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Canine Enrichment: Flirt Pole

Cat owners are quite familiar with pole and string toys. Those are the products where a small toy is attached to the end of a string. Most cats go crazy for these toys because they tap into their predatory drive. Their owners wiggle and swing the string around making the toy look like it’s live prey. That natural drive in all cats to catch prey is satisfied, leading to a happy and healthy cat. Did you know that these types of toys aren’t just for cats? Flirt poles are the bigger dog version and canines love them just as much! They are a great dog training and canine enrichment tool. Your dog will learn and have fun at the same time!

Benefits of a Flirt Pole

The main benefit of using a flirt pole relates to canine enrichment. The toy swinging around in the air and being dragged on the ground makes it look like it’s live prey! This is the type of play that your dog’s brain is craving. They want to use those hunting instincts. Their brain interprets catching that “prey” as a huge reward. That’s what canine enrichment is all about…embracing and satisfying your dogs natural drives and desires in safe and fun way.

Flirt Poles are also a great dog training tool, specifically for impulse control. The design of the toy allows you to have better control over the reward. When used properly, your dog can learn to “chase” the toy only when you allow them to. Make your dog listen, before, during, and after the play session. Ask your dog to sit still and listen for a few moments and then reward them by allowing the to chase the toy around.

Flirt Pole DIY

Flirt poles are a super easy DIY project if you can’t find one at your local pet store. You can easily make one using a horse whip and tying a toy at the end. Find these at a local horse tack shop or tractor supply. If you don’t live in an area with horses, you can make one with supplies from any hardware store. Here are the basic steps:

For a medium to large size dog you will need:

  • 4-6 foot long ¾” PVC pipe
  • 10-15 feet of rope
  • One of your dog’s favorite toys
  1. Thread the rope through the pipe and tie a knot on the base.
  2. Tie a knot at the top of the pipe leaving a couple of feet of extra rope to swing around.
  3. Tie a toy to the end of the rope
  4. Have fun!

 

Do you use a flirt pole with your dog? Tell us about your experiences!

 

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