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Old 01-01-2013, 12:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Flirt Pole Issues

Zoey is 2.5 yr spayed female. She absolutely loves the flirt pole. The problem that has developed is after about 5-10 minutes of play, she won't let go. She will sit and release maybe 6 or 7 times, but she will start ignoring me when I say "out". She will sit, down and even shake hands while she's clamped on to it, but won't release. Usually when she does this, I'll grab the line a inch or so from her mouth and hold it firmly, but I do not let her turn it into a game of tug or anything fun. This has gotten her to release until the last couple days.

Yesterday she started out great, but when she refused to release, I calmly tied the end to the hand rail to my house and went inside for a quick trip to the BR and when I returned (2 minutes?) she was still clamped on with the the line tight, kind of frozen in the exact same position. I'm not sure what to think of this. Dominance?, fatigue? she is in very good physical condition so IDK.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd let her win and run away with the flirt pole. The chase/hunt drive needs to be completed of catching the prey, defending it from others who might want to take it, bringing it back to the den, and having possession over it. That is why when doing bitework, the dogs are allowed to take the sleeve and just hold it while they calm down, or hold it while the handler walks/runs with the dog.

Not being allowed to work through the drive stages can be more frustrating for some dogs than others. The more frustrated they get, the harder it is for them to release.

I would do a number of things in your situation.

Do shorter sessions and stop before Zoey gets to the point where she won't release. Eventually, you will be able to do longer and longer sessions before she gets to that point.

Let her win more. Play tug more. Let her pull the flirt pole out of your hand and run away with it. If she is just going to take it to a corner and chew on it, then have a leash on her. When you release the flirt pole, grab the leash and run around with her until she is tired of running around and carrying dragging the flirt pole. This may be 30 seconds or 10 minutes, depending on the dog. When she drops it on her own, praise and start the game again. Her reward for dropping is the game starting up again.

Another thing you can try is to have a pocket tug on you, or a ball. When she is not releasing, redirect her to the tug or ball - immediate reward for releasing the flirt pole.

Occasionally, have a 'release free' game. Don't say a word, let her win, let her drop it on her own, redirect her to another toy, if necessary. You don't want the release to become a source of conflict between the two of you, that is no fun for neither the human nor the dog.

Not sure if this will help, but it will give you a bit of insight in how to work with this issue.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Lucia! This is great and I hadn't thought of it like this. I will try these out in a couple hours. I want to do it now, but she just ate so we got to wait.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great thread. I got Spirit a flirt pole for Christmas, first one. What exactly is the purpose of the flirt pole and how is it to be used properly?
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It is used to develop prey drive and build a strong bite and increase confidence when used for training protection.

It is used to have fun with your dog when used as a toy for burning off energy. Don't worry about the bite if it is used as a way for you to play with your dog. Just have fun, the dog certainly will.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The one I got has a hard center, do they all? So when he starts tugging and he gets himself some distance away, I have to let go LOL ... it's dangerous!
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Somebody on the this forum recommended trying a lunge whip for horses. I found them at a farm supply store for about $15. The pole is flexible like a fishing pole and the line is braided nylon. It works great and has held up nicely.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A lunge whip is what I use too. Keeta just chases and grabs the end with nothing on it, but Gryffon was always jumping up and grabbing the handle to pull it out of my hands. So for him, I tied a cuz ball to the end, and he was only allowed to chase and catch the toy. If he went for the handle, I just froze and said no, then encouraged him to get the toy. He quickly figured it out and now only tries to grab the toy, and not the handle.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't use anything on the end either.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nigel, can you post a picture of the flirt pole you use? Maybe I got the wrong thing ... I feel like it's a loaded weapon LOL, have to be very careful with it. I'm kinda scared of it
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