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My new GSD doesnt have much toy drive. We made a flirt pole and it is by far his favorite thing to do. I dont want to take it away from him but I almost feel like it is making him worse with wanting to chase cats, squirrels, groundhogs, any small animal that moves. We have 2 cats that he has not had access to yet but gets REALLY excited about in his crate when they walk or run by. If they just sit there by him he kind of freezes (mix of pounce and confusion appears). With the flirt pole are we encouraging this behavior? Or does he recognize that its a game and thats the end of it. We have a lot of squirrels and small animals around. IDK if this is just his personality starting to come out or if we are making it worse with the flirt pole. :doggieplayball:
 

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Among other things - the flirt pole should be used to work on OB while your dog is in a high state of drive. So if you're playing with the flirt pole at some point stop the game and provide a command, "Drop it!" or "Sit". Start with solid commands, set your dog up to succeed. (In the beginning, cheat a little and make sure your dog is tired before you try to change the behavior!)

You're training impulse control.
 

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Getting him to drop it has been a challenge we have to trade high value treat for him to drop it. He is getting really good at sitting and waiting (we leave it still while we ask him to do this) and then release him to chase it / play with it. I just fear I am encouraging him to chase the cats / small animals around here. He has just really started barking at ground hogs squirrels and wanting to chase them since this weekend.
 

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Say you teach him to "leave it" as in game over. You redirect with a high value trade off. An example would be a bully stick.

You play hard with the flirt pole. You practice a few commands. You end the game, "Leave it" or "Enough" (ect.) and you provide a bully stick. Something that will make your dog stop the drive, lay down and be quiet.

Your dog is reacting to a squirrel. You provide the command, "Leave It" and you trade off with a high value reward.

If you have a dog with drive at all, it's difficult to teach them not EVER to use it in a natural environment. Your goal is to teach him control of the drive.

You are also building your dog's confidence level. That could result in a seemingly higher prey drive. But building confidence will go hand in hand with control. That is where you have to step up your game.
 

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What Lilie said. :thumbup: Build OB into the game - impulse control makes the game continue. I trained Halo to go to a mat and lay down on cue, and stay there until released. So when I got a flirt pole and started playing with her with it, I used the mat as part of the game. She had to stay on the mat while I teased her with the toy, and then I released her off to play with it, and then sent her back to the mat.

Teaching your dog to think while in drive is a great skill, and it's something I wish I had started doing much sooner with Halo. I did do a lot of impulse control work around food from a young age, I just didn't do nearly as much with toys as I could have.
 

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I would think that the flirt pole would have the opposite effect - that is it would be an outlet for his desire to chase. You can't go wrong with a good 'leave it' lol. I called my puppy of a chipmunk just a few minutes ago, whoo hoo.
 

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Wow great post ... I need to get a flirt pole (Which I wanted anyway) and put it to use!
 
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