What is a flirt pole?
A flirt pole can also be called a flirt stick. It is not a spring pole, which is something a little different and is discussed further on below. It is a dog toy that is actually utilized as exercise equipment as it encourages your dog to exercise through play. It lures them into chasing a moving object.
Cats have a similar sort of toy. You might know it as a cat tickler. A flirt pole is made up of a handle, cord or rope and it has a toy or something to entice your dog at the end.
What does a flirt pole actually do?
A flirt pole can be used for a variety of things. It is really great item for encouraging your dog into a game. That is a great way for them to exercise. It can also wear them out really quickly.
- A 10 minute game for you will involve your dog being worked out much more than they would on a longer walk.
- In reality is it is actually a very powerful exercise for a dog.
- It is effective even in a backyard.
If you are unable to go out with your dog on one day. Just a short time period with a flirt pole will give your dog a great cardiovascular workout and it will also tone and strengthen their muscles. These toys are also great as conditioning exercise.
Do remember to allow your dog to have a warm-up exercise first to prevent them straining their muscles or joints. You can do this by taking them for a brief walk or playing a different game with them just to get them into the workout frame of mind. This allows the muscles to stretch gently and is the equivalent of a warm-up for a human jogger.
Where can I buy one?
You can acquire a flirt pole for your dog in a variety of places. Your local pet shop should have some or you can also get them online. Amazon or eBay can always be relied on for these sorts of products. The main brands to look out for are Bully Max and Outward Hound.
What are the advantages of using a flirt pole with your dog?
You stand to gain the following benefits:
- Your dog can chase an object whilst being under your control without risk to another animal
- It can wear your dog out on a short space of time, which is really great for high-energy dogs such as Springer Spaniels or Boxer dogs. It strengthens and conditions your dog’s muscles because of the range of movement and sudden changes in direction. This engages the core as well as all muscles in your dog’s legs and back.
- When you involve your dog in a game like this, you strengthen your bond together and it teaches them to pay attention to you even when there are distractions around.
- These poles are really useful training tools for you and your dog.
- And your dog will learn how to stay, wait, release and even leave. A flirt pole provides great mental stimulation for your dog while still allowing them to still indulge in their natural Instincts of chasing and catching prey.
- It can also help your dog to become calmer
How to use a flirt pole to train your dog
Before you even begin to use the flirt pole with your dog make sure your dog is properly warmed up to prevent him becoming injured. Take your dog for a brief walk first or play a simple game of fetch or a simple walk. This will increase their heart rate and get them into the cardiovascular workout zone. When you have finished playing with a flirt pole, then you need to do the same thing to allow cool-down.
Get your dog to sit or lie down. Move around to catch the attention of your dog. Your dog should now be and be focused on the lure.
As soon as your dog catches the flirt pole, get them to release it. It is important not to turn it into a game of tug-of-war. If they refuse to let then just put the pole on the ground. This is a strong signal to your dog that you are not playing anymore and won’t play again until they let it go.
Once you have done this, you can give them a treat or other reward and repeat the process. Watch the following video to see a physical demonstration of using a flirt Pole.
Will one of these poles cause prey drive in my dog?
A lot of the dog owners are worried that a flirt pole will bring out the natural prey drive Instinct in their dog. This is not an issue. This drive is a natural part of being a dog and you can’t completely eliminate this behavior in any animal but you can train it to be harnessed properly and safely.
A flirt pole is actually beneficial for tapering off this drive as it creates rules and clear boundaries between the two of you. This also allows your dog to engage in this drive and release some of this natural instinct in a safe environment, unlike with real prey which really does have a mind of its own!
You can train your dog to remain, stay and leave using a flirt pole. You can also teach him how to release using this training.How old should a dog be before you use a flirt pole?
You may be eager to start training a puppy straight away, but a puppy is still in the very much elemental phase and exercise that involves high impact or sudden, jerky movements can cause injury.
The growth plates that aren’t fully developed yet in a puppy for this sort of game. The dog should be at least 12 months onward. It is not recommended to be using flirt poles until they are have reached this age.
Again, if your dog has any joint problems or other bone or tendon issues that it is best to try this toy out on a more soft surface such as grass, or even somewhere that has bark chippings.
How to make a flirt pole
You can easily make a flirt pole at home. If you are on a budget or simply don’t want to wait for delivery, then you can quite easily make your own DIY at home.
Step 1: Use a coping saw to cut down your pole to the correct size.
Step 2: Get a rope or bungee cord to the right size. It needs to be longer than the size of your pole. Add 40cm onto the length, according to how big your dog is.
Step 3: Push the rope or cord through the pole. Tie a large and secure knot at the other end. The other end should be secured onto your dog’s favorite toy or some other lure.
For more details then see this guide here.
What is the difference between a flirt pole and spring pole?
A spring pole is very different to a flirt pole in several ways. A spring pole is simply a spring that is joined on to a rope or cord and it is, more often than not, suspended from a tree branch. At the end of this there is a toy or reward for your dog.This enables your dog to engage in a game of tug-of-war even if you aren’t around or available to play with them.
This is really handy for dogs that like to play the game of tug-of-war. This most likely will be stronger dogs or medium-sized to large dogs. An owner would provide this facility for a dog if they want to build muscles or help to condition the muscle they’ve already built.
This may be a great way for Rottweilers to build strengthen their shoulders, for instance. If you are a more hands-on owner then a flirt pole is more for you as a spring pole is more autonomous. A flirt pole is something you can get involved in with your dog. This is a great way to bond with your pet as it burns more energy.
A spring pole isn’t as energy absorbing or tiring as a flirt pole, but it’s great if your dog wants to play when you’re not there. A spring pole, however, is great for muscle building and conditioning whereas a flirt pole is more for behavior-training as well as being mild exercise for your beloved pooch. You can pick up these exercise apparatus freely from pet shops or online.
Emma Charles, DVM, was born and raised in Brownwood, TX. She leads the editorial team at FunDogFitness.com where she shares some of the vast amount of personal and professional expertise she has gained over the years on the subject of dog care. A proud graduate with a doctorate from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University, she now shares her advice online for anyone who owns, or is considering, a dog.