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A Cat Toy for Your Dog?

Do you find it difficult to give your dog enough exercise on bad weather days? Or maybe your dog just has too much energy and nowhere to put it all?

Now you can play with your dog and help tire them out, rain or shine, in a fun and safe manner. It's called a flirt pole and it looks like a giant cat toy.

It's great for indoors or out of doors. Here is a video that shows just how much fun you and your dog can have while also reinforcing a polite sit behaviour.

Some Basic Cues for the Game

Be sure to have a cue for your dog to "take the toy" and to "let go of the toy." This ensures you can keep the game from getting overly arousing (and get your flirt pole back in one piece.)

You can easily build these cues.

Take it!

  • When you first start, keep the flirt pole well out of reach of your dog. Then say "Take it!" and drop the toy end into your dog's reach and begin playing.
  • With time, start holding it just at the edge of where your dog could reach it. If they move towards it before you say the cue, just take the toy away and wait for them to sit or move away. If they don't go for it, say "Take it!" and begin playing.
  • If your dog grabs it before you give the cue, say "oops!" and drop the stick and walk away. Your dog has to learn to wait for your "take it" cue before the game can begin.

Give!

  • Step forward and put a treat under your dog's nose. When they let go of the toy, mark this with a Yes (or a click) and then give them the treat.
  • When they are reliably "trading" the toy for a treat, introduce the cue word "Give." We do this by saying "Give" and then pause for a silent count of 3. If they drop the toy, mark this with a "Yes!" (or a click) and give them the treat as you take the flirt pole away. If they don't drop the toy, put the treat under their nose as in the first step and mark when they let go of the toy.

Where to Get One

You can purchase flirt poles from a variety of online dog websites.

In Canada, You can get the Kyjen Tail Teaser Dog Toy from Amazon.ca for about $12. It's one of my favourite flirt poles. If your dog can shred a toy in 15 seconds, then you will want the Squishy Face Flirt Pole which you can find at Pet Expertise for about $30.

You can also build your own out of just about anything. It's just a long stick with a strong nylon rope attached to a fun toy.

[Image Credit: Robert Terrell]

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