What is a Flirt Pole?
A flirt pole is a tool used to train dogs, teach them how to think when they’re excited, and build muscle.
It is essentially a pole with a length of cord and a lure attached at the end. The flirt pole stimulates a dog’s prey drive by engaging them in chasing the moving object on the end of the pole.
Why Use a Flirt Pole:
Flirt poles are a great way to exercise a dog without having to exert too much energy on your part. The pole and cord allow you to move a lure much faster, thus working a dog even more in a short period of time.
The pole also creates a buffer, which helps prevent any accidental hand clamping, and keeps your dog from running into you while they are quickly chasing the lure.
It is a great option for working dog breeds or show breeds because it conditions muscles and helps develop performance skills needed in things like luring-courses. But any prey driven breed can reap the benefits of workin with a flirt pole.
How to Build a Flirt Pole:
Flirt poles are a cheap and easy tool to build that will last for ages and provide hours of stimulation for your dog.
Supplies You Will Need to Make a Flirt Pole:
- PVC pipe ½-¾”, or an old broom handle.
- 10-15 feet off 4mm cord or a similar type of cord. You can get cord cut to length at your local hardware store or REI.
- Washer that is larger than the opening of your PVC.
- Athletic tape.
- A chew toy, rag, or other lure.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Make a Flirt Pole:
- Cut the PVC to a length of 3-5 feet using a hand saw (you’ll find a table vise useful for this) and then use sandpaper to remove any sharp pieces from the end.
- Length is up to you. A longer pole offers more distance between you and your dog and will move the lure more quickly, but there tends to offer less control.
- Thread your 4mm cord through the PVC tube or, if you are using an old broom handle, tape the cord along the length of the handle.
- Place your washer on one end of the cord and tie a stopper knot. This will prevent the cord from sliding through.
- Cut the other end of the cord to your desired length – typically 3-5 feet. I like to leave it on the longer side and I adjust the length with a knot depending on the space I am in. If we have to play inside I can tie it so it is shorter, but when we are outside and there is more room I can leave it longer and move the lure around more.
- Using a slip knot, put the lure through the knot and pull it tight. I finish off the slip knot with a square knot, just for extra security.
- You can add athletic tape to make a nice grip at the end.
How to Use a Flirt Pole
This is where all the fun happens!
- Start in a space where your dog can be safely off leash and has plenty of room to move around.
- Introduce them to the lure and start moving it around on the ground. Once they take interest and begin chasing it you can start to experiment with different movements.
- Hold it up to get your dog to jump, move in circles, whip it back and forth, it is really up to you and you will get a feel for how to best engage your dog and get him moving.
- Remember to periodically allow your dog to catch the lure. If there is no reward they will begin to lose interest.
- This can also be a great tool for command training. You can teach your dog to sit and stay before they get to chase, to leave it when they catch the lure, etc. Be creative!
Here is a short clip of my dog chasing our newly created flirt pole. It was too cold and windy to go outside so we didn’t have much room to work with but you can get a sense for how it works. You can also see where I tied off the extra cord to make it shorter for inside play.
The flirt pole is an easy, versatile, and quick to make tool that will stimulate your dog and get him active. You can use this daily or whenever you have the chance. If you would prefer to buy a flirt pole, there are great options on the market, like this flirt pole.
I’m a good ol’ Midwestern transplant that moved to Colorado for mountains and adventure. I love rock climbing, writing, and eating cookies. When I’m not on the side of a cliff you can find me walking my dog, Peanut, playing piano, and blogging about my climbing adventures on The Gobi Gazette.