Yaris is a big fan of the laser pointer. Yaris has a pretty high prey drive. As a puppy, only a few months old, she somehow caught a small lizard and ate the head off before I realized what she was doing in the yard. She had her shots and all by that time, but still…I didn’t want her eating foreign creatures in the yard.
At least two times, she’s caught birds in the yard. Don’t ask me how. Yaris isn’t the sneakiest of dogs. Yet, she was somehow able to catch birds. I know because she left me the gift of a half-eaten carcass and feathers all over the house.
She also caught that chicken one time. That one rooster that dreamt of being a scuba diver. That incident wasn’t so much stalking prey as it was…just grabbing a chicken out of the pen. It’s ok now. Yaris is friends with chickens. She also makes a pretty good chickenherd.
But anyway, I point this all out to illustrate Yaris’ high prey drive. And because she has such a high prey drive, she is very fond of chasing light spots from flashlights or the beam spot from a laser pointer. It really is her favorite thing.
You might think it’s an obsession, but Yaris has demonstrated that she knows where these spots of light are coming from. She understands that flashlights produce light spots. If she wants to chase a light spot, she’ll try and nudge you toward a flashlight or she’ll look at a flashlight and then look at you.
If she sees someone holding the mouse that has the laser pointer built in, she gets really excited and looks around for the beam spot. If she doesn’t see one, she’ll look at the person holding the mouse and then at the mouse and then at the floor. She knows how it works. And she’s not interested in any random spot of light or shadow.
So knowing Yaris’ fondness for chasing light/beam spots, I can do things like…make Yaris chase the beam spot all over the house when I’m too lazy/busy to take her for a walk. This is probably how most people use the laser pointer with their pets.
But did you know that you can also take the laser pointer with you on walks? I typically walk Yaris off-leash at night, when it’s cooler and quieter. Yaris is very good off-leash. She will run off and investigate but remain within sight of me. She also won’t automatically take off running after other dogs. If she feels like she needs to chase another animal, she’ll generally look at me for permission first. Yaris is a fairly polite dog.
But sometimes, I’ll want to direct her somewhere right away or I need to distract her from peeing on something she shouldn’t be peeing on. That’s where the laser pointer comes in. I can direct her across the street without any of the lollygagging she might want to do. And if it looks like she wants to pee in a neighbor’s yard, I can distract her from doing so and direct her to a more suitable place for emptying her bladder.
Aside from this, I have found that the laser pointer is a very good motivator for Yaris to stay on the treadmill. Yes, Yaris can run on a treadmill. I trained her awhile ago. This also helps for when I’m too busy to take her out for a walk. But…running on a treadmill is boring. Don’t you get bored when you’re running on a treadmill? Don’t you have to distract yourself with music, a book, or the TV? Well, those distractions don’t really work for Yaris as she hasn’t really expressed any interest in music, books, or TV. I used to reward her with a treat now and then to try and keep her motivated to run on the treadmill…Yaris has never been terribly motivated by food. I mean, she likes eating treats but it doesn’t have the same draw on her has it did with Choco. But a brief showing of the laser pointer? That’s enough motivation for another 10 min.
I’ve also used the laser pointer to guide Yaris up the steps to her tub for a bath. It’s not so much an issue now, but there was a time when Yaris did not like baths. It was weird because as a puppy, she thought bath time was lots of fun. I guess it was her adolescent years that she felt baths were a waste of time? It was a huge trial to get her into the tub. I mean, I could have just picked her up and plopped her into the tub, but that would have defeated the purpose of me buying a tub with steps so that she could climb up herself. Also, she was really heavy before.
Yup. Laser pointers.