A lot of people play with their dogs by flashing a laser pointer around. It may seem like a harmless way to have fun and get your dog active. But animal behavior expert, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, says you could be driving your dog crazy!
Here’s why: Dogs chase lasers because it’s part of their natural predator response, to go after anything that moves. It’s also why your dog will play fetch for hours. But chasing something they can never catch does a real number on a dog’s mental health.
In fact, trained search animals – like drug-sniffing dogs – become psychologically disturbed unless they’re occasionally allowed to find and capture a target… like a plainclothes police officer hiding in a closet.
And the frustration of an endless chase can show up in different ways. Some dogs become pathologically obsessed and constantly search for that dot… while other dogs become aggressive. And some even develop chronic anxiety waiting for the light to reappear.
So, are laser pointers a problem with cats? No. Because cats have a shorter attention span. So, they’re much less likely than dogs to become obsessed with that crazy dot.
If you’ve already used a laser with your dog, they might have a problem going cold-turkey. That’s why veterinarians suggest hiding a few treats and then pointing them out with the laser dot. That way, your dog gets the closure they need to be mentally stable.
And remember, the best exercises for your dog involve your active participation. That’s why Frisbees and tennis balls are the best toys and form of interaction with your pup.