Improving Patience using a Flirt Pole

Sometimes our pups have no patience and need to work on their impulse control. Whether they scarf down a treat when you’re trying to teach the “Leave It” cue or constantly pull like they are a sled dog, it can seem tricky to teach your pet impulse control.

One tool that dog owners can utilize is a flirt pole, which is essentially a pole with a long rope that has a tug toy at the end. You can purchase a great flirt pole made by Squishy Faced Studio , or make your own.

Dog owners who are interested in using a flirt pole should also consider their pet’s current health and age. When playing with young dogs whose growth plates haven’t closed or older dogs that may have joint issues, pup parents should be careful to keep the play a little less exuberant. Its also a good idea to double check with your veterinarian to make sure that this is an appropriate outlet for your pet.

If your dog is healthy, does not suffer from any joint issues, and needs some work on their impulse control, you can teach them patience and brush up on their basic obedience using the flirt pole. To begin, you can tell your dog to “sit” or “lie down.” After a short pause, you can release them with an ‘ok’ or ‘free,’ and start moving the lure around. Over time, your pet will become more adept and sitting or lying down patiently before being allowed to chase the lure, and you can gradually build how long your dog has to wait Since it is important to make sure that your pet takes breaks while playing with the flirt pole, you can even incorporate fun cues such as “touch,” “roll over,” “spin,” or even “puppy pushups” (sit, down, stand, repeat) before they are allowed to resume.

Once your dog is able to wait patiently for their release, you can make the game a bit harder by moving the lure in the air before allowing them to jump a few times to try and catch it. Of course, you don’t want to do this very often during a session in order to protect your pet’s joints.

Another way to use the flirt pole is to teach ‘drop it.’ Let your pup catch the lure and after a couple of tugs go still – end the game. Cue ‘drop it’ and wait for your pup to let go. As soon as they do, restart the game!

Image credit : Squishy Face Studio
Image credit : Squishy Face Studio
The flirt pole is such a great tool because even if you don’t have a large backyard, you can still make one yourself that’s a bit smaller than the ones available for purchase so you can use it in your living room. Having a smaller flirt pole on hand is also a good idea because you can use it to give your dog a great workout when it is too hot or too cold to go for long walks at the park. Plus, for dog owners who are unable to stand for long periods of time, a flirt pole can also be used while sitting down on the floor, on a chair or even on the couch.

Even though the flirt pole looks like a giant cat’s toy, don’t be fooled by its looks—it’s a great way to work your dog’s brain while teaching them patience.

About the Author:

Amanda Ferris is an accomplished writer who has written for sites such as TheThings, IndieReader, Fashion&Style, and New York Family. For the past five years, she has volunteered for Bay Ridge, Brooklyn’s very own Love Wanted Pet Adoptions. She currently owns a laid-back 12-year old Bichon Frise named Esme, and a 3-year-old fearful mystery mutt named Zoe whose noise phobia and anxiety sparked her foray into the world of positive reinforcement dog training.

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