Questions about my aussie

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Member Since
Barked: Mon Apr 30, '12 12:41pm PST 
Hi everyone smile I adopted a two-year-old Australian shepherd, and overall he's a sweetheart. Before adopting him, I did some research and had concerns about whether my house would be the right place for him. I have a smallish backyard and am not an athletic person, so I wasn't sure if I could give him the amount of exercise he needed. His foster "parents" told me he wasn't a very high-energy dog, so they didn't foresee a problem. They also said he ignored their cats, which was another potential issue, as I have three cats I didn't want him to chase.

Fast forward six months, and he chases my cats quite a bit. I've taken him to obedience classes, so I know techniques for distracting him, but they don't always work (and I know he's simply acting on his instincts). He hasn't hurt the cats, but he does scare the heck out of them (and irritates me to no end).

I feel as though a big part of the problem is that he's bored and needs more exercise. I take him for daily walks, and play with him in the backyard, but I don't think this is enough activity to satisfy him physically or mentally. (I wish I could exercise him more, but health issues and my work schedule prevent me from doing that.) I don't think his foster parents intentionally misled me, as I'm sure he was low-energy and ignored cats in their home, but my experience has been the opposite. I love him to pieces, but had I known then what I know now, I wouldn't have adopted him, more for his sake than for my own, as I hate the feeling that I'm not able to meet his needs.

Do any other aussie owners have advice? Is this a situation I can resolve, or would another home be a better option for him? The foster organization is willing to take him back, but I'd miss him to pieces, so I thought I'd get some feedback before I take such a drastic route.

Thanks in advance!

The Monster
Barked: Wed May 2, '12 9:40am PST 
"Low energy Aussie" oftentimes translates into "still pretty high energy for your average dog owner".

I would look into hiring someone to exercise him, daily if you can. Dog walkers will take him out on leash, or out to parks, or even off leash hikes, if you want. They're not cheap, but if you cannot give your dog adequate exercise and you don't want to give him up, they're a great option.