If you’re a dog trainer or hunt with dogs, you’re already familiar with the bumpers or dummies used in retrieval training. The basic design for training bumpers has remained the same ever since they were developed – a cylindrical-shaped plastic or canvas “stick” that can be filled with water or another substance to simulate the weight of game, used to train dogs to retrieve on land or in water.
This design is so basic that apparently no one has ever given much thought to it – until now.
Chuck Yanke, the owner of AirFlow Bumpers, is a hunter and trains dogs for hunting. He’s also an engineer, so when he learned of a superior bumper design that had been developed and evaluated at Auburn University, he bought the rights to the design. The inventor of the AirFlow Bumper had noticed that the standard training bumper made it difficult for dogs to breathe through their mouths while retrieving, so he designed a better bumper, one that would allow dogs in training to breathe more easily and as a result, perform better.
The result of his effort is the revolutionary AirFlow Bumper, a patented design that allows 90X more air to pass around the bumper while the dog is carrying it, allowing the dog optimal performance during retrieval training.
The design evaluators at Auburn discovered that the old, standard training bumpers blocked 93.3% of the dog’s mouth, making it impossible for the dog to take in much air through the mouth while carrying. So the inventor developed a design that allows more air to flow around the center of the bumper, through the front and center of the dog’s mouth. With this design, instead of 93.3% of the mouth being occluded, the blockage is reduced to only 59%, allowing almost 6 times more air to be taken in through the mouth during retrieval.
This design also includes features to encourage proper carry during retrieval. The AirFlow Bumper, instead of having bumps or nubs to assist the dog in gripping the bumper, has a series of concave depressions, which “lock in” to the dog’s teeth, allowing the dog to carry the bumper securely with less bite force, promoting a softer mouth. This feature also allows better air flow into the dog’s mouth; air can flow in along the depressions that are not in contact with the dog’s teeth. Finally, a ridged edge around each end of the bumper discourages the dog from attempting to carry the bumper by one end. This feature ensures that the dog will carry the bumper centered in the mouth, so he will benefit from the greater air flow provided by the design.
Finally the inventor took a look at the materials used to make standard plastic training bumpers and decided a safer alternative was needed. Traditional plastic training bumpers are made of PVC, which includes phthalates, known to be reproductive toxins. Phthalates are known to leach into food from the plastics that contain them; if phthalates can leach into food, then certainly they can leach into a dog’s mouth when PVC is in contact with saliva. In the analysis of standard PVC training bumpers, it was revealed that they contained from 36% to 72% phthalates. A variety of different material possibilities were considered for the AirFlow Bumper; Santoprene, a phthalate-free plastic approved by both the FDA and the EU for safe contact with food, was the material ultimately selected. The Santoprene used to manufacture AirFlow Bumpers is flexible, puncture-resistant, tasteless and has the proper feel and bounce – all while being safer for dogs.
The final result is a training bumper that allows dogs to perform at their peak, without the risk of contact with harmful chemicals. That’s the AirFlow Bumper – better for breathing, better for training, better for performance, and better for your dog’s health.