March 8, 2009

Cool or tragic? The engineer's dog.

(Via Instapundit.)


Sixty Grit said...

What a great machine, and what a marvelous little dog - he anticipates the shot before it occurs.

That is some good engineering - the machine does not fire when empty, and is programmed, it seems, to know that the dog might drop the ball on the tracks, then remove it. Very clever indeed.

Covered with win.

Now put them on the market - my dog is wearing me out!

TWM said...

"Cool or tragic?"


Curtiss said...

The little dogie votes "cool".

Me, too.

Scott said...

Put me down for "cool."

This could be a fantastic device to keep your dog active if you are gone for a long while or to keep the dog well-exercised in the winter months, when it's much too cold outside.

And the look on the kid's face is absolutely priceless.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Well, I guess Sisyphus was happy, too.

Wasn't he?

Heck, dogs don't care. Let's play.

Skyler said...

What could anyone call tragic about this? Very cool.

Unknown said...

I don't want a pet but I would like one of those.

Beth said...

Put me down for "cool." As fcai points out, the little dog clearly anticipates each shot - the look on his face is one of satisfaction and pleasure.

If you've ever had a "throw me the ball, throw me the ball again" dog, you'd want one of these.

William said...

The tragic part is that it is so reminiscent of one's working life.

sierra said...

Very, very cool. I don't have a dog, but this is so cool I'd go chase the ball myself.

Ann Althouse said...

Tragic ... if you think this is a replacement for outdoor play with a real person.

holdfast said...

Put me down for "buy it now" - I would just be worried about the power cables with the new puppy, but the senior dog would absolutely love this.

It is no substitute for going to the park, but when it is 90 out I can't run the dog outside anyway.

jeff said...

Cool as hell. No tragic here.

Steve M. Galbraith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

What dogs really love is other dogs.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

if you think this is a replacement for outdoor play with a real person.

Dogs eat their own - and each other's - scat. Gladly so, I might add.

I don't think they're thinking through the metaphysical and ethical consequences of chasing a tennis ball from a machine.

When they reach that stage on the evolutionary ladder, we'll hold a seminar on the matter.

Until then, we'll play and let others anthropomorphize the world.

Methadras said...

Definitely cool as hell. I'd build one myself if I had the time. My dogs would love it. The best part of the video is the music.

LonewackoDotCom said...

This is yet another example of the tragic and growing trend of latchkey dogs.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

the tragic and growing trend of latchkey dogs.

Resulting, soon, is a mass increase of doggie crimes and mayhem as these social misfits are let loose upon the public. Defining doggy behavior down.

More dog prisons must be built.

Either that or more tennis ball machines.

The Drill SGT said...

Great toy for the dog and for the kid.

He could not play that game unassisted by technology, but with the shooter, he's fully part of the process.


DaLawGiver said...

Dogs eat their own - and each other's - scat. Gladly so, I might add.

One of my dogs was a shit eater. We found these pills that made the dog shit taste worse than dog shit. Rascal is no longer a potty mouth.

The machine is very cool. Notice the second dog, a Yorkie I believe, was not playing. Freedom of choice, the dachshund loves it, the Yorkie doesn't. Don't be a doggie happiness hater Althouse.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

One of my dogs was a shit eater. We found these pills that made the dog shit taste worse than dog shit.

I'm confused about the, er, procedure.

Do you give the pills to your own dog? Or to the other party involved in this dispute?

I hope a taste test wasn't involved.

I love dogs too but there are limits.

Wince said...

Tragic? For the dog?

Heck, I had a similar toy myself in the early 1960s when I was no older than the kid in the video. It was called Pop-Z-Ball (can't find it on the web).

You'd put the plastic ball in, the sensor would detect it and the spring-powered crank motor would start to pull back and "pop" the ball. I'd crawl across the room after it each time in my one piece pajama zip-up suit and do it over and over.

I rember this in such detail because I actually have home movies of me playing with it thusly one Christmas. There will be no uploading.

Trust me, tragic is not having a dog to play it with and do the fetching instead of you.

bearbee said... least for Jerry.

This is what his owner posted on you tube about Jerry:

I built the ball machine because I thought my dog Jerry, might like it and that it would be something fun for me to build. So after two years of on and off work, with many safety features such as IR proximity sensors to protect Jerry and my son from the machine, I finally complete.

Far from being a replacement for me, I was always right there with him enjoying his fun. And with all the troubles that I went through to build the ball machine, I still end up throwing more balls than that the machine could count! According to the computer, he played with the machine by himself only 3 times in his life.

I recently put this video on YouTube to keep alive my earlier memories of him and (hopefully) provide some "humorous distractions" for anyone that might drop by.

Please enjoy the video.

All dog lovers recognize it is not a replacement for human or other doggie interaction.

Tragic for a dog left only with the machine.

DaLawGiver said...

Do you give the pills to your own dog? Or to the other party involved in this dispute?

I hope a taste test wasn't involved.

To any animal whose shit your dog is eating, including the shit eater himself.

I just have to assume it tastes bad, I'm not the expert on loaves around here anyway, I'm just a man with a dog.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

I just have to assume it tastes bad, I'm not the expert on loaves around here anyway, I'm just a man with a dog.

Thank you for the clarification.

The problem with my damned dog (she was a dachschund, too) was eating other crap. Dog, squirrel, racoon, Martian, lord knows what other animal. Feasted on it.


Never her own. So she had that going for her.

Wince said...

Vincent and Jules on dogs and pigs.

Vincent: How about a dog? Dogs eats its own feces.

