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Discussion Starter #1
(Not sure if this is in the right section or not, but if so, mods feel free to move)

My dog is a beagle/ jack russel mix. So yeah, he's got a ton of energy and his favorite thing to do is go from tree to tree in our front yard looking for squirrels. He absolutely loves "hunting" (he never catches anything :eyeroll:) and I want to find something for him to do that will challenge him both physically and mentally.

I've tried the "find the toy" game but he's always uninterested. Whenever I take him outside he doesn't care about anything else except chasing--more like looking because he can't catch any-- squirrels. I've tried the flirt pole and he seemed to like a little, but even then, he didn't really seem into it. What are some games I can play with him that he will actually be interested in? And what can I do to get him to be more focused on me and the game we're playing rather than looking around for squirrels?
 

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I'd say a flirt pole sounds like just the thing you need:

How to make a flirt pole

I'd work on basic commands like sit, down, wait, and drop it before using this toy so it's more enjoyable. Otherwise it's great for exercising your dog without tiring yourself out too much. And since you have a beagle, it would be a good outlet for his hunting instincts
 

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Work on building focus, eye contact and attention:

Try running, tracking games, tug and chase, ect. You might want to work on some training before letting him out in the yard so he's not so frantic. Also try some Premack and use the environment as his reward; for example, as for a sit/stay and then release him to chase squirrels.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
blottie: I already tried using a flirt pole. He'd much rather chase a real live squirrel than a stuffed one. But maybe I'll have to give it another shot, maybe with a more exciting toy and yes, I'll definitely make him sit and wait for a second before he chases it. Hopefully that'll make him more interested in it. Thanks. :)

AmandaNola: Yes, he's learned the eye contact thing, but I don't know why I've never thought of using it outside :rolleyes: (Silly me.) And also, that's a great idea using the environment as an award. I never thought of actually making a game of chasing the squirrels. Though, I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks so much guys. :)
 

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Do you let him win every once in awhile with the flirt pole? That was the deciding factor for my dog, who was not very interested until I rigged it so she could snatch the toy right off the end of the rope if she caught it. ;) Maybe if you tried a toy that smelled attractive it might also help?

I have a crazy squirrel-chaser too, and would also recommend using the chase as a reward for behavior. It makes our walks much more fun for her, I think, and hilarious for the people who see us.

P.S. Your dog is sooo adorable!
 
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