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Local Product Development Company Hopes to Get Dog Toy Invention on Store Shelves

Dog running
Photo Courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States

Adam Huckfeldt is a busy guy—he works full time and goes to school.  So, when he got a rescue dog, he found that he didn’t have as much time to play with the active puppy as he would like.  And, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Huckfeldt invented a toy called the Tether Tug with items found around his house.  He shared the idea with his dad, Dr. Roger Huckfeldt, executive director and owner of Palm Medical Solutions, a Springfield-based company that builds health products for humans and animals.

Palm took Adam’s idea and used its product development expertise to build a commercially-ready product.

Roger Huckfeldt explains how the Tether Tug works.

"The Tether Tug will let them play against themselves because of the way the pole bends, so they can play on the end toy and play tug of war with themself for as long as they want to, and also because the toy swivels they're able to run around in circles with it and all of the activities that a dog normally likes to do if you play fetch with your animal or tug of war with your animal or run with your animal," he said.

The Tether Tug made it to the second round of Walmart’s Get on the Shelf competition, which invites entrepreneurs and small businesses to submit ideas for products they should offer to their customers.  Voting in this round goes through Monday (9/2).

Even if the Tether Tug doesn’t advance, Roger Huckfeldt says they’ll continue to market the toy. 

His son, Adam, hopes others will be able to purchase one for their dogs.

"Just so they can have the enjoyment that I get out of watching my dog play with it.  More so than anything I know that she's getting good exercise, she's happy," he said.

Anyone can vote on products in the competition by visiting getontheshelf.com.

Roger Huckfeldt says his company uses local talent and vendors in the product development process, and he says the Tether Tug has been no different.

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.