If you're looking to learn how to make a flirt pole for dogs, you've hit the jackpot by landing here today!
With 5 simple steps and in less than 5 minutes, you'll have a sturdy flirt pole that will last years!
My dogs have broken several store-bought flirt poles over the years. So I finally gave up on repurchasing one and decided to try my hand at a DIY flirt pole.
If you're new to flirt poles for dogs, keep reading to find what a flirt pole is. I'll also share some insight into the incredible enrichment opportunities this toy will give your pooch.
But before we get to the fun stuff…
What is a Flirt Pole?
A flirt pole (or flirt stick) is a piece of exercise equipment that encourages your dog to chase a fast-moving lure or toy.
Think of it as a fishing rod for dogs!
The lure can be any toy that gets your dog going. And going the DIY route means you can keep things interesting by using different toys.
A flirt pole has many physical and cognitive benefits for your dog too, which I'll share in a moment.
How to Make a Flirt Pole for Dogs
Materials You'll Need to Make a Flirt Pole
- PVC pipe
- Medium to heavy-duty paracord
- Washers (used as a stopper)
- Sports tape
- A dog toy of your choice (used as a lure)
5 Steps to Make a Flirt Pole for Dogs
Measure out a length of PVC pipe and cut to size. I went with a 22 mm diameter pipe at roughly 3.5 feet.
Measure out the paracord to double the length of the PVC pipe. Include a little extra for knots and fine-tuning the length later. Then thread the cord through the pipe.
Thread the cord through the washers at the end of the pipe. Then knot the cord. Use a lighter to melt the edge of the cord to prevent fraying. The washers are used as a stopper to keep the cord from running through.
Cover the washer-end of PVC pipe with the sports tape roughly a quarter of the way up. The sports tape is mainly for your comfort. An added benefit is it stops the pipe from slipping if your palms become sweaty.
It's totally optional but definitely worth the extra step.
Attach the dog toy or lure to the cord at the opposite end of the washers.
And voila, that's how to make a flirt pole for dogs!
Yup, it's really that easy!
6 Tips on How to Make a Flirt Pole for Dogs
This is my second attempt at making a flirt pole for my dogs, and it's a roaring success! But the first time – not so much!
So here are some tips to help you make your first try a big hit…
Use the right length of PVC pipe. If your pipe is too short, your dog will be running into you. A longer pipe will give some distance between you and your dog. I went with roughly 3.5 feet of pipe.
Opt for a PVC pipe that's thickness matches the strength of your dog. On my first try, I used a thicker PVC pipe. And although it was sturdy enough, it became heavy and hard to manage after playing for a while. Now I use a 22mm pipe. It's light and suits my small hands.
Choose your cord carefully. My dogs quickly broke the cord on my first flirt pole. So on my second try, I opted for a medium-duty cord that can handle the odd chomp from a German Shepherd.
Be prepared to adjust the cord length. If the cord is too long, it's hard to manage and tangles easily. That's why I recommended adding a little extra length when you measure out the cord. That way you can shorten it to the right length once you've experimented with playing.
Be smart when choosing a toy. My Sheps are heavy on toys and can destroy the wrong toy in seconds. On my first attempt at a flirt pole, I used a rag as the lure. But by the end of day two, it was shredded to pieces. So on my second time around, I used a more appropriate chew toy which works perfectly.
Watch out for your fingers! I accidentally got my fingers caught between the washers and the pipe just as my dog grabbed the lure and pulled on it (OUCH!). So just a heads up here, to keep your fingers safe!
7 Reasons You Should Use a Flirt Pole with Your Dog
Flirt poles are a lot of fun!
But they offer way more than just fun…
#1 – Flirt Poles Build and Stimulate Drive
Your dog has a natural drive to chase and catch prey. And a flirt pole is the perfect tool to stimulate this desire in your dog.
A flirt pole can also help build drive in dog's with a naturally lower drive, although this is not always the case.
#2 – Flirt Poles Improve Stamina
Flirt poles are a terrific way to build “staying power” in your dog. Because it's a fast-moving game, your dog's fitness will improve over time. This means a lower heart rate, better cardiovascular functioning, and enhanced overall health.
#3 – Flirt Poles Improve Physical Conditioning
Regular use of a flirt pole will naturally improve the physical condition of your dog. The act of jumping, chasing, and, leaping will build your dog's hind muscles and improve their core strength.
#4 – Flirt Poles Improve Cognitive Abilities
Mental stimulation is an essential part of raising a happy, healthy dog. And routine play with a flirt pole will stimulate your dog to think and problem-solve. Their goal and natural desire are to chase and catch the fast-moving lure.
But because you're in control of the pole, the game is unpredictable, and so your dog will need to use their “grey matter” to catch their prey.
And studies have shown that dogs play as a way to develop their motor skills. So what better way than to support them in this than with a flirt pole?!
#5 – Flirt Poles are Fantastic Training Tools
Using a flirt pole to practice obedience behaviors like sit, down, drop it is a fun way to keep your dog “brushed up” on their training.
But did you know that flirt poles can help your dog practice self-control?
Yes, it's possible to encourage your dog to enjoy controlling their impulses, even when they're rearing to go.
If you want to find out more about how to use a flirt pole for impulse control training, check out this article from iHeartDogs. It's an excellent article and I've applied the advice to practice behavior training with great success.
#6 – Flirt Poles Build Deeper Bonds
Studies have shown that “frequency of play” is a significant factor in the quality of the dog-owner bond. In fact, this study notes that your dog uses play to build an emotional relationship with you.
Using a flirt pole is an excellent opportunity to deepen the bond you have with your dog. And give them a great mental and physical workout too!
#7 – Flirt Poles are Perfect for Smaller Spaces
On days when I'm not able to take my dogs for a long walk, their flirt pole is my go-to tool to help them burn excess energy.
A flirt pole encourages a dog to jump, lunge, leap and chase the lure and you don't need a lot of space to make this happen. So flirt poles are the perfect way to help your dog burn energy even in a small area.
How to Use a Flirt Pole
Using a flirt pole is super simple. But don't take my word for it, check out this video below for a detailed explanation and footage of flirt pole best practices…
I hope this has helped you learn how to make a flirt pole for dogs. And I highly recommend making your own. It's so easy and literally takes a few minutes.
I've always been disappointed by the store-bought poles we've tried. And there are several benefits to making your own pole…
- You get to choose the perfect length of pole and cord.
- You can replace the lure or toy whenever you want.
- When the cord is worn out, you can replace it too.
- And making things for your dog is a labor of love and always satisfying!