[Health] Dogs And Laser Pointers, Not A Great Match

[Health] Dogs And Laser Pointers, Not A Great Match

Yesterday, we posted a video of two adorable Boston Terriers chasing a laser pointer and going wild. While cute, some readers had informed us of health concerns regarding their Boston Terriers and laser pointers. We did some research and would like to share some of it.

Last year, an article was posted on the topic and Nicholas Dodman, professor of animal behavior, spoke at length about why it’s best to keep your dogs away from laser pointers: “But should you really be stimulating your dog’s prey drive when it won’t ever lead to triumph — the catching of light? Probably not such a good idea. “They can get so wound up and driven with prey drive that once they start chasing the light they can’t stop. It becomes a behavior problem,” Dodman said. “I’ve seen light chasing as a pathology where they will just constantly chase around a light or shadow and pounce upon it. They just spend their whole lives wishing and waiting.” 

Dodman adds, “Never getting a reward for their vigilance “makes dogs loopy,” he explained. Along the same lines, trainers of bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs have found that their dogs become psychologically disturbed if they never find bombs or drugs, so they must occasionally be taken on dummy missions.”

Our friend Stuart, Rudy the Boston Terrier’s dad, shared an interesting article on OCD in dog’s that should really be taken seriously by all dog owners. Read the article here: http://doglinks.co.nz/problems/barry_place/obsessive_compulsive_behavior.htm

We’re not here to tell you how to play with your dogs, we’re just here to provide useful information. We know that dogs can be compulsive but did you know that Boston Terriers are known to be even more compulsive than other breeds? When we first moved Sophie from the only home she knew to our new home, she was clearly distraught for quite some time. We spoke with a specialist that informed us that female Boston Terriers are “neurotic” about some things and can get quite frazzled quite easily. This is a common trait of the bully breeds and we can only assume playing with these emotions with the use of a laser pointer is probably not a great idea.

Let us know what you think in the comments section.


  1. That is really interesting! We’ve seen some hints if this OCD type behavior in our 4 year old female, Barkley. However whenever we see her intensity take a step beyond the normal crazy BT level we try to break off the activity and redirect her to something she can succeed at followed by a treat. Fortunately this seems to work with her. With any dog it is important to remember when we play with them they are trying to please and it is easy to end up teasing when we mean to be playing. And of course each dog is unique. Ours completely ignores laser pointers!

  2. We play with ours occasionally but now when they see they light on the camera or video they think it is the laser. Daisy will actually smack the camera out of my hands thinking it is the laser. So yes, I have to put it away for awhile and get her mind off it. And please be sure they don’t look directly into the laser light, I have read that it can hurt their eyes

  3. Thanks for information, always good to be enlightened. I have never used laser lights with my Boston bad bums…..and I will ensure I don’t. I will also pay more attention and see if any of our other games or play are similar-never considered this before.

  4. We have a 4-year-old Boston who LOVES to run and play ball outside. Our Minnesota winter was so long and so harsh this year that she had very few opportunities to run and play as usual. We were desperate and discovered the laser pointer as a way for her to get her much-needed exercise indoors (ball chasing indoors didn’t cut it for her). She seemed to absolutely loved the laser. But however well intentioned, we came very close to losing our beloved pet as a result. About a month or two after the sporadic laser play began, she started to display some serious compulsive behaviors including fly-biting and spinning. So much so that we were unable to get her to engage in any of her usual favorite activities. She would have spun to the point of injury and exhaustion if we’d let her. Our very popular and reputable metro area vet was of little help. She insisted our pup was having focal epileptic seizures that could only be controlled via harsh anti-seizure meds – rendering our loveable and playful dog sluggish and lethargic. Intuition told me otherwise so I resisted, did my research and talked to a number of dog experts. Finally I found one who suggested that the laser was likely to blame. She suggested some serious behavior modification and training exercises as an alternative to doggie drugs. I run businesses and have a family, so this kind of 24/7 commitment is the last thing I had time for. However, the alternative was pretty bleak so I made it happen and there was significant improvement within the first 2 weeks. Now nearly 4 months later, our sweet little Boston is about 95% back to her old self. She still seems to have forgotten some of the things she used to know and every now and again will look up (for the light) and do a quick spin before we have a chance to redirect her attention. We must remain extremely diligent and watchful to make sure her old destructive behaviors don’t take hold again. Please don’t risk this with your precious pet. BURN THE LASER!!!

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