Friday, April 19, 2013

Gettin' Flirty

Recently our friends over at Erie-sisti-Bulls wrote about one of Ed and Tess' favorite toys: the flirt pole!  We've been wanting to make a flirt pole for some time now, so it was perfect that they posted the instructions for us to follow.  We made a trip to Home Depot last week to purchase all of the supplies which cost us about $8 (it was great to have an actually purpose for visiting Home Depot with Athena other than to just parooz the light fixtures and such for training purposes).

The supplies for making a DIY flirt pole are quite easy to find and are also inexpensive.  They include PVC pipe cut to desired length, rope, two washers, and a toy to attach to the rope.  I pulled up Erie-sisti-Bull's instructions and supply list while at Home Depot and went around the store looking for each item.  After cutting the PVC pipe at the cutting station and getting our rope cut by an employee (annnnddd getting in a bit of training with Athena), we were in and out of the store in less than thirty minutes.

The flirt pole was super easy to assemble at home and Athena couldn't wait to find out why we had attached her bunny carcass to the end of the rope.  She soon found out the rules of the game in the backyard.  Once she mastered the game at home, we took it to the park for even more fun!

Focus, focus, focus:

Before we start a game of "chase the dead bunny," we ask Athena to be in a "sit" or a "down."  The game won't begin until she follows this first rule.

Get it!:

Athena isn't allowed to move toward the flirt pole until we say the magic words, which in this case are "get it!"

The funny thing is, Athena is actually more mesmerized by the rope than she is by the actual toy at the end.

Drop it like it's hot!

After Athena has caught her prey, we give her the "drop it" command.  After much practice with dropping her tug and toys on command, she now knows that she better spit out whatever's in her mouth when we say the words, or it will go into hiding.  She's pretty good about dropping the flirt pole on command, but we won't play with her if she doesn't follow this rule.  Not dropping it = bye, bye, flirt pole!

Here's a video of Athena in action (after about 15 minutes of playing with the flirt pole):

So far we've been loving the flirt pole as a different way to exercise Athena.  The only thing we've found is that at this point, Athena gets bored of the flirt pole after about 15 minutes (maybe it's because she's so totally exhausted that she can't take much more?!).  Apparently it's just not quite as entertaining as her beloved ball.  She does get quite the workout with it though, even in our small backyard!

Has your dog ever tried a flirt pole?  What has your experience been like with it?


  1. Koira used to love the flirt pole, but she gets bored with it really fast more recently. I always did the super easy way of making them, and just used a lunge whip (purchased at a local tack store or feed store) and tied a toy on the end. Koira's favorite for the toy was an empty bottle.

    I bet Athena would totally love lure coursing if she likes the flirt pole. You should bring her out to the CAT happening next month!

    1. I've actually been meaning to contact you about lure coursing because we think Athena would really like it! Please tell me more about the CAT next month...whatever that is =)

    2. A CAT is a Coursing Ability Test, and is what you compete in to get Coursing Ability titles. It is open to all breeds and mixed breeds registered with AKC (including through the PALs program). This CAT is taking place May 11th. There will be two tests, so you could get two legs toward a title. It will be in Turner, OR. You don't have to have practiced with your dog before doing a test, but may want to if you get the chance.

      More information about it on Chintimini Kennel Club's website.

  2. That's awesome. I bet Norman would love this. I always play get it with a big branch or stick on our hikes and he loves it. I'll have to make one of those once we have a yard to practice in! I'd love a real excuse to go to home depot also:)

  3. Is it normal that I want begin every comment with I LOVE HER SHE IS PERFECT????!!!
    Now that I have that comment aside, I need to try this! Madden would think it was a blast. Actually, I think Hades and Braylon may also get into this. Seems like an easy enough project too! Hmm I may force Jay into making one...

  4. Awww looks like she's having such a good time with it! How fun!

  5. Titan LOVES the flirt pole. He is exhausted after only a few minutes. He runs and jumps and BARKS but he isn't very good at "drop it". He's pulled the pole right out of my hands more than once but we continue to work on it. Looks like Athena had a great time.