Cats love playing with laser pointers, so why not try it with your dog? While that activity can be a fun source of exercise and entertainment for certain dogs, for others, it can be dangerous and can potentially lead to behavioral problems.
Dogs with hunting, tracking, or herding tendencies are especially susceptible to light obsession. Playing with the laser pointer stimulates those natural traits that come from years of breeding. Lasers stimulate your dog’s innate prey drive, just like playing with a ball or a squeaky toy does. However, unlike a ball, your dog can never catch the beam of light, so they never receive a reward. This can lead to unhealthy behaviors. Dogs that exhibit behavioral issues are frustrated, confused, and anxious. Some dogs will begin to obsess over any light source- like the reflection of your phone screen on the wall, or even shadows. They will stand still for hours waiting to see a reflection or shadow to chase. A great alternative is a flirt pole. Its essentially a fishing pole with a string attached to a toy. Dogs love chasing it and you can drag the toy around and let your dog stalk, chase and catch it.
Another reason to not use a laser as a toy is the light can actually damage your dogs vision. Flashing the light back and forth quickly makes it really easy to accidentally point in into your dogs eyes.
There are several toys you can get your dog to play with that will satisfy its hunting and herding instincts. The Orbee Raspberry dispenses treat and bounces in all different directions, the Wobble Wag Giggle Ball- which Poppet LOVES -makes wacky noises as it rolls around on the ground, and the Chuck it Flying Squirrel actually "floats" a bit when you throw it so its a bit more unpredictable than a normal fetch toy.
No matter what toy you are using when you play with your dog always let your dog attack and catch its "prey". This is a very important part of your dogs mental well being!
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