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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow GSD enthusiasts!

My family’s puppy Felix, a 4.5 m/o male, really, REALLY likes the flirt pole (FP). He likes it more than high value treats or any other distraction we’ve found in our back yard, including squirrels, his frisbee, my 5 y/o son dressed in a Chewbacca costume, etc.

We make him sit and stay, and wait for the “break” before we start playing, and when he catches it once in a while, we drop the pole and walk down the bungee to the lure, and just stand on it until he gives up and sits. We try to avoid making him jump or change direction too suddenly, and limit his play sessions to about 5 minutes, with plenty of sit-stay interruptions as we go. He’s doing really well and behaving decently most of the time, except for his reluctance to release the lure. He’s slowly destroying the fleece material and soon I’ll need to replace it.

Lately, he’s been very insistent about playing with the FP, to the point that he’s barking and snapping when he wants to go outside and play with it. We keep the FP in a latched storage bench in the backyard, and when he wants to play he’ll sit in front of it and stare meaningfully back and forth between me and the bench. He can’t seem to get enough, and I’m hesitant to keep going for more than 5 minutes at a time because he gets clumsy. I think he’d probably chase it till he had a heart attack if I let him.
Is this obessive behavior something I need to redirect, or is it more about impulse control and Felix being a young puppy?
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the flirt pole has it's applications but I think the missing aspect in this is that he wants to play with the FP and not you. I would put it up and find something he will play that interacts with you. A tug, a ball, games, etc.
 

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My dog is the same way. He likes it more than food, balls, or affection. If I try to play ball with him in the yard, he runs to where the flirt pole is kept and just sits and stares at it. My last dog was obsessed with tennis balls. He’d chase them until his feet fell off...lol. This one is all about the flirt pole.
 

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I agree with Jax. It sounds like your dog has good prey drive. I would learn how to use an obedience tug or a ball on a string to develop his obedience. It is a lot less cumbersome and you can train for a lot more specific behaviors.
 

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I ac
I agree with Jax. It sounds like your dog has good prey drive. I would learn how to use an obedience tug or a ball on a string to develop his obedience. It is a lot less cumbersome and you can train for a lot more specific behaviors.
I actually tried a ball on a string because it is easier - to train, to reward, to carry. Nope, he wasn’t interested. He’ll run after the ball, and then go carry it to the flirt pole...lol. I did 2 ball with my last dog and it worked beautifully. But he had intense ball drive from seven weeks on. It never abated. I tried that with this dog. Nope. He’s okay with the ball but the flirt pole is what makes him go nuts.
 

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Try using the ball on a string like a flirt pole by teasing him with some misses and teaching him to strike the ball while you hold the string rather than simply throwing the ball. You can do the same with a small obedience tug.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I might’ve overstated it... He will play with other toys once I put the FP away, it’s just clearly not his first choice. He does well with retrieving frisbees and balls, even dropping them at my feet sometimes, and when I put the FP away he holds a sit until I release him for a treat, and is then willing to play other games, including a puzzle-treat one.

My concern is that he just seems a little fixated on the FP, and doesn’t ever seem to get bored with it. We’re taking Felix to obedience classes, and one of our instructors, who is familiar with Shutzhund training, showed us the drop the pole/ walk-it-back technique for decoy release, and encouraged us to use the FP in controlled and limited circumstances. We’re trying to do what we’re paying these folks to teach us, but it’s between classes, and today my wife got a little intimidated by Felix’s barking, snapping and nipping when he wanted to play this morning and she told him “no.” I guess he’s talking back and testing his boundaries, like adolescents often do. After he barked and snapped at my wife, he obeyed me when I told him down/stay, and calmly and obediently let me lead him to his crate for a little down-time...
 

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Yep
Try using the ball on a string like a flirt pole by teasing him with some misses and teaching him to strike the ball while you hold the string rather than simply throwing the ball. You can do the same with a small obedience tug.
Yep, that how I use it. I try to make it so fun. I use the ball on a string like a tug because he does like to tug. The enthusiasm just isn’t there for the ball. However, he clamps down on the flirt pole like a tug and has a vice grip. lol

I’ve watched videos from all the big trainers on how to make it more fun. I’ll keep trying.
 

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My now 7 year old love love loves the flirt pole, always has. She has high prey drive and it is her favorite toy. She gets obsessive about it and we have to make it go away for a while from time to time. We rotate where we hide it. If she sits and barks where it was stored we show her it's "all gone" and she quits. The trick for us was to not always store it in the same place all the time and to put it away when she wasn't watching where we hid it when we needed a new storage location.
 

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Jupiter goes absolutely ape for frisbees. Unfortunately, his drive for them is too much, so I put them away. In fact, eventually I left them at the park for someone else. Now he has a good appreciation for balls, but not excessively so.
 

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I find the responses to a FP in my dog close to behavior of dogs who are obsessed with the laser. I would not use it again with this dog. Jax is right on IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
the flirt pole has it's applications but I think the missing aspect in this is that he wants to play with the FP and not you. I would put it up and find something he will play that interacts with you. A tug, a ball, games, etc.
To be clear, the Flirt Pole I’m talking about is a 4-foot length of PVC with a bungee and micro fleece lure attached. When we play with it I’m actively involved, moving it around, and making him stop, sit, and release repeatedly throughout the 5-minute session.

Does this not count as me interacting with him, compared to our other games of fetch, tug, etc.?
 

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To be clear, the Flirt Pole I’m talking about is a 4-foot length of PVC with a bungee and micro fleece lure attached. When we play with it I’m actively involved, moving it around, and making him stop, sit, and release repeatedly throughout the 5-minute session.

Does this not count as me interacting with him, compared to our other games of fetch, tug, etc.?
No. He's interacting with the pole not you
 
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