Title:
Object launcher and method of launching object
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hand-held launcher for launching an object includes a handle and a frame fixedly attached proximate the handle and extending forwardly from the handle. Elastic tubing is attached to a forward end of the frame. A hook is attached to an object to be launched where the hook engages the tubing when the tubing is positioned into a stretched position and wherein the hook is capable of being released from the tubing during launching.



Inventors:
Myers, Ward (Wayzata, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/724429
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
03/15/2007
Assignee:
Hyper Products, Inc. (Wayzata, MN, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41B3/02
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Primary Examiner:
RICCI, JOHN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTMAN CHAMPLIN & KOEHLER, P.A. (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hand-held launcher for launching an object, the launcher comprising: a handle; a frame fixedly attached proximate the handle and extending forwardly therefrom; elastic tubing attached to a forward end of the frame; an object to be launched; and a hook attached to the object to be launched for engaging the tubing when the tubing is in a stretched position and capable of being released from the tubing during launching.

2. The launcher of claim 1 wherein the elastic tubing comprises surgical tubing.

3. The launcher of claim 1 and further including an arm brace attached to the handle.

4. The launcher of claim 1 wherein the arm brace includes spaced-apart members extending from the handle and being spaced sufficiently apart such that a forearm is positionable there between.

5. The launcher of claim 4 wherein the arm brace further includes a yoke section wherein the first second members terminate in the yoke section such that the yoke section will rest on the forearm.

6. The launcher of claim 1 wherein the object comprises a substantially cylindrical body having an aperture proximate an end for removably engaging the hook.

7. The launcher of claim 1 wherein the frame comprises left and right frame arms that are spaced apart from each other.

8. The launcher of claim 1 wherein ends of the elastic tubing are secured to forward ends of the left and right frame arms.

9. The launcher of claim 1 wherein the object comprises a scented band positioned around a surface of the object.

10. A method for launching an object using a hand-held launcher, the launcher having a frame attached to a handle at one end and elastic tubing attached to a forward end of the frame; the method comprising: providing an object to be launched; attaching a hook to the object; holding the launcher by its handle with a hand; engaging the hook with the elastic tubing; gripping the object with another hand and manually stretching the elastic tubing with the engagement of the hook with the elastic tubing; and releasing the object such that the elastic tubing contracts and launches the object into flight.

11. The method of claim 10 and further comprising securing a scented band to the object.

12. An object for training a dog to retrieve, the object comprising: a main body; and a band secured to the main body and wherein the band contains a scent of an animal that the dog is to retrieve.

13. The object of claim 12 wherein the band is removably secured to the main body.

14. The object of claim 12 wherein the band includes a first and a second end and wherein the first and second ends are attached to each other with a fastening mechanism to form a loop to secure the band to the main body.

15. The object of claim 14 wherein the first and second ends of the band are secured together with a hook and loop type fastener.

16. The object of claim 12 wherein the main body comprises an indented surface about a perimeter thereof and wherein the band is positioned around the indented surface.

17. The object of claim 12 and wherein the band comprises a material that absorbs a liquid scent.

18. A band for securing to an object to be thrown for a dog to retrieve, the band comprising a loop that secures to the object wherein the band is constructed of a material that absorbs a liquid scent.

19. The band of claim 18 wherein the band includes a fastening mechanism for removably securing the band into a loop around the object.

20. The band of claim 19 wherein the band comprises a hook and loop fastener located at ends of the band which cooperate to form the loop.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application is based on and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/877,974 filed on Dec. 29, 2006, the content of which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus and method for launching an object for retrieval. More particularly, the present invention relates to a hand-held apparatus that propels an object, such as a dummy, for training and exercising an animal, such as a dog.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Dummies are typically utilized to train a dog to retrieve an object whether on the water or on land. The ability to retrieve is especially important for hunting dogs that are required to retrieve downed birds.

Having a dog retrieving a dummy, which is also referred to as a dog bumper, is very useful for exercising and training a dog. However, the dog never seems to tire running after the dummy and retrieving it, which can be tiring for the dog owner. Also, it is desirable to throw the dummy a long distance. Depending on the dog owner, this is often times not possible. Furthermore, throwing a dummy a long distance can be difficult and throwing a dummy a long distance repeatedly can be very tiring.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a hand-held launcher for launching an object. The hand-held launcher includes a handle and a frame fixedly attached proximate the handle and extending forwardly from the handle. Elastic tubing is attached to a forward end of the frame. A hook is attached to an object to be launched and the hook engages the tubing when the tubing is positioned into a stretched position and wherein the hook is capable of being released from the tubing during launching.

