I have a confession to make.
I have been training dogs for over ten years and I had never tried a flirt pole until this summer. Now that I have, I am hooked.
First, what is a flirt pole?
The first time I heard the word “flirt pole” I said, “What?” too. Essentially, a flirt pole is a pole with a string and a toy attached at the end of the string. Simple enough? I ordered a Squishy Face flirt pole. I don’t know about you, but I think Squishy Face is a perfect name for a dog product. 🙂
What does it do?
Exercise: Especially during summers in Texas, we just aren’t able to walk our dogs like we would like because of the heat. A lot of my students are looking for alternatives and this is a great one. Not to mention, you don’t have to wear yourself out trying to exercise your dog. Ten to fifteen minutes of chasing a flirt pole toy will tire most dogs.
Focus: Doing any activity for a length of time will help promote focus.
Reinforcement of the cue “off”: When I play with the flirt pole I cue my dog to “off” (remove his mouth from toy) and “take it” (race after the toy to grab it).
How do I use it?
In the video below, this was my first time to play with Duke and the flirt pole.
Get him engaged in chasing the toy. When you first start the game, make it easy and quick. Allow him to win easily. As you progress with the game, make it more difficult by keeping the toy away longer.
Teach a release. When the dog gets the toy in his mouth, cue “off” or “release.” If he is new to “off” what you will do is pull the toy tight and hold it against your leg and wait for him to remove his mouth off of toy. As soon as he lets go say “good, okay, take it” and begin the game of chase the toy all over again.
Because Duke gets really excited with several repetitions of running after the toy, I started to take breaks like asking him to sit and calmly talking to him for a few seconds before I re-cued him to run after the toy. Taking breaks allows dogs to calm back down, preventing them to get over stimulated.
I have found a great new game to play both with large and small dogs! (I even have two Yorkie students playing this game.) Have you tried a flirt pole? Tell us about it! Want to try out our favorite flirt pole? CLICK HERE
Picture Credit: Thank you for the help of Duke and Joe for the pictures and video.
BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING
BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.™
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