I screwed up bad. A cautionary tale about dangers of laser pointers..
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.