I know, weird name!
What is a flirt pole?
A flirt pole is essentially a telescopic pole with a bungee on the end with a tug toy attached.
What does a flirt pole do?
- You can use it to teach your dog to drop items
- It’s brilliant for helping dogs with their impulse control
- It’s great for mental stimulation
- It’s particularly good for exercising your dog in small spaces.
How do you use a flirt pole?
Make the tug toy on the end of the flirt pole act like a small furry animal by dragging it along the floor and encourage the dog to chase it. Remember to keep the tug toy close to the floor for young dogs. Allow the dog to catch it. Say ‘drop’, with a treat under the dogs nose; if he wants the treat he’ll have to release the tug toy, so this is a great way to teach ‘drop’. If your dog doesn’t drop the toy, don’t turn it into a wrestling game, this will only encourage the dog to hold onto the toy. Instead, make the toy as boring as possible. Your dog will learn quite quickly that the game can’t recommence if the tug toy is in his mouth.
Once the dog is engaged in the game, you can start on impulse control. Each time your dog gets too close to the tug toy, flip the toy 180 degrees away from him. Quite soon he should learn that by getting too close, he’s driving the toy away, and he’ll start to hesitate. This is great, he’s demonstrating impulse control! You can now put a command – ‘get it!’ to release him to play the game again. To begin with, don’t make the game too hard; let the dog catch the tug toy quite quickly, but only if you’ve released him with ‘get it!’. Once the dog is really enjoying the game you can make it progressively harder to catch the toy.
When you’ve finished the game, let your dog know by saying something like ‘over’ or ‘enough’. You can use this with other games to let him know that play time is over for now.