A flirt pole for dogs is a long pole with some rope attached and a toy or tug rope secured to the end. Think circus whip or horse lunge whip. You can easily make your own from a broom handle or some stiff pipe and some rope with a toy tied on securely. Alternatively, the easier option is to go to Amazon and have a look there.
- Great exercise without needing to go for a long walk
- Fun while your dog learns.
- Great for improving the bond you have with your dog as all the fun is close to you.
They make a useful tool for training and actually give your terrier a good exercise and brain workout all in one by utilizing his/her natural prey drive.
There are at least a couple of reasons why you may want to consider using a flirt pole with your Patterdale terrier or any terrier.
- If you want to race your terrier, you will have to make sure that he/she will follow a lure. To get the terrier interested in the lure it has to be made into a fun game, and this is where the flirt pole comes into play (pardon the pun!).
- Frequently, your terrier will already have a strong prey drive; you can still use the flirt pole to good effect for exercise and training.
- Let’s say your terrier is reactionary; you can tire them out with a flirt pole before going for a walk, making them more receptive and easier to train.
How to use a Flirt Pole Safely
Here’s how to use a flirt pole to help with both of these and to do so safely.
First, the safety points when using a flirt pole for dogs:
- If creating a homemade flirt pole, secure the toy onto the end very well. Terriers are known for their determination to hold on, so you don’t want the toy falling off.
- The pole needs to be a length that is comfortable for the person. Too long and there will be a lack of control. Too short and the dog won’t get as much benefit.
- Too short and there is a chance you could accidentally get bitten.
- Your terrier must already know basic commands such as sit, lie-down and stay to gain the most from using the flirt pole.
- Don’t use the flirt pole if your dog has joint or teeth problems.
Another couple of “rules” are not to make it too easy for the dog and not to help them too much. Early training can take place with a tug toy if they need help getting the idea.
Using the flirt pole for exercising your terrier is a great way to give them enough exercise when time is short, or the weather is especially bad. You can tire them out mentally and physically very fast.
Suppose you are feeling unwell and your terrier needs exercise. Another advantage is that exercising your dog with a flirt pole doesn’t require a huge amount of our energy to give your dog a workout. So, you don’t have to feel guilty about not taking them for a walk.
Once your terrier gets the hang of it, the flirt pole is a fun way to continue and develop training. Especially the commands sit, down, look, wait, take it, leave it, drop it etc.
Because you are working with your dog when they are wound up; you can work on getting them to pay attention to you and listen to commands when they are in a high arousal state from chasing and tugging at the flirt pole prey. It’s a great way to introduce leave it and drop commands that you may need when out with them. Always reward them well when they drop it quickly on command.
Using the Flirt Pole for Dogs
- To start your terrier must be in sit or down stay.
- You can flirt the toy, but they must stay until you give the command.
- When you give the command, then they can chase and tug.
- Once they’ve run around a few times, if they’ve not managed to outfox you, allow them to catch the toy, then tug at it.
- When you are ready, give them the command to drop it. If they are unresponsive a high-value treat or squeaky toy will usually work as a distraction.
- Get them into a stay position again and go again.
- Use the flirt pole in both directions to give them a full workout.
When they are interested in the game, you can up the ante with the flirt aspect and allow them to take it and hold on for a game of tug on your command.
So there’s the lowdown on flirting with your dog. Have fun!
You might also like to read about using a dog bike attachment.