Is your dog climbing up the walls even after a walk? Does your arm get tired from endless games of fetch? Thankfully, there’s an innovative chase toy likely to capture the complete attention of your dog without wearing you out. The flirt pole! This wand toy can keep your dog entertained within the confines of your own backyard. It’s similar to a giant cat toy, but better equipped to deal with a more aggressive set of chompers. The flirt pole, otherwise known as a “flirt wand,” has been around a long time in the dog sports world, but it’s recently caught on for the rest of us.
So how exactly does a flirt pole work?
A flirt pole consists of a pole, a line, and a “lure.” You hold one end while your dog tries to get the lure. Pretty simple, right? This toy combines all of the good things that you’ll find in a tug toy and a ball toy, giving your canine a true workout.
Dogs love the flirt pole because it’s a high chase game that reminds them of pursuing prey—but in this instance, you’re in control the entire time. You can also change up the lures, with options that range from tug-style toys to tough plush toys, leather, and more.
Why would you want to give the flirt pole a whirl?
The flirt pole has its origins in a sport called “lure coursing,” which is designed to wear out high-energy, goal-oriented sighthounds like Basenjis, whippets, and Salukis. It’s fantastic for burning off steam and giving your dog a “job.” Here are a few reasons you’ll want to try this dog chase toy:
- It’s likely to exhaust your dog really quickly—which means less time throwing the ball or trotting around the neighborhood.
- A great pre-walk activity to burn off steam so your dogs behave better on leash.
- You can use these toys inside, so long as you have one that’s appropriate for indoor use.
- It’s a great way to practice certain commands like sit, down, look, leave it, etc. and helps teach dogs self-control.
How to make a flirt pole for your dog
It’s pretty easy if you follow these simple directions:
- Gather together PVC pipe, rope, and a colorful dog toy.
- Thread the rope through the pipe and knot the rope to keep it from sliding out.
- Add the toy to the end of the rope.
- Decorate the PVC pipe if you desire!
Hat tip: Notes from a Dog Walker.
Here’s an example if you need a visual.
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Not the crafty type, or just busy?
There are many commercial flirt poles available in a variety of sizes and lure options.
These are the rules you’ll want to use for your dog, so they’ll get the most out of their time with this wand:
- Have your dog lie down, look at you and wait before play time begins.
- Say “take it” when it’s time for them to start playing.
- Let them catch the toy every once in awhile; that’ll keep them interested.
- Give them cool-down time between periods of play.
- Don’t forget to change direction—give them a little variety while they run.
- Most flirt poles aren’t meant to be ‘tug’ toys. Letting your dog tug hard on the lure can pull the pole from your hands, possibly resulting in injury.
Of course, the flirt pole isn’t for everyone. Some dogs should avoid this toy, particularly if they have bad joints, don’t respond to cues, or become overstimulated by the pole to the point where they can’t calm down.
Otherwise flirt away, and watch your canine enjoy a workout that won’t work you out too much.