A Cheap and Easy Toy That Also Trains Your Dog

How to use a "flirt pole" to exercise a dog who loves to chase and catch.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
June 13, 2012

You’ve probably seen those “fishing pole” toys for cats – basically, a slender rod with a feathery or furry toy on the end of a string. Similar toys for dogs are called “flirt poles,” and they’re a great way to exercise a dog who loves to chase and catch. You can buy them online or make your own.

Securely tie a piece of fur or leather, or a squeaky toy, to a length of strong cord. Then attach the cord to a piece of light, flexible plastic piping or bamboo about 3 or 4 feet long. Presto, a flirt pole!

Run the toy along the ground in front of your dog – make like a squirrel running away, and watch Dogalini go, go, go! It’s great backyard exercise or indoor rainy-day play. (Just pick a room without a lot of breakables…)

You can also use flirt-pole play to teach your dog to pay attention to your cues when she’s excited, and to drop valued items on cue. Check out my article on tug-of-war games for more.

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