Quite some time ago I purchased one of those toy laser lights to use for playing with the dogs … and am I ever sorry I did. At first it was great fun, Nissa jumped right in and had a blast! Because we know Riley’s so darn dominant with her, we made him wait and when it was his turn he also had a great time with it. This activity was not only fun for them but fun for us to watch them play with it.
Then we cut them both loose and I’m sorry to say that was the very last time Nissa would have anything to do with it. Riley took over and in dog-speak basically told her “MINE!” and so now she won’t play with it even if Riley is crated or otherwise kept away. This was a very sad situation for me and one that is all to familiar. Riley all to often puts her in her place and anything she’s currently having fun with she stops participating in. I’ve tried very hard to get her to join the fun but no luck. She watches but won’t join in. I feel so bad for her that I sometimes cry. So, because of this alone, we’ve used the laser light very sparingly – perhaps only once a month or so and we continued to try to get Nissa involved but it’s so heartbreaking to watch her watch us having fun and not having any herself. I myself quit using it some time ago, but over my protests the Furkid’s Dad didn’t. Well, I fixed that tonight and tossed the darn thing in the trash.
The worst of these scenarios when Riley claims ownership rights of something has been the laser light toy. Not only did Riley spoil this game for Nissa (and me because of this) but he now seems to be obsessed not only with the laser light but with any light that throws a reflection on the walls, the ceiling, or anywhere else for that matter. He barks and gets anxious when I pull out a flashlight! The other night I found out that my cell phone light reflecting off the ceiling will set him off. This can quickly turn into a serious obsessive-compulsive behavior that believe me, you don’t want to have to deal with and it can start before you know it with one little fast moving light.
I saw an episode of The Dog Whisperer long ago where a dog had become obsessed with a laser light after one round of play with it. After seeing that show, I swore “No laser lights for our dogs!” Then one day someone must have painted the word STUPID on my forehead or something and I bought one thinking “Ach, it won’t happen to us and think of how much fun they’ll have!” WRONG! You probably can’t even imagine just how what a sorry day it was the day I brought home the laser light. Even though it took a few months for him to become possessed by it, sadly I have to admit that Day 1 with it had to be the beginning of this madness. Don’t ever think for one minute this couldn’t happen to you. I made that mistake and now we have to live with it. I’m going to have to dig up my Cesar cd’s and find that episode and watch it again and see what Cesar did to cure the dog in the show of this because this is crazy! Do I believe everything Cesar says? No, but he does have some good ideas sometimes. If I can’t find my answer there, I’ll do some more digging because this craziness has to stop!
Remember, if you do play with laser lights with your dog, be VERY CAREFUL and do NOT point the light in their eyes or anywhere near their face. You may find these toys in the pet department any many other places and if I recall correctly there is a mandatory warning printed on the package. You can seriously damage and even blind both human and animal eyes by pointing one of these toys in their faces.
Because most people play with the laser light quickly, meaning they move it around fast … the faster you move the light the more your dog may love this game … the hazard is that your dog will make sharp turns to follow the light beam which means you risk some serious damage to their hips, joints and other parts of their legs. For example, they could very easily tear or rupture their Anterior Cruciate Ligament (also known as a torn ACL). This is very painful for the dog and your wallet because it most often requires surgery to repair it. The recovery period is not short and requires your dog to be kept very calm and inactive while it heals. Not an easy task especially if you have a very active dog. Crating them is an easy way to keep them calm but then you risk things like behavior problems from to much crating. Because of the expense you’re going to find a lot of people that will either surrender their dog to a shelter or rescue or have them put down. Do you really want to have to face this decision? I know I don’t! You may want to read How to Care for a Dog with a Torn ACL Injury.
I have no doubt there are people who participate in laser light fun with no serious negative results but because of the dangers laser lights pose and the fact that we’re suffering some serious negative consequences for this kind of fun, Riley’s Place strongly urges you to not play laser light with your dog, your cat or any other pet for that matter. The end results can be so very unpredictable, annoying, painful and expensive that we feel it’s simply not worth the few minutes of joy you and your dogs may have when playing with it.