I screwed up bad. A cautionary tale about dangers of laser pointers.. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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I screwed up bad. A cautionary tale about dangers of laser pointers..

Hey group.

As it says in the description, I screwed up bad. I started playing with my puppy with a laser pointer because I was playing with a friend's cat with the stupid laser pointer. I didn't think it would cause lasting effects like it has but hopefully, I caught the problems in time to stop and I will figure out how to heal my dog.

It started off innocently enough, I guess. It was a cold day and I had the stupid laser pointer sitting on the shelf for when I babysit my friend's cat. The cat will chase it around then will stop and lay over to clean itself and/or walk away to the window... pretty lazy cat. I thought my dog would react the same way but she became obsessive. She would track the laser all over the downstairs even if it wasn't on. She would constantly be looking for it. After a couple of hours the first time, she stopped and proceeded to sleep because she had a long day. But then I played with it a few days later because it was freezing, blizzard, and the pup wanted to be in the snow but was cold within minutes so we had to come back in without a full walk. She would follow the laser around the rooms of the house and it would lead to a treat. I would turn the laser off when it hit a treat but that didn't stop her from looking for it. This time she kept looking for it up til the next day. I distracted her with all the fresh new snow on the ground so she was pretty tired to continue to care after a day. Well fast forward to about 2 weeks later when we played again. She went into every room over and over again. I thought it would be a great way to work on recalls and "leave it" under distraction in the house. She gets distracted by the laser, I say "Come" or "leave it", she comes, treat! Well, she never calmed down after that. Every night, she walks and walks through the kitchen, dining room, living room and a small hall looking for the laser. She won't relax with me at all. She feels the need to find this light. She also chases all light reflections that my watch, phone, tablet, and any other shiny object makes.


The only beacon of hope is that she only does this with me. With my husband, she calms down and will work on a chew or play with a toy on her bed. He can hang out with her anytime, day or night, and she will be completely relaxed with him. The second I walk into the area, she begins searching for the light.


I hope any person reading this will learn from my mistake. After doing lots of research around the internet about behavior in dogs, I came across several articles that told about the dangers of playing with laser pointers and dogs that have herding/hunting or high-drive instincts. They develop OCD problems that may end up with dogs being on medications or having problems in the future. Now I hope that I caught this in time. I really do. Like I said, my husband can have her completely relaxed and falling asleep whereas, she becomes obsessive with me to the point of being destructive with all the blankets in her crate when I put her in there to calm down(she doesn't have blankets in her crate anymore now and I feel awful). But unfortunately, with where I am, I don't have access to many resources like a trainer that I can just call up and ask to come over or a behaviorist that I can have come to see her. So everything that I am doing to try to correct this problem is coming from whatever information that I can collect from the internet. I am also coming to all of you folks on this forum in the hopes that someone, somewhere, has seen this before and can give me advice to how I can correct it or can point me in the direction of an online trainer/behavior expert who has seen the beginnings of OCD in dogs and maybe we can stop it before it gets too far.

She is almost 6months old. She gets about an 1 1/2 hours of walks a day (3 walks x 30 min) and about 1 1/2 hours of training split up through out the day with puzzle feeders for extra mental stimulation.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 10:46 AM
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Oh no! Hopefully you caught it in time. When we first got Arrow, I just happened to come across one of the "danger" articles you mentioned that had a video attached. That day, I collected all of our lasers that we have used for our cat and other dogs and tossed them in the trash. Didn't want to risk it.

Again, hopefully you caught it in time and she makes a full recovery.

2 GSD's - General and Arrow
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 10:47 AM
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I would consult a behaviorist. https://iaabc.org/consultants I would address this with professional guidance now, not wait and see if it gets better on its own because this can seriously affect quality of life for both your dog and you. These days phone and video consultations can be an option as well. Also talk to your Vet and see if they can recommend someone in your area.

Good luck and I hope you can work through this and find a lasting solution.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 11:16 AM
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I would also cover every red light on any device in the house from alarm clocks to tv, don't wear any glittery jewelry, put away anything that has a light reflecting prism effect i.e. Cut glass or crystal vase. Really shadow and light reflect proof all rooms.

I was lucky in that I found the cautionary articles just when my teens started playing with them with our boy. I put a very heavy foot down, got rid of all the pointers but it did take our pup several days to stop looking for the red dot at the last place that he hunted for it. I remember that spot well, on the deck next to the door.

This is just another thought that won't hurt to do and may help, don't use any treats that you used when you did use the laser, choose activities and areas that have no association with the light.

It is obvious that you never meant any harm so please don't beat yourself up and thank you for your concern for others and posting. These lasers need to have warnings attached to them.

I wish you and your pup the best outcome.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 11:52 AM
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Thanks for the heads-up!

This is a good warning and I'll heed it. Thanks for posting!!

My next quandary is "Do I tell my husband about it?" He's the guy that might go and tilt all the pictures in a room slightly if he hears that someone with OCD is coming over. He's not a jerk, truly; he just has a weird sense of humor. I think that if I told him that playing with a laser pointer could cause serious issues with the dog he'd heed that, but I'm a little wary.
post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
This is a good warning and I'll heed it. Thanks for posting!!

My next quandary is "Do I tell my husband about it?" He's the guy that might go and tilt all the pictures in a room slightly if he hears that someone with OCD is coming over. He's not a jerk, truly; he just has a weird sense of humor. I think that if I told him that playing with a laser pointer could cause serious issues with the dog he'd heed that, but I'm a little wary.
I would tell your husband especially since dogs are so funny when chasing it. Without the knowledge, your husband may come upon one, start using it and think he found a great and funny toy.

But it is heartbreaking the damage it does. OCD is no joke. My kids thought I was nuts and over the top when I slammed my foot down about the no laser rule. You (general you) don't realize the damage until too late or almost too late.

My sons friend also used one on his dog. My son told him how and why I don't allow them. The friend continued to use it. Our dog does not chase lights. His dog chases lights, any lights. Destroys window blinds etc.

Please give your husband information he needs in order to keep the pups brain healthy.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 12:28 PM
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I worked at a boarding facility and a few dogs that came in would stare at imaginary lights all day and do nothing but stare at the ground and walls looking for the laser.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 02:40 PM
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This is terrible! I hear so much about "don't feed your dog onions, don't let your dog get hold of xylitol, watch out for mercury in vaccines", etc. but this is really the 1st time I've heard about the damage that laser pointers can do to a dog's behavior. Thanks again for getting the word out!
post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 10:40 PM
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Lasers are actually used in police K9 training and operations...... obviously not in the same way overall.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBjunior View Post
Lasers are actually used in police K9 training and operations...... obviously not in the same way overall.
How are they used in K9 training?
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