"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 1:  January 9, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  What Makes a Trainer?
=>  Today's Quote
=>  Aromatherapy 101
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Genius Dog

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Gang!

Well, here we are in the new year, and I have great expectations for the next twelve months. Last year was quite a year and one I am glad to see in the past.

As you know, we have readers all over the world who tune in each week to see what dribble I may have come up with next. One question I'm asked by many of them, as well as members in the States, is how to select a trainer or training system to best suit their needs and the needs of their dogs.

Believe it or not, finding a qualified trainer is more difficult than you might imagine. So this will be the focus of my article this week. Of course, I would almost always say, "Call me," but for some this may be impractical. I will try to touch on as many methods as possible, and if requested, I will go in-depth on some in future articles.

I'm also including another article from Kyla Sims about natural aromatherapy for dogs as I have been absolutely thrilled with her ideology and products. With the multitude of dog products on the market, I am pleasantly surprised to see someone out there moving away from chemical based products and producing something that actually works to boot. It deserves your full attention.

Well, I better quit the chatter here and get down to it. Have a great week, folks. And as always, keep the questions and comments coming. They are greatly appreciated.



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Dear Mr. Aust,

First I want to thank you for the great information you send each week. Your newsletters have given me so much insight into why our dog does the things he does. You make it easy to understand without all the rhetoric.

We have a two-year-old German Shepard that is a complete loon whenever we have people over at the house. We got him as a pup and have been consistent with him, but he still acts up whenever people come around.

We decided to hire a trainer to work this problem out but have found a multitude of different trainers with different ideas of why our dog does this, as well as just as many different ideas on how it should be fixed.

How do we know who to go with and which method is right for our dog? We have heard you say there are dangerous methods and don't want to risk hurting our dog physically or emotionally. HELP!

Mona B. Suffolk, UK

What Makes a Trainer?

If you open your local telephone directory, you'll find numerous entries and ads placed by “dog trainers.” You'll see claims like, “results guaranteed in two weeks” and “positive reinforcement only.” You will also find individuals who have impressive titles and certifications from training organizations that make the individuals sound competent and well versed.

The truth of the matter is that, in my opinion, nine out of ten people who call themselves trainers are far from just that. They are, at best, more like enthusiasts and/or misguided in their abilities and methods as a result of some sort of "certification." Very few municipalities in the world have any type of certification and licensing requirements for dog trainers. In fact, I think I could count them on one hand.

There are dozens of schools that will train you to be a "Master Dog Trainer" in anywhere from four to sixteen weeks. They will then give you a snazzy little certificate and send you out to save the dogs of the world.

I had been training dogs for over twenty years before I ever started calling myself a Master Trainer, and I had been certified as such five years before that. Certificates and certifications can be had as easily as taking a correspondence course, so don't put too much weight behind them.

Avoid trainers whose training methods are dependent upon mechanical or electrical devises. These training methods are profit based and in no way take into account the individual emotional needs of the dog. Many, particularly the shock collar folks, will tell you their equipment is a used because of safety. This is a load.

My question to those trainers is, if their methods are so effective, why are they worried about the dog running off into an unsafe condition? I thought they trained the dog.

Additionally, there is no proof e-collars are safe emotionally for a dog. I've asked nearly every manufacturer of these devises for some sort of study information regarding their safety and believe me their data is far from convincing. In fact, I feel their data proves my point.

The only equipment a reputable trainer should use is a leash, collar and check chain. In certain advanced training methods, a harness may be appropriate.

You want to look for someone with at least twenty years of full time experience and numerous credible and independent references. Many trainers will tell you how they have been training dogs for "X" number of years, but few have been doing it full time during that period. You would be surprised at the number of people who call themselves trainers whose annual time spent training is less than a hundred hours.

You also want someone who does behavioral analysis and independent training programs for each dog. The trainer should ask an extensive number of questions about the dog, their family environment, diet, medical history, current obedience level, the dog's daily schedule, abilities, and fears. You've all heard me say this before, all dogs are individuals and thus deserve, no, require individualized training.

Any credible trainer will have an extensive knowledge of pack protocol and dynamics and how they apply to a dog's behavior. If a trainer tells you they aren't a behavior expert or "dog psychologist," then avoid them like the plague. A trainer should be a behavioral expert. It is the very essence of what they do. How can you shape behavior properly if you don't understand why dogs respond the way they do to certain stimuli?

