BLESS HIS HEART
A few months ago, I found a laser pointer in one of my junk drawers and decided to see if the dogs would be freaked out by the dot. I knew that cats go crazy over them, but I wasn't so sure dogs would even care. Butler wasn't the least bit interested, but Bear went nuts. We quickly ran the batteries out playing with Bear, and the laser was put away and forgotten about.
We'd been told by our vet that we needed to make sure our dogs got some exercise, because with large breed dogs, they can get some kind of hip problems if they don't move around enough. She said that taking them for walks, or even just playing fetch with them would help. Butler can be walked with no problem, but Bear tends to decide he's done walking before the walk is done, and he lies down in the street and rolls over on his back. So last week, while I was in Petsmart, I saw a cheap laser pointer and figured I'd grab it on my way to the check-out counter. I figured that we could at least get Bear to run around a bit if he had the red dot to chase. I don't think I thought the idea through well enough.
Bear is part Border Collie and part Catahoula Leopard Dog, which are both dogs that have strong working instincts. I've actually read that some Border Collies NEED to have some kind of job to do, or they will get aggressive because the instinct to work worries them into distraction. Up until now, Bear's job was to make sure Butler did what Bear thought he should do. Butler hates this, but he complies, albeit with bad grace. Now, in addition to herding Butler, Bear has decided that his new job is to catch, and eat, the red dot.
First off, ignore my stupid voice.
I have never seen a dog go crazy over a laser dot before, but Bear really, really, really wants to catch it. He will chase it for as long as we will shine it around for him. I suppose the exercise is good, but I'm starting to worry about his mental health. I've always thought he might be a bit OCD, but I think we've made it worse by playing a game he can't win. If we turn the dot off, he still looks for it. Steve worried we were going to do some kind of damage to his psyche, so we started putting a treat on the floor and shining the dot on it so that when he ate the treat, he'd think he'd eaten the dot. It worked the first couple of times, but not anymore.
Last night, I sat down in the floor and Steve shined the laser dot on the ground near my leg. Bear was convinced that it was under me, so he tried to tunnel under my legs to get to it. He dug at the rug trying to get to it, and he finally ended up accidentally biting me on the hip because the dot moved up to my leg. It was funny, but kind of sad, too. I put him in his kennel, but he kept scanning the floor for the dot. He started whining and batting at the door of his bed until I let him out. He wouldn't go to sleep until I let him search the house and even go outside to check the backyard for the accursed dot. Once he was satisfied it was gone, he went to sleep.
It's fun to play Red Dot with the dog, but I'm afraid it's going to drive him insane.