The present invention also includes a method for launching an object using a hand-held launcher wherein the launcher includes a frame attached to a handle at one end and elastic tubing attached to a forward end of the frame. The method includes providing an object to be launched and attaching a hook to the object. The launcher is gripped with one hand and the hook is engaged to the tubing. The object is gripped with the other hand and the elastic tubing is manually stretched with the engagement of the hook with the elastic tubing. The grip is released from the object such that the elastic tubing contracts and launches the object into flight.

The present invention also includes an object for training dogs to retrieve wherein the object comprises a main body. The object also includes a band that is secured to the main body wherein the band contains a scent of an animal.

The present invention also includes a band for securing to an object to be thrown for a dog to retrieve. The band is formed into a loop that is secured to the object wherein the band is constructed of a material that absorbs a liquid scent.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a dummy thrower of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a dummy having a band positioned about the perimeter of the dummy and a hook attached to the dummy.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of different sized dummies having a band positioned about each dummy and hooks detached from the dummies.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a dummy having a band positioned about the dummy and a hook detached from the dummy.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the hook of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the dummy thrower of the present invention in use.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another dummy.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

The present invention includes a hand-held dummy launcher generally indicated at 10 in FIG. 1. The dummy launcher 10 launches dummies generally indicated at 12 in FIG. 2. The dummies are used to exercise and train dogs in retrieval. The launcher 10 can launch dummies of various sizes such as shown in FIG. 3 by dummies 12 and 14.

Referring back to FIG. 1, the hand-held launcher 10 includes a handle 18, a forearm brace 20, a frame 22 and a section of surgical tubing 24. The frame 22 includes left and right frame arms 26 and 28 that are fixedly attached to the handle 18. The left and right frame arms 26 and 28 are typically made of metal and are sufficiently resistant to bending when the surgical tubing 24 is pulled back as will be discussed subsequently. The left and right frame arms 26 and 28 extend in a forward direction as generally indicated by arrow 30. In the particular embodiment illustrated in the figures, the left and right frame arms 26 and 28 diverge from each other as the arms 26 and 28 extend forwardly in a direction of arrow 30. The tubing 24 is attached at one end 32 to the forward end of the arm 26, and at another end 34 to a forward end of the arm 28. The tubing 24 thus attached has a mid-portion 36 that may be pulled back.

The surgical tubing 36 is made of an elastic polymer that, when pulled, stretches and provides power when it is released (permitted to contract). The surgical tubing is typically made of a latex or silicone polymer although other polymers which have the same or similar properties may be used. Such tubing should be able to maintain memory through repeated stretching/contracting cycles.

The surgical tubing 24 provides the launching force (converting potential energy in the tubing 24 to kinetic energy by stretching the tubing and then releasing the tubing 24) for launching the dummy as will be described subsequently. Although surgical tubing is specifically discussed other stretchable, resilient or elastic materials such as solid plastic bands, and rubber bands, which can be pulled back and then released to contract, are also contemplated.

The tubing 24 is attached to the ends 33 and 35 of the arms 26 and 28, respectively, by inserting the ends of the arms 26 and 28 into the tubing ends 32 and 34. The tubing 24 remains attached to the arms 26 and 28 by frictional and elastic forces generated by the tubing 24 as the tubing ends 32 and 34 engage the ends 33 and 35 of the arm members 26 and 28.

Referring to FIGS. 2-4, the dummy 12 includes a substantially cylindrical main body 40 throughout most of its length and a removable band 42. The main body 40 is made of a suitable plastic. Typically, the main body includes a knobby surface although it may be smooth. The dummy 12 preferably floats on water and may have an air valve (not shown) that may inflate the dummy 12 to adjust weight and buoyancy. Other materials that are known for dummies are also included in the present invention including canvas dummies with a closed cell foam interior.

The band 42 is a removable band that is wrapped around an indented cylindrical surface 41. In the case of the plastic dummy 12, the indented cylindrical (annular) surface 41 is molded along with the main body.

