, and the StickBall! That’s right – years of development! We don’t take design lightly, and we obsess over every little detail, because we don’t believe that there’s such a thing as a product being too good for our dogs (or yours)! We made hundreds of prototypes to get to final designs that we think are perfect. Although each ball is different, they all hit all four bases described above – something we don’t think any other ball on the market can say!
This “wild mushroom” ball has a stem that causes the ball to bounce very erratically and it’s our highest- and longest-bouncing ball. Some dogs just go crazy for the unpredictable bounce – dog trainers we spoke with said it triggers the “prey drive” of these dogs. When you get home you can stuff treats inside the stem. We designed special ribs inside the stem to make sure treats fall out randomly as the dog rolls it around and plays with it, so your dog can have an extended play session with just a few pieces of kibble. You can even “tune” the dispensing action – smaller treats come out more easily, and larger treats stay in the ball longer. You can also spread things like peanut butter or cream cheese around the recessed “treat groove”. The groove is carefully positioned so that the ball can roll around without leaving any goop on the floor.
The ears not only look funny, but they also cause the ball to zig-zag when it bounces, keeping your dog on his or her toes. Little dogs love the GoofBall, since they can grab onto the ears and get in on the fun too. The GoofBall isn’t a tug toy, but the ears are just big enough that you can play a little tug of war as a reward after a successful fetch. The GoofBall’s mouth is specially designed to dispense kibble gradually (especially if you use differently sized pieces), rather than just dumping everything on the floor at once. You can even put larger treats like chunks of jerky or milkbones in the ears and watch your dog wrestle them out.
StickBall is the ball for dogs who love sticks! The long arms keep the ball from bouncing very much, so it’s particularly great in smaller, space-constrained areas. The long shape gives your dog plenty of purchase to pick it up and run it back to you (we’ve seen that some dogs like retrieving it by the ball; others like grabbing the arms). StickBall’s arms are also great for tugging, which is not only fun for both of you, but can also be used as a reward for your dog. At home, stuff the arms with broken up milkbones or jerky or fill them with peanut butter – the depth of the arms will keep your dog busy while also keeping treats from getting smeared on your floor.
All of the balls are made from a custom material that we developed with one of the leading US manufacturers of elastomeric compounds. The material has been formulated to be insanely durable while also being easy on your dog’s teeth. It’s completely recyclable and it even floats, so it’s perfect for dogs that love the water!
So where do you come in? Well, this is the most extensive development project we’ve undertaken, and after years of development, we’re turning to Kickstarter to raise the money necessary for the final push to bring these to market. Funds will go toward finalizing production tooling, securing raw materials, initial production expenses, and the like. Plus, to thank our backers, we’re offering some great rewards, including a limited edition color in special “Kickstarter green”.
Here’s what you can get if you back the project:
Finally, in case you needed a little more convincing, we asked a couple of our crack team of dog testers what they thought of the prototypes samples we gave them over a year ago, and here’s what they had to say…
There you have it! Thanks for checking out our project, and an extra big thanks if you decide to back us. We’re excited to turn directly to the community to support our mission of reinventing the fetch ball, and maybe we’ll see you at the dog park sometime!
Paww is a small, independent pet products company based in San Francisco. Design is in our DNA and our goal is to make innovative products that make life better for dogs and their humans. In the past, we’ve come out with a leash that Gizmodo referred to as “The cleverest dog leash we’ve ever seen,” as well as a bowl that converts to a flying disc, a leash accessory to hold your keys (or whatever else you bring with you on a walk), and more. You can see more about Paww on our website: www.paww.com.
Video production by Double H Production (www.doublehproduction.com).
Oh, one last thing: our lawyers told us to say that the Paww balls are all patent-pending (so don’t copy us, ok?) and that other company names and products mentioned in this campaign are trademarks of their respective companies.
Risks and challenges
Paww was founded by product designers with many years of collective experience in taking ideas from initial concept all the way to finished, manufactured products. With this project, we’re well past the prototype stage, and we have worked extensively with our injection molding partner to make sure that these products can be manufactured exactly as we’ve envisioned. We have pre-production samples in hand and are finalizing the tooling for production. We have also worked with this partner on past projects (like our transforming “ThrowBowl”), so we’re confident in their ability to scale up production capacity should this project exceed its goal.
Like any project, delays can come up due to a multitude of factors, from fires at a factory to a container ship breaking in half and dumping its cargo into the ocean (seriously, it happens!). Our delivery date is based on our best estimate at this time, but we can’t predict the future, so keep that in mind if you need to receive your reward by a certain date (birthday, anniversary, dog’s birthday, dog’s anniversary, etc).