Why Does My Dog Chase Reflections?

Does your dog chase reflections and fixate on lights and shadows?

My dog does this, if he spots the reflection of my phone or glasses he will go into a hyper state and it is difficult to get his attention away from whatever he is fixated on. The sun bounces off a shiny lamp and glittery candle holder and I literally have to close the curtains to settle him down. My daughter’s dog does it too but in a different way. She will stare at a spot on the wall where she has seen a reflection or shadow. In this article we take a look at what makes a dog chase reflections and how we can correct this behavior.Darcy - dog chase reflections

The answer to the problem is Redirection. Use a squeaky toy or a stuffed Kong to get the dogs focus back. Sometimes I have to remove Darcy from the situation entirely and take him for a walk. I give him time to have a good sniff around and use his other senses.

Increased physical and mental exercise. The fixation usually affects dogs with a high prey drive, herding instinct or high levels of energy. Increasing physical exercise will help to calm the brain and mental exercise gives the dogs brain something different to think about.

A highly driven dog is bred to kill and it is instinct to react quickly to signs of movement from prey. The absence of prey means that the dog’s brain becomes fixated on something different ie shadows, reflections or other visual stimulation.

To give the dog the satisfaction of actually catching something, throw a ball or play fetch, it will help relieve frustration.

The problem is quite common but can become a serious obsessive-compulsive disorder so a visit to the vet may be advised.

Also, take a look at the dog’s diet, check for additives and preservatives which will make the dog hyper.

Don’t ever be tempted by the laser pointers which are supposed to help burn off energy. This will just manifest the problem or escalate it.

Other obsessive-compulsive behaviours include paw licking, tail chasing, and imaginary fly snapping.


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