A flirt pole is a giant fishing rod for dogs which is an exercise tool, toy and training aid all rolled into one. It is made of a long pole with a length of cord attached to the end – at the end of the cord is a lure or toy.
The benefits of teaching your dog to play with a flirt pole:
- It teaches impulse control (how to control yourself)
- It allows your dog to chase a moving object without them running away from you
- Your hands are kept well out of the way of sharp teeth
- It is an effective way to teach the “leave” or “drop it”
- It prevents your dog running off with the toy
- It allows you to teach your dog that games have rules
- You have full control over the toy – how fast is moves and when so you can match the difficulty of the game to the dog
How to use a flirt pole:
With your dog on the lead, hold the pole in front of you allowing the toy to dangle on the ground. Flick the toy away from your dog, keeping it low and just out of reach, encouraging them to chase the toy. After a short chase session, allow your dog to catch the toy. Let them tug the toy for a few seconds before asking them to “leave”. You can do this by gently opening your dog’s mouth or distracting them with a treat.
Once your dog is enthusiastic about the chase, add some rules to the game. Ask your dog to sit and hold them back by the lead while you “flirt” the toy in front of them. As soon as they are calm or still, give an excited, “get it!” cue and allow them to start chasing the toy. Gradually you can increase the difficulty and duration of the chase and the length of time they must wait before the game starts.