Ideally, you want your trainer to come to you. Classes work against the natural learning process of a dog, particularly in the beginning. They can be useful when dealing with advanced training, but the perfect environment is a one-on-one approach. If you aren't comfortable allowing a stranger into your home, find one that will meet you at a local park your dog is familiar with.

Ask for references and call them all. You want to the references to be fairly old as well. This way you can see how the dog is doing after an extended time since formal training. Ask a lot of questions about the trainer's approach, ideology and corrective methods. Check with your local Humane Society or county Animal Control office to see if there have been any complaints made against the trainer.

Finally, and most importantly, follow your gut instinct. If you find you are uncomfortable with a trainer, your dog be uncomfortable too. Your apprehension will be felt by the dog, and you will be wasting your time and money.

Selecting a trainer is a critical step in your dog's training and emotional well-being. Take your time and do your research. It is time well spent. After all, we don't want to spend money to train our dogs just to have it be an unsuccessful venture that will have to be repeated.

This article may be republished using the following attribution box:
Copyright ©2004 Christopher Aust, Master Dog Trainer & Creator:
The Natural Cooperative Training System (NCTS) for Dogs
The Instinctual Development System (IDS) for Puppies
Subscribe to the BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter: subscribe@Master-Dog-Training.com
VISIT NOW: http://www.Master-Dog-Training.com

Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.

~ Dave Barry ~

Aromatherapy 101
by Kyla Sims

Whether it be with luxury beds, gourmet treats, aromatherapy, holistic care, designer collars, or luxury grooming services, there's no denying it — people love to pamper their pets. Aromatherapy is a great way to pamper your dog's body, mind, and spirit. Essential oils can also help with all kinds of common canine ailments from bad breath to itchy skin.

Aromatherapy is not just about smelling good; essential oils have a wonderful ability to heal the body, mind, and spirit through their therapeutic use. The great smells are just a wonderful bonus. Essential oils can be found in many different parts of plants, fruits, roots, leaves, flowers, and bark.

Oils are extracted through a variety of processes. The most common method is distillation. It takes hundreds of plants just to produce one ounce of oil. In fact, it can take up to 2,000 rose petals just to produce one drop of pure essential rose oil! This is the reason essential oils are so valuable. They are said to be the heart, soul, and spirit of the aromatic plants from which they are derived.

Did you know that our sense of smell is the most powerful of the five senses? Essential oils can gain access to emotions through the limbic system and can actually help to bring our bodies into balance and enhance our immune system. When a scent is inhaled, the odor molecules are carried up through the olfactory nerves to the olfactory bulbs where the scent is then recognized by the brain. Nerve cells in the brain then relay this information to the limbic system.

The limbic system is located deep in the brain and controls moods, desires, motivation, and creativity. The limbic system is also directly connected to the pituitary gland and hypothalamus area that controls the release of hormones that can effect our appetite, nervous system, body temperature, stress levels, and concentration. Essential oils can also gain access through the skin, helping to ease arthritis and soothe sore muscles.

A dog's sense of smell is up to a thousand times more powerful than ours. When making aromatherapy blends for your canine you need to highly dilute the essential oils. Try to stick to oils that are recognized safe for use with children. Blends for dogs should be about a 1/3 of the dosage of an adult blend.

You should never use essential oils on or around your cat. A cat's system cannot effectively excrete essential oils, and they can build up to toxic levels creating major heath problems.

Aromatherapy (when used correctly) can be very safe, however, for our canine companions. Essential oils can help heal all kinds of canine ailments and help improve their moods as well. Here are a few common doggie ailments and the essential oils that can help.

Skin problems

Skin problems are the most common problem in dogs. With their hot spots, allergies, dermatitis, eczema, and many others, it's no wonder over 80% of canines have skin problems! The following essential oils will help to soothe and heal your canine's skin.

Chamomile is very gentle and helps reduce dryness itching, and sensitivity of inflamed irritated skin. Lavender is another very gentle oil that also calms and soothes the skin. It can balance oil production in the skin and help repair the condition of damaged hair. Cedarwood is famous for its scalp and hair care. It has the ability to normalize both oily and dry skin and hair.

Hyperactivity and Anxiety

Just like our children, our dogs can get overexcited. They can also experience feelings of fear, anger, nervousness, and stress. The following oils help to calm down and comfort the canine mind and body.

