Laser Pointer Syndrome
By: Shannon Wright, BHS Dog Behaviorist
Greetings Dog Owners!
Most dog owners are on the lookout for ways to increase health, decrease boredom and keep their furry friends happy and active. One trend is using laser pointers or flashlights to engage in play with our dogs.
Though generally accepted as safe for cats, laser pointers should not be used for dogs. While laser pointers seem to provide entertainment and exercise for your dog, they are more likely to be a source of anxiety that can lead to even more serious health and behavior concerns.
Laser Pointer Syndrome is a condition that results in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behavior. Laser Pointer Syndrome causes a dog to quickly become frustrated because they’re unable to achieve the target. A dog will become SO fixated on ‘the catch’ that nothing else matters. In extreme cases, this fixation & drive can escalate, and your dog may start to lunge and leap at other lights, shadows, and reflections that attract their attention.
Looking for an easy-to-use, safe toy to help exercise your dog?
Flirt poles can be used in large or small areas and will still help exert energy from your dog. Before introducing a flirt pole be sure to teach a successful ‘drop’, meaning that your dog will drop on cue 90% of the time. It’s important to note that Flirt Poles trigger the prey drive in your dog and should not be used with multiple dog households or recently adopted dogs.
These items can be found on chewy.com, amazon.com, and at most of your favorite pet supply stores.
*Flirt poles/teaser toys should not be used by dogs with toy possessive issues.