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Remote interactive pet toy: not suitable for border collies


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I watched the video on petcube.com. It seems quite sophisticated. I agree that the laser pointer function may not be a good idea for dogs - as we know that it is a definite no-no for border collies. Obviously there are quite a few pet owners who want to try it out enough to shell out $180.

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I have never considered using a laser pointer with any of my pets but I am curious as to why Border Collies don't do well with them. Is it because some can become focused to the point of obsession? I'm not planning to try it anytime soon (why?) but now I'm just plain curious. :)

 

Bethany, Rose, and Loki

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I've heard awful accounts of dogs that spend their whole day pacing and stressing out, looking for that little dot of light. It seems like border collies are especially prone to weird obsessive behaviors (chasing shadows and lights) so it's a risky toy, IMO.

 

I play with a laser pointer with my cats, but from the day we brought Camden into our home we only play after he's gone to bed or if he is in another room. I'm sure if you introduced the "laser pointer game" with structure (a clear start and finish to the game) it could be managed, like all things. I just didn't want to risk it.

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I've known of way too many border collies who ended up in rescues with serious light/shadow chasing obsessions (that sometimes spill over into other obsessive/compulsive behaviors), plus my neighbor's light/shadow obsessed BT/JRT mix, so that I'd never. never. never even consider beginning to play with my dogs with lights.

 

It's an absolute nightmare of a life these dogs -- and often their owners as a result -- live. :(

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GentleLake, I'm just curious... in your rescue experience do you know if these dogs with light/shadow chasing obsession were exposed to a laser pointer by their previous owners? I guess it might be hard to know... I'm just curious how often you see this behavior as a direct result of people playing with their dogs with a laser pointer.

 

I agree with everything you said... I've never even let Camden see the laser pointer light, just not worth it.

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I have known a few dogs that obsessed over shadows and lights. The one would chase the shadow of a bee flying overhead. And then look for that shadow for a long long time. The other is my in-laws springer. They originally used a laser pointer as a joke and it almost immediately became an obsession. He will catch the reflection of light onto the ceiling from something in the house and will run around staring at the ceiling..for hours if no one makes him go outside so he can re group his brain. The look in his eyes isn't the look of a dog playing and being carefree but instead he looks frantic and confused.

 

I admit I don't even like it with cats. Some how it seems unfair to make them chase something they can never get. Why not use an actual toy to play with your cat and let them chase, grab, gnaw and swat something real.

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I have observed that inexperienced BC owners do not realize that their dogs will make a habit of something after just a few repetitions. Some find the habits funny or cute and actually encourage them. By the time the owners realize it's a problem, it's too late.

 

My answer is yes, most of the dogs who have problems were introduced to laser pointers, flashlights or praised for chasing shadows/objects by their owners. Not all though. Some are so bad that they end up being PTS because they will not stop to eat, drink, go to the bathroom or rest.

 

I had a Border Collie who was encouraged by a family member to run in circles when he was excited. I insisted the family member not do that, but every time he visited, he ignored my wishes and did it anyway. One week a year created a habit that I had to fight on a daily basis.

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My neighbor has the nicest little Cav Spaniel and one day laughingly told me how he had started chasing sun reflections and shadows. She just thought it was cute. I explained the risk of this turning into OCD behaviors and she stopped laughing. She immediately began discouraging the behavior and stopping him if necessary. It still pops up but is controllable. I think a lot of people just don't understand what looks funny or cute can become a serious affliction.

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I think a lot of people just don't understand what looks funny or cute can become a serious affliction.

 

I couldn't agree more and have to say this is true with SO many different behaviors...

 

I think little dogs get it the worst. My niece had a pomeranian who was completely out of control in *every* way and she encouraged it to be one of the most unstable animals I have ever met. She thought she had the cutest dog in the world. The dog was insane and beyond miserable... my heart broke for the poor thing.

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I have known a few dogs that obsessed over shadows and lights. The one would chase the shadow of a bee flying overhead. And then look for that shadow for a long long time. The other is my in-laws springer. They originally used a laser pointer as a joke and it almost immediately became an obsession. He will catch the reflection of light onto the ceiling from something in the house and will run around staring at the ceiling..for hours if no one makes him go outside so he can re group his brain. The look in his eyes isn't the look of a dog playing and being carefree but instead he looks frantic and confused.

 

I admit I don't even like it with cats. Some how it seems unfair to make them chase something they can never get. Why not use an actual toy to play with your cat and let them chase, grab, gnaw and swat something real.

 

 

 

Playing laser with a cat activates a reflexive "alert/stalk/catch/kill" behaviour pattern called a "fixed action pattern". That FAP has a specific ending, which is that the cat either catches its prey or loses its prey. But light laser play locks the cat into alert/stalk with lessening adrenalin available and no progress toward catch/kill. Cat feels like she's gotten her head stuck in a fan. I don't know what it does to dogs.

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Playing laser with a cat activates a reflexive "alert/stalk/catch/kill" behaviour pattern called a "fixed action pattern". That FAP has a specific ending, which is that the cat either catches its prey or loses its prey. But light laser play locks the cat into alert/stalk with lessening adrenalin available and no progress toward catch/kill. Cat feels like she's gotten her head stuck in a fan. I don't know what it does to dogs.

 

That's why you're supposed to end laser games with cats on a toy they can catch/kill.

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Thanks for the info Liz P. That's kind of what I was thinking. I do have a CCD dog named Rose (6 yrs old now) that came to me as a rescue. She'd spent 3 mo. in an animal shelter and at 9 months circled obsessively, humps objects, chased shadows, light, and flies. It took a while to redirect her behaviors. She still chases flies in the summer months but now it's simply a game that she will stop when something better arrives. As long as she can immediately stop when I call the dogs inside or ask for a different behavior I am fine with her odd habits. She's mostly blind now so the fly chasing behavior is probably not going to reoccur this summer.

Sadly I do know some border collies that obessively fetch and start at balls all day long. Luckily none of my current guys are so affected. I've owned one border collie that was CCD to the point that she couldn't function. Sadly it was one of many mental issues she had. :(

 

Bethany, Rose, and Loki

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I'm printing all of these out for my husband and the rest of the family. I feel like I'm talking to the floor when I tell everyone to put away flashlights.

Jack is already pretty bad with this. I can't open a blind or turn on the ceiling fan without this behavior starting up. Summer should be interesting. :(

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