Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cheapass Dog Fun: Flirtpole!

A flirtpole is basically the dog version of those fishing pole toys for cats. I have a very small yard, much too small for a satisfying game of fetch, but it's big enough to play with the flirtpole. It's an effortless way to exercise Brisbane without going anywhere or doing anything.
The flirtpole at rest.

A flirtpole can be made from anything that resembles a stick and a string. I've thrown one together from a dog leash and a pvc pipe, another from a flagpole and a horse rein. Our current flirtpole is made from a horse lungewhip, which absorbs shock very nicely and also wobbles around unpredictability.

The bait on the end of the flirtpole needs to be something soft and bite-able. I used to use stuffies that I was tired of seeing, and these would inevitably get destroyed and result in stuffing strewn across my lawn. We've run out of ugly stuffies, so today I tied one of the Mighty Dinosaurs to the pole. Mini Spinosaurus survived the game with zero wear, thus proving the superiority of these stuffies.

Flirtpole is a very exciting game, it really gets Brisbane into prey-drive chase-mode.

In order to avoid destroying our flirtpole, he needs to have a good 'out', 'leave it', or 'drop' command. The game is played by teasing him with the toy, whipping it around rapidly, or just spinning him in circles. Eventually he will catch the toy and enjoy biting it for a few minutes before I ask him to let go so we can play again. I can also turn this into a self control game, where he must sit or lay down and wait to be released to get the toy.

If Brisbane didn't have joint or back issues, I would also encourage him to jump up and catch the toy. Instead, I try to keep him running flat and straight. He still ends up making a lot of turns, but he has yet to hurt himself playing flirtpole.

Ru does not play flirtpole. He might if he was an only child, but Ru has learned that the flirtpole turns Brisbane into a mindless chasing machine that runs over chihuahuas without even noticing. When the flirtpole comes out, Ru goes inside and hides on the couch in his tiny lair.

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