Will My Dog Use A Springpole?

You may be wondering if your dog will use a Springpole....

The Answer is : Probably   


 All dogs are born with the instinct to tug on things, some have a stronger urge than others but they all have it in their DNA.    

Not all dogs will take to the springpole right away and some not at all.  90% of the time when a dog doesn’t like to play with a springpole it's because of how it was introduced to them or because of a bad experience in their past.  As long as your dog has some drive to play tug of war you should be fine.

If you are unsure of how your dog will respond to the springpole it is best to follow some simple guidelines to ensure a positive experience.  Nothing will turn your dog off of a toy more than allowing yourself to get frustrated with them for not being enthusiastic about it.

First step is to choose the right springpole, if you are unsure how they will respond to it then best to go with one that makes it easy to detach the bite lure vs one that is permanently attached or is difficult to remove. The Velcro strap on the TugMutt springpole is the best solution for this problem.  Next is to make sure the springpole is set up properly, if your dog is distracted by loud noises you may want to consider a soft shackle vs. metal to metal connections to avoid this fundamental issue.  

Ultimately the most important setup aspect is the height at which the bottom of the rope bite lure hangs, so choosing a springpole that makes adjusting the height simple is important.  To start you want that point to be about 6”-12’ above where their mouth can reach with all four paws on the ground. This will ensure that they have to raise their front paws to bite and hold preventing them from standing there and slowly chewing it to pieces.  

But before you introduce the springpole you should take whatever bite lure you plan on using and use it to play some old fashioned tug-of-war with.  Now that you have built a little excitement and have reinforced that this rope is for tugging, hang it on the springpole using the velcro strap. Use just enough overlap of the velcro to barely hold it up there, then encourage your dog to jump up and bite it.

Once they bite and pull, the bite lure should come down very quickly, praise them a lot and after a short while make them drop it and hang it back up.  This time use a little more overlap, it should take them 2 or 3 genuine tugs to pull it down, again praise them and hang it back up. Repeat this as many times as needed and gradually increase the time and strength it takes to pull the bite lure down. 

As with any toy or conditioning tool you need to stop the fun before it becomes un-fun,  always leave them wanting a little bit more. You can let them have the bite lure for a short while but always take it away from them when not playing.  

Once you’ve established that your dog will tug on the springpole you can focus on motivating them to tug as hard and long as possible.