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Old 02-24-2013, 02:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Flirt pole 101 - need advice

Tessa had her first IPO class last weekend, and a suggestion was made by one of the trainers to get a flirt pole.

I've looked online, but don't really like what I've found. Or the good ones priced ridiculously high, IMO. There must be a more economical way.

I thought about constructing my own, and searched online for how to make one, but haven't found any good how-to videos or articles. Perhaps I just haven't looked hard enough.

I found a rabbit pelt I want to use at the end of it. She wasn't really interested in their flirt poles with the tennis ball or burlap material at the ends. But she went for the squirrel tail.

Has anyone ever used food at the end of their flirt pole? She's prey-driven, yes, but when out of her element, she's not nearly as focused on it as she is when in our backyard. Would you suggest rubbing a piece of meat (like a hot dog) on the pelt to lure her in? Or maybe even tie it to the end too?

Does anyone recommend any kind of prey animal scent? This girl can sniff out a squirrel, cat, deer, etc, like I've never seen! I can't wait to get her into tracking.

Forgive my naivete here, but how do you keep your dog focused on it in a distracting environment? Or does anyone run into this issue at all?
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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All you need is a stock or lunge whip from Tractor Supply or some other farm and ranch supply, and tie a toy or rag to the end of the lash. If you want to scent it. you can get game scents from Academy, Gander Mountain, or any other sporting goods store that sells dog supplies.

Ilka will focus 100% on her flirt pole in any situation. She LOVES it.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenVera View Post
Tessa had her first IPO class last weekend, and a suggestion was made by one of the trainers to get a flirt pole.

I've looked online, but don't really like what I've found. Or the good ones priced ridiculously high, IMO. There must be a more economical way.

I thought about constructing my own, and searched online for how to make one, but haven't found any good how-to videos or articles. Perhaps I just haven't looked hard enough.

I found a rabbit pelt I want to use at the end of it. She wasn't really interested in their flirt poles with the tennis ball or burlap material at the ends. But she went for the squirrel tail.

Has anyone ever used food at the end of their flirt pole? She's prey-driven, yes, but when out of her element, she's not nearly as focused on it as she is when in our backyard. Would you suggest rubbing a piece of meat (like a hot dog) on the pelt to lure her in? Or maybe even tie it to the end too?

Does anyone recommend any kind of prey animal scent? This girl can sniff out a squirrel, cat, deer, etc, like I've never seen! I can't wait to get her into tracking.

Forgive my naivete here, but how do you keep your dog focused on it in a distracting environment? Or does anyone run into this issue at all?
It sounds like you may be putting too much trouble into something when she just doesn't have it. Trust me, I was the same with my boy before just accepting that he didn't "have it".

I have seen plenty of dogs who are nervous or uncomfortable in a new environment, but as soon as the tug/flirt pole/helper comes into view, the level of drive pulls them through the fact that they are 'out of their element'. If the dog does not have sufficient drive to pull her out of the problem, I'm not too sure she has the necessary fundamentals drives to work.

Putting food on the end of a flirt pole completely changes the objective. Hell, Zeus would do that in ANY type of environment, but he'll never play tug out anywhere else like he does at home. He just doesn't have that much drive.

Have seen quite a few dogs come out to the club whose parents say "they go crazy for it at home", then they just never really do much at club. Not because they're uneasy about it, they just really don't care THAT much, and their drive isn't high enough to draw them to it.

What are your goals with her?
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Asmit, you may be right. Now that I've seen her in action...or lack thereof, I don't yet know if she'll pick up on it. But since she's only attended one class, I thought we could keep trying. At least until the group kicks us out for noncompliance.

Plus, the trainers and other members in the group said we could focus on the tracking and OB side of things if she just doesn't show any interest in bite work. And as it stands now, I think she could take it or leave it. However, she was interested in what was going on when the other dogs were on the field going after the decoys. She watched from the car.

My goals for her are to get her into lure coursing, tracking and OB. The problem with lure coursing is that if she doesn't ramp up her drive in that environment, then she's not going to know WTH to do when I let her go on the course. But we can't know until we try her out at it.

I thought the flirt pole could help with working on her drive. It was suggested that I start with her in the backyard to get her into it. Then move her into the front yard with the flirt pole. Then if that goes well, take her to a dog park or other distracting place to see how she does with it. Then, if she shows more interest, we can take steps towards lure coursing and IPO.

And, like your dogs, Asmit and Rosemary, she'll do just about anything for food. So that might play a role in getting her more into it.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I just use a cattle whip with a chamois tied on the end. However, I think what the others have said is likely correct. The dogs that really like this will take to it in just a matter of minutes. If they don't, they might be able to have some fun, but it will always be a struggle for you and the dog. This is not about food or scent. It is about prey drive. You must make the object come aloive and if the dog does not respond, they were probably not meant to do it.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with all of the above, but I don't plan to give up so easily.

