If you could only supply your pack with one toy for the rest of their lives, what would it be? It’s a tough choice, I know. I have a ball-crazed border collie, an aussie with an unhealthy attachment to his stuffed shark, and a hound dog that thinks a lightning bug is the greatest thing in the world. How could I choose just one toy?! Well, hopefully I’ll never have to, but just in case, I’ve settled on an answer.
Behold, the flirt pole.
I’ve found that a majority of pet owners have never heard of such a thing, which makes it all the more fun to introduce. The flirt pole – a.k.a. absolute magic – is one of the only toys that all five of my dogs go completely nuts over. And on paper, it’s kind of ridiculous. My dogs are obsessed with a chunk of fleece tied to a stick?
Yes, yes they are.
This handy thing is my go-to tool for quick bursts of exercise, building muscle definition, and even improving impulse control. It doesn’t require a giant backyard or any other special equipment aside from the pole itself. And as for the poles, you can make them easily enough if you’re a DIY-er, or they’re available online for around $30 or less. And I’ll be the first to say it was one of the best investments I’ve made.
Once you have the pole, all you need is a dog with a little bit of toy drive or instinct to chase a moving object. As long as they’re interested in catching what’s on the string, you’re all set. Depending on the dog, you can implement rules as far as how long to tug, when to drop, and having them lay down to start again. Changing the speed, direction, and height at which you move the toy will keep your dog engaged for as long as you let the game last.
Admittedly, some dogs just aren’t into it, but for those that are, this thing will become your best friend. It’s perfect for owners whose dogs’ energy outlasts their own since controlling the pole is much less taxing than chasing it. A session with the flirt pole can replace a walk entirely or it’s a fabulous pre-walk game to help settle them down.
For me, it’s an awesome way to exercise each of my dogs individually and give them that one-on-one time on days when I can’t make time for more.
It’s also important to note that a few dogs aren’t well-suited to a toy like this one: growing puppies, older dogs with poor joints or mobility, and dogs that are overstimulated easily may not be good candidates for a flirt pole.