The band 42 has a length that is sufficient to form a loop about the perimeter of the surface 41 and a width that is substantially equal to the length of the indented cylindrical surface 42 such that an outer surface of the band 42 is substantially even with the adjacent outer surface of the dummy 12. The band 42 may be made of any type of material that is capable of absorbing and retaining a liquid scent. A typical material of construction of the band 42 is nylon. The band 42 is scented with a suitable scent of the game animal that the dog is being trained to retrieve. For example, the band may be scented with the scent of a pheasant.

The band 42 is typically secured around the dummy 12 through the use of hook and loop type fasteners wherein a hook portion is secured proximate one end of the band 42 and a loop portion is secured proximate another end of the band 42. By overlapping the ends of the band 42, the hook and loop engage to secure the band in a looped configuration. Other fastening mechanisms are also within the scope of the present invention including an elastic fabric that constricts around the perimeter of the dummy, a zipper, snap closures, laces, buttons and loops, or any other suitable closure mechanism.

One drawback of prior art plastic dummies is that they cannot be scented. The inclusion of the scented band 42 of the present invention provides a means for scenting plastic dummies.

The dummy 12 further includes an eye portion 44 at one end. The eye portion 44 includes an aperture 46 through which a launching hook 48 extends. Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, the hook 48 is of a size and shape that is capable of extending through the aperture 46. The hook 48 at the other end 52 is of a shape to engage the tubing 36. An end portion 50 starts at a substantially U-shaped bend 54 and diverges from a midsection 56 of the hook 48 sufficiently so that the eye portion 44 can be moved along the end portion 50 down to the substantially U-shaped bend 54. The end portion 50 also has an end segment 58 that bends further inwardly to a point that is almost parallel to the midsection 56 which helps retain the dummy 12 on the hook 48 during flight, landing and retrieval. The hook end portion 52 includes a bend 60 from which the end portion is bent from a line generally perpendicular to the midsection 56 as a relatively small acute angle γ. The extent of the bend of end portion 52 is such that the bend 60 engages the surgical tubing 34 easily, and does not engage (releases from) the tubing 34 once the dummy 12 is released into flight.

Referring back to FIG. 1, the forearm brace 20 is rotatably attached to the lower end 62 of the handle 18. The handle 18 is rotatably attached to the forearm brace 20 to allow the dummy launcher 10 to be collapsed for storage and transport. The handle 18 is in the form of a pistol grip. The forearm brace 20 further aids in using the launcher 10. The forearm brace 20 is typically made of a wire rod that extends in a rearward direction as referenced by arrow 64. The forearm brace 20 has left and right rod sections 66 and 68 that extend sufficiently apart so that a hand and accompanying forearm of the user can be positioned between sections 66 and 68 while a hand grabs the pistol grip 18 as illustrated in FIG. 6. A yoke section 70 preferably formed by the same wire that makes up left and right rod sections 66 and 68 forms the back end of the brace 20 as illustrated in FIG. 1. The yoke 70 lays on or engages the top of the users forearm, as illustrated in FIG. 6, providing a bracing action that helps control the launcher 10 when pulling back on the surgical tubing 34 prior to launching the dummy 12.

In using the launcher 10 of the present invention, a left handed person, as illustrated in FIG. 6, grips the dummy 12 and engages the tubing 24 with the hook 48. A right handed person would reverse the hands that grip the pistol grip 18 and the dummy 12, respectively. The wire members 26 and 28 are sufficiently rigid to withstand the force of stretching the tubing 24.

To launch the dummy 12, the dummy 12 is pulled back which stretches the tubing 34. The user aims in the general direction of where it is desired for the dummy 12 to land, and the dummy 12 is released. When the dummy 12 is released, the surgical tubing 34 contracts, sending the dummy 12 into flight. Directly after releasing the dummy 12, the hook 48 disengages from the surgical tubing 34 and travels with the dummy 12 upon which the dog retrieves the dummy 12 and the hook 48 back to the owner.

Other objects besides the dummy can also be hurled using the device 10 of the present invention. For example and referring to FIG. 7, a football shaped object 70 can be thrown by the device 10. A loop strap 72 is attached to the football shaped object 70. The loop strap 72 is engaged by the hook 48 in a manner similar to the dummy 12. The football shaped object 70 is pulled back, stretching the tubing 34 and then released, launching the football shaped object 70 into flight.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.