She did take an interest in the squirrel tail, although it wasn't instantaneous. I think she may be equally interested in a rabbit pelt.

I really don't see any reason not to try it with her. She may surprise me. She may not. But what does it hurt to try? If she doesn't have the drive, then I'll know for sure after the lure CAT. And even more so as we continue training in IPO. We can always focus on tracking and OB instead (and likely will), and I'm told she can still title in those events.

I'm going to try making one by following Rosemary's tips. And hey, if all else fails, we've got a great homemade toy.

The way I figure it is that she's four years old, and had a rough past. I don't think she's ever really had a chance to just be a dog. If she's not meant to do these things, that's totally fine with me. At least we can have some fun figuring these things out. I would like to give her these opportunities.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If they are stress in new places could try to add stress at home. It may help them over come it. You can tie your dog up in the back. Put a milk jug on her line with some rocks or something to make noise in it. So when the dog pulls on the lead it makes noise. Do with when playing tug with her. It may help it may not. Like other say she may not have what it take to do it. Very few dobermans (ever more females) can not take the stresses that come with IPO.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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With all due respect, I think some may be missing the point of this thread.

Asmit plainly asked what my goals are for Tessa. Let me reiterate that it is not paramount that she and I succeed at any working sport. If it doesn't happen, it's totally okay with me. I get that she may not be cut out for it, but it doesn't matter because I just want to find something she enjoys doing. It's still worth trying out. I don't see any harm in it. Am I mistaken?

I appreciate where you are all coming from, and I certainly understand and respect that many of you have been working dogs far longer than I've even been thinking of doing it. And you're likely correct in your assumptions about her inabilities. But, as I said, it doesn't really matter if bite work doesn't happen. We can focus on tracking and OB and that would be just as rewarding so long as she enjoys it.

A caveat to this:

I'd be less than forthcoming if I didn't include that I take a personal interest in learning more about working sports, and exposing her and trying her at these things is just as much for me as it is for her. I think it could be something I may really enjoy, provided I have a dog who is "cut out for it". And someday down the road, if I'm more educated and experienced in working dogs, I may seek out a puppy from a working line who will be capable of competing and titling in various sports.

So, really, a simple flirt pole is just the start of things.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Have a Dachshund Patches ie hunting dog buggy whip with a furry toy tied to the end the dachshund goes crazy going after the toy. Buddy Doberman tied up gets to watch Patches going crazy over toy Patches wore out. Put Patches in the house go untie Buddy he goes crazy after the toy. Do have a friend that has a dog that might go crazy over the toyto show your Dobe how it is done. Good Luck
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenVera View Post
With all due respect, I think some may be missing the point of this thread.

Asmit plainly asked what my goals are for Tessa. Let me reiterate that it is not paramount that she and I succeed at any working sport. If it doesn't happen, it's totally okay with me. I get that she may not be cut out for it, but it doesn't matter because I just want to find something she enjoys doing. It's still worth trying out. I don't see any harm in it. Am I mistaken?

I appreciate where you are all coming from, and I certainly understand and respect that many of you have been working dogs far longer than I've even been thinking of doing it. And you're likely correct in your assumptions about her inabilities. But, as I said, it doesn't really matter if bite work doesn't happen. We can focus on tracking and OB and that would be just as rewarding so long as she enjoys it.

A caveat to this:

I'd be less than forthcoming if I didn't include that I take a personal interest in learning more about working sports, and exposing her and trying her at these things is just as much for me as it is for her. I think it could be something I may really enjoy, provided I have a dog who is "cut out for it". And someday down the road, if I'm more educated and experienced in working dogs, I may seek out a puppy from a working line who will be capable of competing and titling in various sports.

So, really, a simple flirt pole is just the start of things.
Absolutely not. I was in the same position as you. I eventually realized that he really didn't enjoy it and there was no use continuing it. He learned to love obedience and tracking though so I stuck to that and continued diving into a sport that I am now infatuated with.

I just always try to caution people in that position, because it is not fun to 'accept'. It was very disappointing for me, but it sounds like you may be coming into it with more realistic goals.

Have seen people give up on the sport due to their dog's lack in ability though, so if you love the sport, participate in the parts of it that your dog DOES enjoy, learn as much as you can, and maybe get a more capable-lined dog when your ready.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Not that I know anything of the sport but I am going to say that there is nothing wrong with trying and seeing how it goes. Geezzz.....if I had given up on Kyrah for not having drive she would probably be a fat couch potato! I have gone through many downs working with her in agility and finally after 2 yrs or so her light has finally switched on.

I bought what the feed store called a buggy whip and made a flirt pole $12. I would build up that I have something she can't have. Then let her see it and then chase it briefly to begin and put away until later. Be sure to keep the session short you want to put it up before she gets tired/bored with it. If ur going to use a scent I would slowly reduce the scent until there was none.

