No laser tag!

by Sue on January 13, 2016

Many owners think it’s funny to watch their dog chase that little red dot of light, and they think it’s a bonus to burn off some of their dog’s energy. Unfortunately, a game of laser pointer chase can be very frustrating for a dog and can lead to behavioral issues.

The movement of the laser pointer triggers a dog’s prey drive, which means they want to chase it. It’s an unending game with no closure for the dog because they can never catch that beam of light, like they can when chasing a toy or food.

Many dogs continue looking for the light after the laser pointer has been put away; this is confusing for your dog because the prey has simply disappeared. This can create obsessive compulsive behaviors like frantically looking around for the light; staring at the last location they saw the light, and becoming reactive to flashes of light. Dogs that exhibit behavioral issues are frustrated, confused, and anxious.

If your dog loves to chase but you don’t always have the energy to run around with a toy, try a flirt pole. A flirt pole is like a fishing rod; it is a rigid stick section with a string or rope attached to the end. Commercially made flirt poles are sold by pet supply stores, but horse lunge whips also work well.

You tie a toy to the end of the rope and drag it around for your dog to chase and tug on once he/she’s caught it. The advantage of the rigid section is that you can fling the toy around without having to move much yourself. You can even sit in your recliner!

If your dog loves to chase a toy on a flirt pole, then give your dog the ultimate chance to exercise their prey drive at Lure Coursing.

This sport involves dogs chasing a “lure”, usually a white trash bag,attached to line set up around a field and controlled by a pulley system that moves the bag around the field. Dogs give chase and have a great time.

So please rethink the next time you pull out that laser pointer for your dog. The mind you save just might be his/her’s.

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