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Old 11-24-2012, 11:50 PM
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ihartgonzo ihartgonzo is offline
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Default Are laser pointers unhealthy?

I've heard several people say that laser pointers make dogs go crazy, chase car lights, etc. What do you think?

Laser pointers are the only "chase" toy that Fozzie gets into. He will complete a formal retrieve, but he doesn't enjoy it... he gets super excited and zooms around after his laser though! The only other "toy" he will chase is sprinklers/hoses. I think he must have really high prey drive. Gonzo totally ignores the lasers but is a fetching nut like all BCs.

I always break up laser chasing with sending him out to sniff around, obedience breaks, or playing tug. He only does one lap chasing it at a time, then breaks off by himself.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:56 PM
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IMO, yes. I do not encourage any obsessive behavior in my BCs. They're already SO predisposed to mental problems. Sometimes those behaviors are funny at first, but when you see *how* obsessive they get it starts to be scary.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:00 AM
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Agreed. They can develop some serious mental conditions from those things
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:35 AM
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Depends on the dog!

I'll occasionally play with Juno with a laser pointer. She runs around and around chasing it, the light goes off, she might look around a little bit like "where'd it go...?" But I tell her "all done" and put the light away and then she continues living her life.

Some dogs though you just can't do it. No, I don't really know how to determine if it's safe to do with a particular dog or not... I just had no reason to believe that Juno would become obsessive about it. My friend's completely neurotic dog chases lights and shadows, so no way should anyone play with him with a laser pointer. I have no idea how he got that way in the first place though - maybe his original owner used one with him and that's what started it?

It's one of those things that I never recommend to people, and if I were asked about it I would probably caution against it. But with my own dogs, I know them, so can judge if I think they'll be able to handle it or not.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:39 AM
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Gavroche loves to chase lasers and flashlights. He's done it ever since I got him. I don't let him do it often, and I don't let him do it for long periods, but he loves it so I do let him chase it sometimes. My dog is not a rabid light-chasing manic that will run into the street to chase a headlight or dive into a body of water because there is light reflecting off the top. He knows the light comes from the flashlight/pointer and will go get the flashlight and bring it to me if he's excessively bored. The other day I was going to play with the flashlight with him, and I clicked it on and pointed it at the ground, and he looked - and the battery was dead. He was soooooo disappointed lol.

I'm sure there are some dogs that cannot handle even small amount of light-chase. You know your dog - if he's been doing it, and it hasn't caused problems yet, and you don't go crazy with it, you're probably fine. You have to use it responsibly, just like you do anything else. There are people who have let their dogs chase tennis balls until they've died of exhaustion - some people are just stupid and don't know when to stop. If you DO notice something going awry, then STOP.

Logan absolutely doesn't care about the laser. I can squeeze a few laser-directed retrieves out of him when he's focused, but aside from that he just doesn't acknowledge it exists, and he's certainly not going to *chase* that thing. He probably thinks Gavroche is slightly nuts
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:05 AM
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Yes, I'd be too worried to use it. There are probably some dogs that can light chase safely, but finding out that yours isn't one of those can be a really bad thing.

I had a dog who was a light chaser. I never showed him a laser pointer, fortunately, but did use a flashlight. I didn't know any better. And it didn't turn out terrible He was a little crazed about it, and he'd also chase any other spot of light that showed up, which could be destructive, and hard on him physically. But I really think I got lucky. He had a lot of mild stereotypy behaviors; light chasing, tail chasing, obsessive tongue flicking. And just none of it ever got totally out of hand. But I also stopped encouraging the light chasing when I found out how bad it was. I think much more of it could have pushed him over the edge.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southpaw View Post
Depends on the dog!...
What she said. Caleb has chased a laser pointer since he was a puppy. I've also incorporated it into our training to proof his stays from the beginning (yes, even when he was a 12 week old puppy). He also knows "All done" means we're finished with whatever we're doing. Oh, he will stand under the key rack and stare at the pointer for a couple more minutes, but that's it. The only issue I ever had was when we had a fire drill one of the first times I had him at school when he was about 4 months old. Instead of walking nicely next to me like normal, Caleb was pouncing at the floor and trying to play. Once I realized he thought the flashing strobe lights reflecting on the floor was the laser, I just told him "Leave it", and off we went with no problems. We've had firetrucks go past at night and all he does is go to the front door to see what's going on. But, I will repeat, it totaly depends on the dog. I'd never use a laser with a breed or individual dog that tends to be obsessive.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:02 AM
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I've tried the laser with Riley a couple of times and while he will chase it, he doesn't obsess about it, it's just another toy. Mick and Murph have zero interest in little dots of light. Of our cats, two are obsessed with it (they know what drawer the light is kept in and start milling around/talking if it's opened). The rest of the cats think those two are crazy. To end a session, we'll run the light up to the ceiling and let it wink out - the cats accept that as game over and leave.

There is a gal at agility class who uses a laser light as a reward for her Aussie - after a successful sequence, she'll flash it around her feet for a few seconds.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:38 AM
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My Boxer girl is obsessed with the drawer that the laser pointer is kept in. I have to be careful because my dogs get so overstimulated it will start a fight. I use it just mostly for the cats.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:13 PM
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I've never played with one with Elsie, because she's obsessive anyway.

My sister's cat started to go crazy, and can't be around them anymore. He'd sit in the middle of the living room waiting for the dot for hours.
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