We all know that dogs are great at learning tricks and commands. This is why dogs have proven to be such popular companions for so many generations, because of their expressive personalities and great ability to communicate.
There are many tricks and commands that a dog can learn, no matter their age, and there are many tools and toys that can be used to facilitate this. Dogs learn best through activity, and by being rewarded by the owners that they adore.
The tools that can be used to train a dog can vary greatly in terms of their purpose, the number of benefits they can provide, and the price that they cost.
As well as this, there are multiple toys and tools that are designed specifically for training dogs for a number of purposes, such as becoming guide dogs or competing in competitions.
One of the best tools that can be used to train a dog effectively is the flirt pole. But what exactly is the flirt pole, how is it used, and what benefits can it really provide?
These questions and even more will soon be answered, as we explain what flirt poles are, and how they might benefit you!
What Is A Flirt Pole?
A flirt pole refers to a very simple, but very effective contraption, which consists of a long string that is attached on one end to a small toy, feather, or another enticing object that the dog will want to chase.
The string is attached at the other end to a long pole that is then controlled by the owner, by whipping it in different directions to have the lure move about erratically.
Flirt poles can also be bought for cats. This wide appeal to both dogs and cats is due to the hours of play that can be derived from them. Dogs are enticed to chase after fast-moving objects as they are usually rewarded by their owner for a successful catch.
If you own a dog, you may even want to use a flirt pole to help your dog to use up any excess energy, to keep them from bouncing around the house!
How Do You Use A Flirt Pole?
When using a flirt pole, you can make simple movements with your hand, in order to have the lure move about and entice the dog.
If you drag the lure slowly across the ground it can create for the dog the sense of a prey animal slowly crawling about, which greatly entices them to chase.
You can vary the speed at which the lure moves to teach the dog to persevere after a difficult target and to defer gratification. You could even hold the pole just out of your dog’s reach to entice it and ‘flirt’ with it, hence how the device got its name!
What Benefits Does A Flirt Pole Have?
Flirt poles are greatly beneficial for dogs, with multiple physical health benefits. Flirt poles also teach dogs important lessons and increase their mental intelligence.
Using a flirt pole will cause your dog’s energy levels to spike, as they are lured from side to side and up and down to catch the target.
This can be beneficial for your dog’s physical fitness, improving their muscle strength as well as the healthiness of their heart. Pent-up energy is also released in playing with a flirt pole.
Pent-up energy can be risky in a dog, as it can later come up as aggressive behaviors.
Using a flirt pole can also teach your dog important lessons, such as how to persevere towards a particularly difficult target, and how to defer gratification.
It teaches your dog that they may have to put in great work in order to achieve a reward.
However, you should make sure that you do occasionally allow your dog to successfully catch the flirt pole, as dogs learn incredibly quickly through positive reinforcement, and they may risk becoming more anxious if they receive little reward for their hard work.
Flirt poles also help to improve your dog’s memory retention and reaction times. Quickly whipping the lure from side to side will have your dog trying to keep track of it, with constant use, your dog will be quicker to react.
What Are Flirt Poles Used For?
Flirt poles are perfect for training sighthound dogs for lure coursing events. These events involve dogs racing to chase a lure that is usually rabbit-shaped, to be the first to pass a finish line.
These races are often kept exciting by having the lure change directions frequently, to ensure that the dogs are paying proper attention.
Teaching a dog to train with a flirt pole will improve its reaction times and allow it to react to stimuli far quicker, and then ace the competition at lure courses!
In Germany, police dogs are often trained with flirt poles to engage in the sport of Schutzhund. Schutzhund involves the dog using its ability of smell detection to find contraband in a set period of time.
Using a flirt pole to train for this is beneficial, as it teaches the dog to retain a solid grip on the lure once it manages to successfully catch it, which is a skill that a police dog would need to develop.
Unfortunately, flirt poles are also used to train dogs for dog fighting events. Using flirt poles for dogfighting teaches a dog to react quickly to threats and to quickly identify and take advantage of weaknesses.
The flirt pole can also increase a dog’s prey drive, which entices them to target prey that they view as weak.
Flirt poles are incredibly useful tools not only in keeping a dog in shape but also in training them in a number of vital behaviors. Flirt poles teach dogs the value of perseverance and teach them how to better achieve goals to then achieve rewards from their owner.
Who’d have thought that a simple bit of string on a stick could have this many benefits? If you want to improve the health and intelligence of your dog, you can’t go wrong with a flirt pole!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does A Flirt Pole Make A Dog Aggressive?
Flirt poles, despite promoting highly active behavior that activates the prey drive, in fact, lead to your dog being less aggressive!
Flirt poles encourage your dog to use up their prey drive energy in a short period, which means that they won’t then be lashing out at other dogs or other people.
It also teaches them what is and is not worth chasing after.
Is A Flirt Pole Ok For Puppies?
Of course. Teaching a puppy valuable behaviors and training them to properly control their prey drive at a young age leads to them being more intelligent in later life.
Young dogs retain a lot of what they learn in those formative years, so training them, especially with a flirt pole is definitely encouraged.
However, you should make sure not to push a puppy too hard. Playing with a flirt pole can use up a lot of energy and strain a dog’s body, so make sure that your puppy is not overexerting itself at such a young age.