Clary Sage is wonderful for calming nerves and balancing extremes in emotion. It reduces anxiety, fear, and feelings of panic. Lavender strengthens the nervous system, relaxes the mind, and can reduce hyperactivity. Ylang Ylang relaxes exited emotional states and promotes feelings of security and love.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks can cause a lot of discomfort for our pets and can invade our homes as well. But they can be controlled through good nutrition and the use of essential oils. The following oils help keep these nasty little bugs off your pet and out of your house!

Lemongrass is an alternative to citronella and is extremely effective at repelling all kinds of insects. Grapefruit repels insects especially fleas. Lemon is a great flea repellant and it smells clean and refreshing. Peppermint is wonderful at repelling flies, fleas, mosquitos, and ants.

Arthritis and Sore Muscles

Thousands of canines suffer from arthritis and sore muscles. Whether your dog is old or young, a working dog or a lazy one, he/she can always benefit from a delightful massage. Massage is a great way to connect with your pooch and it helps build a lasting bond!

Here is a recipe for massage oil that can help soothe sore muscles and ease inflamed joints.

1 ounce of a light carrier oil (sweet almond or sunflower oil)
5 drops Chamomile
4 drops Lavender
3 drops Black Pepper

To use: massage directly into inflamed joints and stiff muscles. Store in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator. I haven't even begun to tell you all the wonderful benefits essential oils can provide our canine companions with, but hopefully this article has sparked some curiosity and you can begin your own journey into the wonderful "aromatic" world of aromatherapy.

Kyla Sims is the CEO and founder of SpotOrganics.com, which hand blends the finest organic aromatherapy sprays, grooming supplies and pet bedding materials anywhere.  Visit soon!

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Genius Dog

A butcher is busy at work when notices a dog in his shop. He shoos the dog away. Later, he notices the dog is back again. He walks over to the dog, and notices that the dog has a note in his mouth. The butcher takes the note, which reads, "Can I have 12 sausages and a leg of lamb, please?"

The butcher looks, and lo and behold, in the dog's mouth, there is a ten dollar bill. So the butcher takes the money, puts the sausages and lamb in a bag, and places it in the dog's mouth.

The butcher is very impressed, and since it's closing time, he decides to close up shop and follow the dog. So, off he goes. The dog is walking down the street and comes to a crossing. The dog puts down the bag, jumps up and presses the crossing button. Then he waits patiently, bag in mouth, for the lights to change. They do, and he walks across the road, with the butcher following.

The dog then comes to a bus stop, and starts looking at the timetable. The butcher is in awe at this stage. The dog checks out the times, and sits on one of the seats to wait for the bus.

Along comes a bus. The dog walks to the front of the bus, looks at the number, and goes back to his seat. Another bus comes. Again, the dog goes and looks at the number, notices it's the right bus, and climbs on. The butcher, by now open-mouthed, follows him onto the bus.

The bus travels thru town and out to the suburbs. Eventually the dog gets up, moves to the front of the bus, stands on his hind legs and pushes the button to stop the bus. The dog gets off, groceries still in his mouth, with the butcher still following. They walk down the road, and the dog approaches a house.

He walks up the path, and drops the groceries on the step. Then he walks back down the path, takes a big run, and throws himself -whap!- against the door. He goes back down the path, takes another run, and throws himself -whap!- against the door again! There's no answer at the door, so the dog goes back down the path, jumps up on a narrow wall, and walks along the perimeter of the garden.

He gets to a window, and bangs his head against it several times. He walks back, jumps off the wall, and waits at the door. The butcher watches as a big guy opens the door, and starts laying into the dog, really yelling at him.

The butcher runs up and stops the guy. "What the heck are you doing? This dog is a genius. He could be on TV, for goodness sake!"

"Clever, my butt," the guy responds, "This is the second time this week he's forgotten his key!"

* To submit your joke to us: Joke@Master-Dog-Training.com

Thank You For Reading!  Have a Terrific Week!

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The Legal Mumbo-Jumbo

The BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter is published by Christopher Aust Copyright © 2004 All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without the express written consent of the publisher or contributors.

We accept no responsibility for your use of any contributed information contained herein. All of the information presented in BARK 'n' SCRATCH is published in good faith. Any comments stated in this newsletter are strictly the opinion of the writer or publisher.

We reserve the right to edit and make suitable for publication, if necessary, any articles published in this newsletter. We reserve the right to publish all reader comments, including the name of the writer.

Christopher Aust, Master Dog Trainer & Creator:
The Natural Cooperative Training System (NCTS) for Dogs
The Instinctual Development System (IDS) for Puppies


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