One of our pups’ favorite activities is chasing a DIY flirt pole!
A flirt pole is a handle with a string holding on a lure, toy, or another item for your pup to chase. The idea is to make it move around erratically so that your dog is enticed to chase it. One of our pups, Prim, has a high prey drive, so chasing a stuffed squirrel or other woodland creature on a string helps her expend a lot of energy quickly.
We’re here to walk you through making a flirt pole in 3 easy steps. This is one of our favorite DIYs for being easy, cheap, and long-lasting.
If you’re looking for alternatives to a DIY flirt pole, but still want some good inside activities for your pup, check out our article on our favorite inside games. We even have a lower-impact section with DIY dog puzzles. Our dogs love them!
Benefits to a flirt pole
Before we get into how to make your own DIY flirt pole, let’s touch on some of the benefits of using a flirt pole to play with your dog.
Exercise & fun for your dog
To touch on the obvious, the primary goal of making your own DIY flirt pole (or buying one) is fun for your dog!
In our experience, it’s typically much more difficult to find fun activities inside for your dog, so we love having a variety of different options for rainy days.
Anything that gets your dog moving around, chasing, or sniffing will be a blast for your pup. If you’re blessed to have a high play or food drive pup, it’s much easier to entertain them.
If you’re looking for another fun exercise you can do inside, check out our article on using the other side command to burn some energy!
Another benefit of using a flirt pole to play with your dog is that you can work on obedience training while doing it!
Some of our favorites are “leave it” and our chase command “get it”, but you can work on whatever you want. Most pups can use some impulse control work, and anything that gets your dog to refocus on you when they’re doing a high-reward activity is great.
Goomba has an extremely high play drive, so working in obedience work during his play sessions is great to help him understand what we’re asking him to do and to help reinforce the behavior.
Helps increase play drive
Another great use for your DIY flirt pole is to help your dog build play drive!
If your dog doesn’t care for toys as much as treats, it can be difficult to build excitement about toys. For example, Prim has random times throughout the day that she’s more than willing to play, but if you just wave a toy in front of her when she’s sleeping, she doesn’t have much interest.
If you control the scarcity of the toy and remove it before your pup has lost interest, they will be excited to play more often! This could be a whole article, but for now, just remember to store the toy out of reach of your pup and try to catch them when they’re acting playful or otherwise moving around.
How to make a DIY flirt pole
Let’s get into how to make your DIY flirt pole!
One of our favorite reasons to create a DIY flirt pole is the low cost! Here’s the supply list:
- PVC pipe (24″-36″, we recommend 0.75″ or 1″ due to the stiffness)
- PVC cement/primer
- PVC cap (0.75″ or 1″, matching the pipe size)
- 6′ or so of string, rope, or cord (we recommend something soft)
If you don’t have the following, you may need to borrow these tools:
- Drill bit larger enough to make a hole for the string to go through
- A tool to cut PVC if it’s over 3′ (pipe cutter, saw, etc)
That’s it! Sometimes you can find 24″ segments of PVC, which eliminates the need for cutting completely and saves you a tool!
Creating the pole
For the first step, all you have to do is cut your PVC to smaller than 36″. We used 30″ for ours, but there’s no reason you can’t do 24″ or 36″.
Next, take your PVC cap and drill a hole in the top.
Finally, take the PVC primer and cement and use them to attach the cap to one end of the pole. Make sure to follow the safety and usage instructions on the can. The primer, specifically, is hard to get off clothing and is bright purple, generally.
Here are some images to help demonstrate, in case any of that was confusing.
Attaching the cord
For our second step of creating your DIY flirt pole, we will be making the cord.
You can use whatever you want, we recommend something that ties easily and is soft. We used a polyester cord, like this one. Put one end of the cord through the top of the cap and then grab it from the open end of the pole. Tie the end in enough knots so that it won’t slide through the hole you drilled. Now pull the knot so that it touches the cap. Tie another set of knots just outside the hole you drilled.
The goal here is to have knots both inside and outside of the cap so the string can’t slide in or out from the PVC pole. If it moves a few inches that’s fine!
Attaching the toy or lure
For the final step of creating your DIY flirt pole, we need to attach the object that will be chased. You can use whatever your dog is willing to chase, but we recommend using a new toy they only get while using the flirt pole. This will keep their excitement as high as possible.
To attach a toy, tie the cord in a knot holding the toy in place. It doesn’t matter how it looks when it’s attached, but if it retains a functional squeaker, it will be even more exciting.
If you want to use a food-based lure, you can try to use something like a Kong, that’s easy to tie and can hold some treats or other rewards easily.
Recommendations for pre-made flirt poles
If you don’t want to bother with making your own DIY flirt pole, there are good options that are fairly priced. Here’s one of our favorites from Squishy Face Studio. We personally used this one for a good while before making our own and didn’t have any issues.
Advice on using a flirt pole
Using a flirt pole is straightforward, but we wanted to give some tips in case you’re having issues.
First, make sure not to accidentally hit your dog with the stick. It’s possible to do and will make your dog think it’s a negative experience instead of a fun one. Second, try to catch your dog when they’re playful, as they will be much more inclined to chase than when they are asleep. Third, it’s also helpful to move the lure as erratically as you can without hitting anything with the pole. Dogs have their prey drive stimulated more when their prey is moving erratically instead of in a straight line.
Creating your own DIY flirt pole doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming! We love that’s an activity we can do inside or outside as well as the flexibility of replacing the lure.
Have you made your own DIY flirt pole or other dog enrichment tools? Share your photos of your dog trying them out with us on Instagram by tagging @therulybully. Have fun!