questionswhen time is limited, what is the best way to…


This may just be a bizarre case but my sheltie freaks out when she sees moving light- flashlights, reflections off a glass of water or a phone screen, or anything else bright. I bought a high power laser pointer (one you can use outside during the day) to give her exercise. Now I can sit on a chair getting fat while my dog runs around getting exercise and providing entertainment. If this works with your dog then you're set.


So if I can get my Border Collie to chase the light then I can give the Australian Cattle Dog all the attention he wants. Sounds like it could work.



Or tie a laser to your BC and set them both loose.


I don't really have experience in these things but if you can afford the extra expense, you can always hire a dog sitter to play with them while you are at work for a few hours.


Try this laser toy: You won't even have to hold the laser!

You can also play the "look close" game my family has always played with the dogs. Without the dogs watching, we hide chunks of dog biscuits around the house, tucked under pillows, behind chair legs, sitting under a dog toy on the floor, etc. Then we bring the dogs back into the room and tell them to "look close!" This keeps them busy for at least 15 minutes.


Walking 4-6 blocks is not exercise to a dog like this. We walk our Australian Shepherd 3+ miles in the morning and by 5 PM she needs another activity (like fetch or the tug rope) or she gets nutty.

Interactive toys like a Kong or a Busy Ball give the dogs a "job". My husband drilled holes in a tennis ball and I stuff kibble in it. The dog pushes this ball around the house to work for her food. She loves it and will walk past a bowl of easy to eat food to bring me her ball to fill with food.


I bought my Border Collie soccer balls to play with. She would chase those balls non-stop all over the back yard. But she would quickly puncture them with her teeth. Got to be a little expensive replacing them, so I bought her a basketball with a harder (leather?) cover. Works like a charm! In fact, she's outside, right now, playing "basketball".


I was looking into getting a husky a while back and was told that this is a good activity to work off boredom and it gives them a "job". I've seen pictures of people training all breeds of dogs to pull carts, so I'm sure a herding dog would be able to adapt.

If you have a large yard, your doggies can help out by moving heavy bags or tools. Or they can pull the kids around. You said that you're busy. Do you have kids? Training the dogs might be a good summer project for an older child. win/win.


Get a herd of something for them to herd.


We just lost one of our border collies a couple of weeks ago and are still grieving. Her sister has become very attention-demanding since then, so I sympathize with both the high activity need AND the attention need.

As @barnabee suggested, our BCs loved to chase large balls (never had an interest in tennis balls). We finally bought them a ball with knobs they learned to toss in the air and chase by themselves. We were careful to keep it put away most of the time so it was "special" when we tossed it out for them to entertain themselves.

We also discovered that, although we couldn't keep sheep for them to herd, our pups LOVED kittens. We started fostering cats and kittens for a local shelter and the dogs were thrilled to have cats to "herd." They cheerfully shared their food bowls with the cats (but not with each other), cuddled with them to nap, and had a blast. The cats enjoyed the attention up to a point, then climbed out of the way. Win-Win!


@belyndag: So sorry to hear about your loss. I'm still grieving for my Australian Shepherd that I lost a few months ago. They truly become one of the family, don't they?


A friend who is a retired professional dog trainer routinely throws kibble into the yard, thus making her dogs hunt for their meals. She's also an advocate of frozen carrots as snacks, especially in summer.

I really liked the suggestion above about hiding treats around the house for the dogs to hunt out, and the suggestion of a part-time dog-walker is one that may work best for your "look at meeee!" guy.


@barnabee: Absolutely! And thanks to @thetexastwister for posting this. It inspired me to post a question about our recent loss. For some reason it was easier to post than it has been to talk about.


@ohcheri: I looked up the Kong and Busy Ball on Amazon and they both look to be good items for my Border Collie. Especially since he as already destroyed just about every other toy I have given him. He will chew them down to their atomic structure by the time he is done.

The Kong and Busy Ball should hold up well and give him plenty to do for long stretches.

I actually have tennis balls and tug of war toys to play with the Border Collie, but the Australian Cattle Dog keeps getting in the way because he wants all the attention.

So letting my BC play with these toys will allow me to brush and pet the Aussie so he won't feel left out. Thanks.


@barnabee: My Border Collie has punctured his share of Soccer Balls. I'll have to give the basketball a try. Thank you.


@purplefeather: That might work for the Border Collie. He is always willing to try something. The Australian Cattle Dog, on the other hand, won't stand for it. He was adopted after another family gave him up and he is really spoiled. The Aussie just wants to be scratched and brushed all day, every day.

I don't have any kids. I take care of a disabled parent so I do all the work around the house, drive all the errands, doctors' appointments, shopping and just so she can get out of the house. On top of that I'm back in college changing careers.

I adopted the dogs before all of this and I had plenty of time then. But things have changed and now time is pretty limited.


@zuiquan: I live in a large city, sheep are hard to come by here.

But I would lo-o-o-ove to rent some sheep.


@belyndag: My sincerest condolences. I've lost several pets as a result of age and illness. A little time and another pet to love has always been the best route to dealing with the sorrow.

I'm going to look for one of those balls that the dog can throw in the air. If I pair that with a basketball that another poster suggested it should keep the Border Collie well occupied.

I'm not sure the kittens would work. My BC loves to chase the birds that fly into the yard and has occasionally killed them. So I would fear for the kittens.

Strangely, the Australian Cattle Dog has no desire to herd anything. He just wants to be around someone at all times.


@magic cave: Since I have the dogs the trees are filled with birds who drink the water and eat the dry food. If I through the kibble out for the dogs to find the birds will gobble it up first.

I do like your suggestion of hiring a dog walker. He or she could give my two canines the exercise they need to expend their excess energy.

Thank you.


@sskarstad: Are those goats shipped SmartPost or with expedited shipping?