Maybe do a search for some threads or PM tperkins if I am not mistaken his boys drive was a little low.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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You can teach her to play and build the drive she has. How much she'll get in the long run, no one knows But there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with wanting to see how much you can build. I went to a seminar re: this the other weekend. The 3 dogs I train all have huge drive for a Flirt pole. Flirt tugs like a mad man. The other Vizslas not as much. In a week, I have both Vizslas tugging much better and playing better. Even Flirt is on fire with play.

I would take the toy she has slight interest in and put it on top of the fridge. Bring it down every day and KEEP if from her> Make a HUGE deal out of your precious. Let her get quick glances. Do it for 60-90 seconds and put it up. Then when you are ready to play, whip it out for a second, hide it. Repeat. Repeat. put it away. Build up her WANT for that toy. Make the toy be a prey animal. Make it act like a prey animal. This is where many of us (including myself) fail and give up.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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My sincerest thank you to all for the tips! This is great advice!

I'll keep you posted on how she does.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If she doesn't have the drive, then I'll know for sure after the lure CAT.
I would take her to at least two CATs before making a decision. The first one Ivan was interested - watched the other dogs. When he ran the course he'd go after it so far and then come back to me. I'd send him out after it again, he'd go so far, and then he'd come back to me. Repeat.

The second time I took him to a CAT he knew the game. He was reared up on his hind legs barking his head off he wanted out there so bad. This time it took no encouragement and I had a hard time getting him leashed and away from the lure at the end because he kept wanting to go after it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I would take her to at least two CATs before making a decision. The first one Ivan was interested - watched the other dogs. When he ran the course he'd go after it so far and then come back to me. I'd send him out after it again, he'd go so far, and then he'd come back to me. Repeat.
I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier. Your post just reminded me about one of Havoc's puppies. Very low key boy. He's been out hunting 1-2 times as a younger puppy. Gets distracted easily, oohh leaf, doesn't chase the birds. All the other puppies were on fire. We took him back out at 10 months old this weekend. he wanted to chase and then got a little distracted. So we let Envy out....let the competition begin. He totally turned on. He may never be dynamo like his sisters but if his owners had given up, they'd have never known he does have instinct.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
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That is awesome! What a great idea! I will definitely take your advice. The CAT in March runs Sat and Sun. Perhaps I can enter her both days? If so, I will absolutely try it. And Adara gave me some great advice for helping to build her drive.

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I would take her to at least two CATs before making a decision. The first one Ivan was interested - watched the other dogs. When he ran the course he'd go after it so far and then come back to me. I'd send him out after it again, he'd go so far, and then he'd come back to me. Repeat.

The second time I took him to a CAT he knew the game. He was reared up on his hind legs barking his head off he wanted out there so bad. This time it took no encouragement and I had a hard time getting him leashed and away from the lure at the end because he kept wanting to go after it.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:23 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I'm curious as to how things progressed with the flirt pole and what you did or didn't end up doing.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:45 PM   #18 (permalink)
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We haven't had much opportunity to work with it. She lacerated a pad on her paw and needed to lay off of it for awhile. I did get a 5' lunge whip from my local feed store, and lengthened the drop to about 6', and then put a piece of faux fur at the end marked with quail scent. She went nuts for it! But that very afternoon is when she was injured.

ETA: I should also add that we will not be able to attend the lure CAT this coming weekend, as I had anticipated. We are moving, so I'm hoping to take her to the CAT at the end of the month. I will continue to work on her drive with the flirt pole in the meantime whenever we have chances to do so.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:52 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Aww, poor baby. Hope she heals up soon.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thanks, Rosemary. She's all healed up now.

She must've cut it on something on the ground while running next to my bike, and I didn't even notice it until we got home. She's so stoic; she just kept running without making a sound or favoring it. Ugh, I felt like such a jerk.

I think I'll try these:

Ruffwear Grip Trex? Dog Boots

Has anyone ever used them on their dog(s)? She's pretty touchy about her feet. It will probably take awhile to acclimate her to wearing them.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:14 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Glad to hear she's better. I've never used boots, so I can't help you there.

I've just started biking Ilka again. We went just over a mile and a half yesterday, with an average speed of 5 to 6 MPH. She freakin' TROTS up to almost 8 MPH.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:22 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I know just what you mean!

I actually have to ride my brakes quite a bit to get her to slow down. She just wants to blow out of the gate and never slow down the whole way! We were up to about two miles per day before the injury, but we're going to have to work back up to it again.

And she was weighed at the Vet today after getting the all-clear from him. She gained almost a pound during her "down time". Damn.

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Glad to hear she's better. I've never used boots, so I can't help you there.

I've just started biking Ilka again. We went just over a mile and a half yesterday, with an average speed of 5 to 6 MPH. She freakin' TROTS up to almost 8 MPH.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:29 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Ilka gets plenty of breaks. The route I generally go has a lot of stop signs. I like going that way though, because I know we are unlikely to encounter any loose dogs.
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