I’m headed out for a week of pet sitting in a neighborhood that’s overflowing with loose, sometimes aggressive dogs. I’m not worried. Here’s what I’m packing:
- Direct Stop
- Two Flirt Poles
- My favorite pajama pants
Why the flirt poles? Because in addition to driving out of the neighborhood to walk in a safer area, I also want a fun way to exercise the dogs I’m caring for…without having to leave their fenced in yard. Sometimes walks just aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I know you feel me on this.
Guys, I want you to meet your new BFF. Introducing the The Flirt Pole:
The flirt pole is what you’ve all been waiting for. It’s a an easy DIY toy (that you can also buy for under $30 bucks, if you hate making stuff). It not only helps your dog work on their basic manners and impulse control, but it also gives them a rockin’ workout in just a few minutes.
And you hardly have to do a thing.
This is a great way to physically and mentally challenge your dogs, without leaving home.
Wanna know more about this magic pole?
Let’s do this in lists…ready?
How a Flirt Pole Works:
You drag the toy on the ground in a circle, they chase and tug, with rules.
Think Giant Cat Toy.
Why you want to use a Flirt Pole:
1. It totally and completely exhausts dogs in record time. But it doesn’t exhaust you.
2. You can use it as a fun way to practice the following commands: sit, down, look, wait, take it, leave it, drop it.
3. You’ll be working your dog’s rile/recovery skills. That means they’ll get to practice listening to you when they’re in a state of high arousal (chasing and tugging) and learn to cool off quick (drop it and lie down) when you say so. Handy for reactive dogs who are working on impulse control.
4. You can tire out your dog at home, before going on a walk, so they’re more relaxed.
5. You can tire out your dog at home, instead of going on a walk, so you’re more relaxed.
6. You can make a small flirt pole (half the regular size) and use it inside the house, if you don’t have a yard.
7. You can trick your cats into thinking they’ve shrunk, by telling them it’s their regular chase-it toy.
How to make a Flirt Pole:
1. For a medium to large size dog, buy a 4-6 foot long 3/4″ PVC pipe, 10-15 feet of rope, and a dog toy.
2. Thread the rope through the pipe and tie a knot at either end of the pipe, to keep rope from sliding in and out.
3. Tie a toy to the end of the rope.
4. Optional: buy fun colored electrical tape (finally an excuse to buy lime green tape!) and wrap the pvc pipe so it’s all fancy schmancy pants.
Where to Buy a Flirt Pole, if DIY isn’t your thing:
1. Outward Hound makes a lightweight one (a good option for smaller dogs or smaller yards):
Flirt Pole Rules You Will Use:
1. Dog must lie down, look at you, leave the toy alone, and wait for you to release them, before playing.
2. When you tell them to “take it”, then they get to chase.
3. After a few passbys, reward them by allowing them to catch the toy.
4. Let them tug until you tell them to “drop it”.
5. Have them lie back down and wait until they are calm. Then start again.
6. Change direction every once in a while, so your dog isn’t always running one way.
7. If the dog grabs the toy before you say “take it” or is mouthy or jumping on you: take a time out and/or start over.
When to skip the Flirt Pole:
1. If your dog has bad joints or injuries that could be aggravated by quick changes of direction and jumping.
2. If your dog doesn’t know the following cues: wait, take it, leave it, drop it. Practice with treats first, then a tug toy, then move on to the flirt pole.
3. If you do not know the dog well. It’s not safe to rev up an unfamilar dog. While this is one of my all time fave tools for shelter dogs (it tires them out so fast!), they must know basic commands and you need to have a relationship with the dog, before getting them super psyched. Establish a working bond first – make sure you’re communicating with each other – then start off slow.
4. If this overstimulates your dog to the point that they can’t calm down after. You know your dogs. If this isn’t a good fit for them, just pass.
5. If your dog thinks it’s dumb. Some dogs just don’t dig it.
Everything I know about flirt poles, I learned from Pit Ed Camp hosted by the badasses at BAD RAP. If you learned something here, it’s because of them, so feel free to click on over there and donate some scrills to support their work.
In fact, here’s Tim from BAD RAP showing you exactly how to boogie down with the flirt pole:
Are you using a flirt pole at home? Tell me about it!