In this article, we are going to review and explore a few of the more common questions about a flirt pole and spring pole such as:
- What are the differences between a flirt pole and a spring pole?
- What is the advantage of a flirt pole?
- How to make a flirt pole? How to play a flirt pole game?
- What is a spring pole? Why do Pit Bulls like a spring pole so much?
- How to make a spring pole?
- What kind of dog breeds that are best suited for a flirt pole or spring pole?
Flirt pole, or also called a flirt stick, is a toy consisting of a long pole with a rope attached at one end and a lure at the other end of the rope. The lure itself can consist of many things such as your dog’s favorite toy, hide, rag and other things.
Originally, a flirt pole is used to practice self-control and improve your dog’s physical condition and chasing ability to compete in certain competitions such as lure-coursing and Schutzhund.
For everyday use, a flirt pole is simply used to make your dog exert his pent-up energy so he won’t cause any trouble. You can play a flirt pole game anywhere as long as there is enough space such as in a room or backyard.
Read also my review of the best flirt poles for German shepherds.
What Makes a Flirt Pole so Fascinating for Many Dogs?
Many dogs are addicted to the thrill of the chase and catch and a flirt pole offers your dog a means to experience that high chase game. If your dog is a type of dog who can’t wait to wake up every morning and spend all of his energy and time to chase your neighbor’s cat, squirrel, or car then he’ll quickly fall in love with this flirt pole game.
What Is The Advantage of a Flirt Pole Toy?
The main advantage of a flirt pole is that it allows your dog to exert his natural prey drive in a non-destructive way while still let you maintain full control of the toy all the same time. You can change the direction quickly, make the lure move fast, or change the height to keep the game alive.
By performing various exercises (jumping, running, watching, changing direction), you can improve his physical condition, teach your dog self-control and hone his chasing and targeting skills. Regular flirt pole activity helps to improve heart and lung function, fine-tune motoric response, and strengthen muscles and joints.
How to Make a Flirt Pole?
To make a flirt pole you will need to get either a bamboo stick or a PVC pipe, a rope, and your dog’s favorite toy. The pole is typically 3-5 feet long 3/4″ PVC pipe with a rope length between 8 to 12 feet.
You might need to adjust the pole and rope length depending on your dog’s condition. Some dogs might not feel challenged enough if the pole and rope are too short. On the other hand, some dogs might find it difficult to chase the “prey” if the pole and rope are too long.
After you find an ideal pole and rope combination, your next step is to thread the rope through the pipe and tie a knot at either end of the pipe, think of fishing pole, it has a similar construction. Then tie a toy to the end of the rope and voila! you have made a flirt pole.
Let’s take a look at a video below to get a clearer explanation:
How to Play The Flirt Pole Game?
- Tell your dog to lie down, and leave the toy alone. Only after you tell him to “chase”, then he can play it. This first step is important and must be done before and after the game to practice and impose self-control on your dog.
- After you tell your dog to chase it, you stand in one spot while moving the pole to make the lure alive. You can do various movements, you can move the pole and lure, snap the pole to change direction, or swing the lure in the air. The idea is to keep the toy moving and keep your dog from getting used to the pattern of our movements.
- After a few turns, let the dog catch the lure. This is an important part of the game. You must let your dog win after he puts some effort to keep from getting upset and unbalanced.
- Once your dog has caught the lure, you can perform tug-o-war exercise by tugging gently at the pole and encouraging your dog to pull back. In this way, your dog will have a feeling he actually wins the game.
- If your dog snatches the toy before you allow it or is mouthy or jumping on you, you must pause the game and resume the game again later. This is important to impose self-control on your dog.
- When you want to end the game, issue the command to release the lure and exchange the lure with his favorite treats.
Flirt pole game is not suitable for very young dogs (under a year) or dogs with health issues such as obese dogs, dogs with joints or heart problems.
What Kind of Dog Breeds are Best Suited for a Flirt Pole?
A spring pole is best suited for a Schutzhund dog breed such as German Shepherd, Boxer, Rottweiler, Dobermann, etc.
Spring pole is a toy that imitates the tug-o-war game. This toy is often used to train Pit Bulls for muscle building exercises, building great obedience and impulse control.
Why do Pit Bulls like Spring Pole so Much?
Many generations ago, Pit Bulls are bred for bull-baiting. They inherit the instinct to grab and hold their prey from their ancestors. I would say Pit Bulls have the strongest grip compared with other dog breeds. And spring pole provides a means to exert this inherited grip and drive instincts.
How to Make a Spring Pole?
Take a look at the video below from BullyMax for step-by-step instructions on how to build a spring pole.
Introduce Your Dog to The Spring Pole
Once it is ready, your next task is to introduce the spring pole to your dog. The best way that works for me is to play the tug games first with my Pit Bull and gradually raise the height of the rope. In this way, your dog will slowly learn the concept of gripping.
How high do you raise it off the ground?
There is no definite answer to this question but it is advisable to never raise it higher than your dog is able to reach the ground with his hind legs.
What Kind of Dog Breeds are Best Suited for a Spring Pole?
A spring pole is best suited for a bully dog breed such as Pit Bull, American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, etc.