Lately, I have been recommending a flirt pole to many of my clients. It is a product that I have really liked for a long time, and I recently realized that I don’t recommend it enough. So many dogs love it! It is a versatile dog toy that I feel is very underrated. You might see it in the pet store, or on amazons recommended section, and keep moving past. It’s not flashy or pretty, but it is an entertaining, functional toy, that many dogs find fun and exciting. It will provide your dog’s hours of enrichment, it can help with some training, and it can get your dog exercise in a small space.
What exactly is a flirt pole?
A flirt pole is a pole that you hold in your hand, that is attached to a string, that has a toy secured to the end. You use your arm to move the pole around in a way that entices your dog to catch the toy at the end.
When and where do I use a flirt pole?
You could use the flirt pole inside or outside. But, I would recommend that your dog be off-leash while playing, so you might need to be in an enclosed space if you are playing outside. You don’t need a ton of space to play, just enough for your dog to run a few steps in either direction. You could play with a flirt pole inside on days when it is too hot, too cold, or too rainy/snowy outside to exercise outdoors. Or you could play for fun anytime!
How to play with a flirt pole
First off, have fun and make sure your dog is having fun!
Dangle or drag the toy in front of your dog to entice them to chase it.
As they begin chasing move the toy away from your dog.
You can move it around back and forth several times.
Let your dog catch it before they become frustrated and give up.
When your dog has caught it, let them have fun with the toy for a little then exchange some treats so they easily let go of the flirt pole.
You can repeat this process several times before putting the toy away.
Charlie demonstrates stay, leave it, and how to use a flirt pole in this video.
Using a Flirt Pole for Training
One great thing about a flirt pole is that you can use it as a fun reward during training. Before using the flirt pole for training spend some time just playing with it with your dog. Make sure your dog thinks it’s a SUPER fun toy before you start using it for training.
Anyone can easily learn how to use the flirt pole as a reward. Step 1) Ask your dog to perform a behavior- start with something they find easy. Step 2) When your dog performs the requested behavior begin to play with the flirt pole instead of handing out a treat.
The flirt pole is most easily used with behaviors that your dog already knows. It would be difficult to teach your dog a new behavior using the flirt pole. (i.e. use treats to teach the behavior, use the flirt pole to proof the behavior).
As your dog begins to understand that the flirt pole is a reward you can make the requested behavior more challenging, and you can even make the flirt pole itself a tempting distraction!
5 Behaviors that you can work on with flirt pole
Sit-Stay with distractions
Down-stay with distractions
My overall rating for this toy would be 5 out of 5 stars. (I am rating flirt poles in general, not one specific brand of flirt pole.) I am awarding this toy 5 stars because it is so versatile, inexpensive, and easy to store. You can use this toy indoors out outdoors. The flirt pole can be used as a fun way to get your dog exercise, or as a fun training aid. Most dogs, of most breed groups, will like this toy.
Gets your dog exercise
It is small, lightweight, and relatively easy to store (even in tiny NYC apartments)
It can be used as a training aid
You and your dog play together
You can make one yourself or buy one relatively inexpensively
Can be a good way for kids (10+) to play with the family dog
You and your dog play together. If you are busy or pressed for time this is not a toy that you can give to your dog to keep him/herself entertained without you.
Some dogs do get so excited and over aroused by it that they might bark when it is first introduced (easily fixable though!).
If your dog is a heavy chewer you will have to replace the toy on the end.
It is not the best toy to use with older or arthritic dogs, as the jerky movements could irritate their joins.
You should avoid playing with the flirt pole on a slippery surface.
Would I recommend this Product?
For most dogs, yes!
Here are a couple links for flirt poles on Amazon.
© Leash and Learn 2019