I wanted my dog to actually write the review for the Shapoopie trial period we experienced, but he kept misspelling all the words and it was hard to read. Example paragraph he typed:
uy 7KL&:& ypr9e9yha; 7hjksbjkaa Hag;] ]a;48*(&*38848kjkkjmnmn mnnkljkljhg3s
So I let him draw some of the illustrations instead.
In short, the Shapoopie ($24.95) is a collapsible poo catcher. You carry it with you on your walks and, when the time comes, extend it and position it so that your dog makes his deposit in the Shapoopie’s catcher cup. The cup’s liners can then be disposed of. Like a lot of gadgets I’ve reviewed and liked, it’s a niche but nice contraption. It helps me avoid lower back pain when otherwise bending down to scoop up the little gifts with a plastic bag.
So read on to see if you think this niche is up your alley. . .
Tour of the Hardware
As mentioned, the Shapoopie has a telescoping handle (“telescoping” as in collapsible, not telescoping as my stupid sis– er someone who preferred to remain anonymous said “how come there’s a telescope on it??”). This makes it convenient to carry by hand or to tuck away in your car or on a hook next to your dog’s leash. It’s made of aluminum so it’s very light weight.
The primary business end of the Shapoopie is the receiving cup which is lined with a specially designed disposable liner. The liner has a well-fitting lid that keeps the contents secure through the remainder of your walk. It (the liner) also has an indentation so that it fits snugly into the cup. This aspect is a little difficult to see in the scream shot below, but if you look toward the rear of the liner you can see the shadow. This is actually a very important point since it helps keep the liner in place after it has been used but before your walk is complete.
Another key point of the cup attachment is that it is actually angled slightly away from the extension pole which allows it to fit a little better under the uhm, … well under the depositor. As with a lot of products, this is a very subtle but important feature.
At the end of the rod are two slightly bowed protrusions which look similar to a set of antlers. You’d probably think (“oh, leftover from the tooling mold”), but once you actually use the Shapoopie their use becomes obvious: they help close the extension rod without having to touch the cup. This not only makes it easier to close the rod, but also prevents icky encounters if your dog is a little too messy.
In summary, the device has a lot of thought put into it. Julie and I had commented how many products, if they just had some slight tweakage, could be so much better, and I have to say that this is one of the better thought-out and executed gadgets.
Tour of the Software
Heh heh, just kidding. That would be gross.
Shapoopie In Actual Use
So the hardware is well designed and executed, how is it in actual practice?
Well, first, you don’t want to take this thing out the very first day that you get it in the mail (ahem), watch your dog like a hawk for the right moment (ahem), fling it open in a wild flourish (ahem) and then thrust it excitedly under the hot spot (ahem). As Bach shows in his illustration below, that doesn’t work so well.
The official recommendation is to keep the Shapoopie fully extended for the first couple of walks so that your dog does not get spooked when it is extended. It’s also not wise to jump or chase after him waving the pole like a lunatic trying to catch the uhm, products, as this will also tend to spook him. Ahem.
You really have to get your dog accustomed to it first. After skeering the Bach out of his wits with my initial enthusiasm on my first outing, I decided to acclimate him to it by putting liver treats in the liner. It actually took a few days for him to come near it but eventually he lost his fear of it.
In our tests, the liners were easy to install and, after several deposits (ahem), I closed the lid and was able to walk with the collapsed Shapoopie without any “incidents” (i.e. the liner flying open and . . . uhm other stuff flying around). I tend to be very oblivious so I didn’t pay any attention to where the cup was in relation to the ground. And that’s as it should be: the Shapoopie stayed shut after I closed the lid. I placed a few videos at the end of this article demonstrating this capability. In the videos, I used plumbers’ putty as a fling tester product. I also swung the Shapoopie a bit harder than I had ever done so in actual use, so the video tests are a little aggresive. (Plumbers’ putty is also, by the way, much more dense than the actual “product”.)
The only issues I ran into were due to me not paying attention and therefore missing the opportunity, and the tendency for the Bach to take off running at the end of his cycle, thus again causing me to miss some of the … stuff.
So I have nothing negative to report about the product. I talked to the chief designer about some possible froo-froo enhancements, and he said that each of the following had been considered but rejected in order to keep the price of the Shapoopie down. Here are the ideas we had thrown around:
- A built-in flashlight. (The Bach and I often walk at O’dark:thirty in the morning and a light would help hit the target.) This would actually be pretty easy to add on with some duct tape or a snap-on device.
- An umbrella-like push button to automatically extend the rod (and yes I AM the laziest person on the planet).
- An articulated angle for the handle to alleviate wrist tension.
- A fork-like attachment to act as a partial scooper after a “miss”. (I think this, too, would be fairly easy to cobble on, I might try this trick and report back.)
Finally, I just had to try using a plastic bag in the cup rather than one of the official liners, the results are shown below. Although the bag may work, I don’t think it would be as secure when swinging the rod along while walking. But it’s an option. The holes in the bottom of the cup allow the bag to be partially pulled through and thus secured a little.
Summary? Good, solid product, well-thought-out, works, very nice for those of us who have chronic back issues. Takes a little time for the other participant to get used to.
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Here are a few videos showing how the official liner stays in place (for the most part). As I mentioned, the ‘tests’ herein are much more aggressive than you would normally encounter during a walk. I can attest that they never failed me during walks with the Bach. (And I’m also one of the most oblivious eejits on the planet.)
(NOTE: THESE ARE BOTH SWF FILES)