Flirt poles are a great way to get puppies intrigued with Tug. You can buy ready-made flirt poles, or make your own. I’ve found that many flirt poles don’t hold up to larger dogs, which is why I make my own. Additionally, the DIY flirt pole below has more spring, which helps prevent whiplash.
DIY Flirt Pole
I’m sure you can modify these as needed. How ever you choose to make them, I’d consider the strength and springiness when designing it. When dogs start getting really good at using the flirt pole, they need springiness in the line to prevent whiplash or broken teeth. You also don’t want the cord or handle to snap. This is why I used the horse whip as a pole/handle instead of PVC pipe or other solid pole. Some people still use solid poles, it’s simply not my preference.
“Pole” (horse whip)
Shock cord Clips— You probably don’t need a pack this large. I only used one hook to attach the toy and one end cap (these end caps are HARD to get the cord into).
Make sure your shock cord and hooks/caps are the same size!
Toy- I got this one as opposed to getting scrap fleece from the store (cheaper), because it has a squeaker already sewn in. However, you have a lot of options with this. People like using shammy towels, sheep skin, and microfiber shaggy dust mops (or a shaggy mitten). You can google Dog Flirt Poles for ideas. What ever you choose, make sure it is SAFE. It should be soft and not allow teeth to catch.
I used a knot that was similar to a “water bowline knot” to secure the shock cord to the whip. I also put an end cap on that end of the shock cord to stop it from fraying and tucked it into the whip flap. I then attached one of the hooks onto the other end of the shock cord to attach a toy to the end.
If you don’t know how to attach shock cord to the hooks, here’s a video:
It cost me around $35, which is inline with completed flirt poles on the market, but this one has more “spring” due to the horse whip handle and it can handle larger dogs. Many flirt pols on the market only accommodate dogs up to 40lbs.