Are you curious if your dog will like this sport?
While you don’t need formal training, these at home activities will get your dog excited at home or for the upcoming trial.
Just like those dangly toys for cats, dog’s love to chase prey as well. To start out I used one of his favorite soft toys, and attached it to the end of the pole. It quickly became one of his favorite activities. When we finished, I kept the pole and the toy hidden away, to keep the ‘excitement’ of getting to play with it. And it works, my dog’s face lights up when I bring out the pole!
If you are going to a FastCAT trial, add a plastic bag to your existing toy at the end of the elastic rope. Play the same ‘keep away’ game, and make sure you add opportunities for your dog to catch the toy & bag. If your dog is already in love with the game of chase with the flirt pole, you can just use the plastic bag if you want to get some practice in before an upcoming trial.
Instead of the ribbons that come standard on the flirt pole, try tapping into their inner prey drive and swap it for a sheepskin toy. My dog goes wild for it – gleefully happy when catching it, and whipping his neck and and forth to “kill” it. Our sheepskin toy is the ‘special’ toy that goes with the flirt pole.
Money cannot buy the look of joy on your dog’s face when they are running through a field chasing a bunny, and the floppy tongue smile of an exhausted dog. Oh wait, for about $500 you can! You can purchase a ‘home’ lure coursing set up to tire your dog out when and where ever you want. It is on my wish list, because I know Kai would _love_ it!
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Games are a great way to build your dog’s drive, practice focus, and grow the owner/handler and dog bond!
Building Foundational Skills
Chasing a lure is great fun for the dog, but it can also be an opportunity to teach or practice skills like “drop” or a release cue, like “chase” or “get it”.