Trainer reveals which toy is a must-buy when you have a high-energy dog

Man playing with dog in autumn forest
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As anyone who’s ever had a high-energy dog can attest to, it can feel almost impossible to tire them out.

You can make them work for some of the best dog treats, take them on a nice long walk, and play plenty of tug of war, but then when you try to sit down for five minutes they’re still bounding around the room.

However, there’s one toy you may not have thought of. According to Jamie Huggett, or Jamie the Dog Trainer, of Southern Cross K9, this handy toy is a must-have if your dog seems to have an almost limitless supply of energy. And he’s explained why in a recent Instagram post.

In the caption, Huggett explains that the toy is called a flirt pole, and that they’re great for “genetic fulfillment, building strong stimulus control in training and burning off excess energy.”

“You can buy these online,” he explains, “It’s effectively just a leather rag on the end of a pole, and it’s great for giving your dog an outlet if they’ve got high prey drive.”

He goes on to say that you can also use flirt poles in training, to improve stimulus control – the ability of a dog to respond to cues in their environment – and for obedience. 

You can make the dog chase the rag, and then when they get it encourage them to hold onto it. Pull away gently so that the dog needs a strong grip to hold onto it. 

Another activity Huggett uses the flirt pole for is moving his hand up the pole so it gets closer to the dog’s mouth and nose. When the dog releases the pole, he gives the dog a treat. You can throw the treat away from the dog, so that when they return they get to chase the flirt pole again. 

“In summary,” Huggett finishes, “A flirt pole is a great way to build a bond with your dog, because you’re having fun. It’s also a great way to get genetic fulfillment out of your dog, and burn off some energy.”

Flirt poles aren’t too expensive, but they’re also one of the four easy DIY dog toys you can make at home! All you need is a PVC pole or wooden stick, a bungee rope, and an old toy – and a pair of scissors. 

But whether you’ve already got one lying around, you’re buying one, or you’re making one a home, your high-energy dog is sure to love their flirt pole!

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.