Jules: I don't eat dog either.

Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?

Jules: I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy but they're definitely dirty. But, a dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way.

Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?

Jules: Well we'd have to be talkin' about one charming motherfuckin' pig. I mean he'd have to be ten times more charmin' than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I'm sayin'?

Richard Fagin said...

Only someone who can't understand how that machine works could possibly think it's "tragic."

Chalk one up for the geek squad and great job, Mr. Engineer.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Vincent and Jules on dogs and pigs.

Even if you go medieval on their asses the dogs still eat the stuff.

Maybe something from the Godfather would help.

David said...

Yeah, I shunned it.

Thought it was going to be a doggie snuff video. (Tragic!)

It's cool though. Dog Happy. Kid happy. Engineer very happy.

Anonymous said...

That is in no way tragic unless the cute doggie's owner has no friends and has to build machines instead. If that is the case, well, that is sad and tragic.

Also, I cannot take it anymore. I am trying to find an althouse post about an artist that drew his/her doctor's office or a waiting room outside at a pharmacist. Am I dreaming this? Did such a link to such an artist exist.

Please excuse any weird terms leading to your blog, including:

althouse doctor's artist
althouse artist
waiting room
althouse waiting room cardiovascular

or some such. Sorry, I really liked those drawings and wanted to link them. Art is just so wonderfully arty, you know?

Henry said...

What's with the real, non-robotic dog? Lame.

Ann Althouse said...


blake said...

I remember seeing this years ago. Pre youtube, I guess.

The assumption that it's a replacement for human contact and that that's tragic is a little overwrought.

Penny said...

I really enjoyed this. That cute little pup is having a grand time playing...or is he working? Was his owner playing when he built the machine...or was he working?

What we really need is more of this tail wagging stuff.

fivewheels said...

Definitely cool. I suspected, and the note from the engineer confirms, that the point of the machine was not to be a replacement for the person, but to be used with the person. I mean, if you build something that fun, you're going to want to watch it being used (and maybe videotape it).

It's definitely a typical guy because-I-can project, not one with an actual point or objective or anything.

Penny said...

It is a "guy project" for sure. I suspect he was in his basement working it all out while his wife was wondering why the heck he didn't unload the dishwasher.

rhhardin said...

I doubt the dog plays it by himself.

The positive response from the onlookers is the game.

Penny said...

rhharden...The dog played it NEARLY by himself, and his tail was wagging hard!

Bless the builders, because IF you build it...they will come.

Eric said...

I defer to the dog on this. It is very, very cool. I'm pretty sure that the dog can seamlessly switch to playing with an actual human when the opportunity presents itself.

Shanna said...

That was awesome! Not tragic at all. There are a lot of hours in the day for a dog, they aren't going to all be spent hanging at the park.

I'm sure the owner got a lot of enjoyment out of watching the dog have fun.

Penny said...

I am pretty sure that is true too, Eric. Or course I am someone who believes that the technology I embrace is as much a part of me as I am of it.


Kev said...

I also saw this several years ago, and my vote comes down totally on the side of cool. As others have said, the dog's almost constant tail-wagging pretty much says it all.

Paul said...

"Tragic ... if you think this is a replacement for outdoor play with a real person."

Oh the (doggie) humanity!!

The little fellow is having a blast. Only a liberal academic could look at that clip and find even the theoretical possibility of tragedy.

Revenant said...

That is an AWESOME invention. I'm tempted to build one myself, only then I'd have to get a dog too.

I could give one to one of my sisters, I guess. They have dogs.

bearbee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bearbee said...

BTW, tragic is this and this and this and this .

The result of ignorance, neglect, stupidity and/or just plain meaness.

Smilin' Jack said...

It's a doggy Terminator:

"Watching John with the machine it was suddenly so clear. The Terminator would never stop. It would never leave him, never hit him... never shout at him or get drunk and hit him... or say it was too busy to spend time with him. It would always be there and it would die to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years... this thing, this machine... was the only one who measured up." Sarah Connor, TII.

Alex said...

The only time I saw a dog eat shit was a female dog eating her puppie's newborn scat. It was pretty disgusting, but I can imagine eating a stranger's scat is even more so. Suddenly I'm thinking of "2 girls 1 cup"....

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Yeah, I'm the one who broached (dropped?) the dogs eat scat line.

Right after my Sisyphus reference.

Now that's defining posting down (sorry Senator Moynihan wherever you are).

Leland said...

Tragic ... if you think this is a replacement for outdoor play with a real person. Oh geez, I hope this isn't serious.

Might as well say it is tragic that instead of letting the poor Dachshund flush out rabbits, it is reduced to chasing a tennis ball. I mean, given the preference of chasing a ball with a person, or killing a rabbit; I'm certain the Dachshund rather kill a rabbit. Yet, the owner gives it a tennis ball. And now worse, it gives the dog an automated ball thrower.

Next, the owner might give the dog a bowl of food and water, thus totally negating the dog's desire to track, hunt, and kill.

Put me in the column of cool, just like the dog thinks the tennis ball and free food is cool.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link above, Dr. Althouse! How did I think the post was labeled 'cardiovascular'? Bizarro.

howzerdo said...

Someone sent this to me a while ago and I think it is cool; the dog clearly loves it. I have a dog that loves fetch as much as this dog and we would both appreciate this device! I can't sit in the living room unless I am prepared to throw his toy. We play every night for hours and it isn't tragic that I would like an occasional break from throwing the toy (such as the past few days, when I have had a severe toothache).