"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 7:  February 20, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Canine Obesity
=>  HERO DOGS: Worf's Broken heart
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  And God Created Pets

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Folks!

I'll sure as heck be glad when spring arrives. It's been raining here again for nearly a week with no relief in site. You know what, though? In about three months I'll be complaining that it's too hot. Maybe I should just get over it.

The first three Chongqing Dogs will be arriving in the USA the second week of May 2004. There are two females and one male and they're absolutely adorable! Starting today, I am accepting applications from perspective buyers for these little guys. If you are interested send an email to:


This is an incredible project that will set the standard for all other breeds and dog clubs in the country.

I mentioned the foundation we're forming in last week's newsletter. We're looking to find some like-minded individuals who would like to be Founding or Charter members of the organization. You don't have to be in the dog biz, just have a love for the beast and the desire for them to have the best. If you're interested, shoot me an email and I'll send you the information and details.

Well, I guess that's it for now. Keep sending the questions and comments. They are greatly appreciated.

I'm outta here!



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Canine Obesity

Before I joined the service I was pretty physically active. Both my parents were professional dancers and, naturally, I took classes until just before I joined the service. Having spent six plus hours a week in class, I never worried about what I ate as I was active enough to stay slim. In fact, I was able to eat twice what everybody else did.

After Boot Camp, I went to the Police Academy and after that Army Ranger Training. During those days, I was able to be up at 5:00 AM, eat three biscuits with gravy, two eggs and mounds of sausage, only to go out and run three miles in military formation during PT. (That's physical training for all you civilian pukes.) ;-)

When I snapped my knee and was forced into early retirement, at the ripe old age of 27, I didn't see the old secretarial spread for a few years despite the fact I could no longer go jogging. I just sort of maintained my weight, although not as rock hard, and never gave it much thought.

About three years ago, I noticed I was feeling sluggish and unmotivated. I didn't have the strong drive to work or play. This was very unusual, as I have been a borderline candidate for Ritalin my entire life. Up at 5:00 AM and down to bed at 10:00 PM. That was me.

One morning as I was in the bathroom preparing for the day, I realized what was up. I was getting fat. I hadn't seriously exercised in a few years and had pulled the old "five to seven pounds a year" trick on myself. I had put on over 30 pounds in a few years. No wonder I had no energy and a piss-poor disposition!

As our dogs get older, they face many of the same issues we do with regard to aging. As a result their bodies, just like ours, have changing nutritional needs as they go through life. Since dogs instinctively know when their physical condition is not optimal, it's no wonder their behavior has been proven to be directly linked to their physical condition.

Canine obesity is one of the biggest health issues facing our dogs today. It can lead to canine diabetes, heart disease, stroke and gastrol torsion just to name a few. The thing about canine obesity - it is 100% avoidable. There's really no excuse for an overweight dog.


This is one of the biggest contributors to canine obesity. I'm always amazed at how much food some people feed their dogs. In a study conducted at Texas A&M University, it was found that 83% of dog owners are feeding their dogs over twice what they actually need to maintain proper health. Of that 83%, over half were feeding their dog three times the necessary food. Three times!

My male Basset Hound weighed eighty pounds. He was a very active dog with tons of energy. His food intake was determined between my veterinarian and I based on his daily activity and monitoring his behavior. I gave him a mixture of premium kibble and cooked human food. He was fed 1-1/2 cups of food a day. That's it. He was given fifteen minutes to eat each day and if he walked away without finishing his food, his pan was pulled, washed and put away.

My female Basset was fed 2-1/4 cups of food a day and given the same fifteen minutes to eat. She got more food because she required more food in order to maintain her weight and energy level. With the exception of the amount, she had the same diet as my male.

Listen. Dogs don't need their meal “super sized.” Gluttony is a human condition and not one that is natural to dogs. You will never see an overweight dog in the wild. They eat what they need and nothing more. Enough said.


When I restored my girlish figure a few years ago, I didn't do it by simply changing what I ate. I had to get off my butt and hit the gym. We all know that losing or maintaining weight takes a combination of diet and exercise. Whether we like it or not, that's just the way it is.

In the study I mentioned above, it was determined that 65% of dog owners gave their dogs no regular exercise. It was also found that the same 65% spent more time, and money, at their veterinarian as a result of injuries and illness. It just doesn't make any sense to not take your dog out for daily walks, a game of fetch or for a little swim.

I have also found that increasing a dog's daily exercise greatly reduces/eliminates aggression, chewing behaviors and it aids in housebreaking. It increases your dog's confidence, grows a stronger bond between you and the dog and will reduce nervous energy.


I'm not referring to the amount of food given to our dogs here, rather the quality. We have all been in the store and seen the multitude of dog foods, kibble and canned, that are out there. Some are quite good and others I wouldn't feed a rat.

When choosing commercial foods, you want to look for one that is made of human quality ingredients and is also low in fillers and preservatives. These tend to be a little more expensive but are well worth the cost. You also want to ensure the formula is appropriate for your dog. If your dog is a working dog or competes in agility competitions, you may want a food with higher protein content.

This link has an excellent comparison chart for commercially made foods and is a good aid for deciding on the food that will best suit you and your dog:


There is also the B.A.R.F. diet, which has been around a while, but has recently gained in popularity. B.A.R.F. stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.  The diet is designed to reduce the incidence of bone and joint disease, promote healthy growth and maintain the dog's health throughout its life.  Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a veterinarian from Australia, details the diet in two books, "Give Your Dog A Bone" and "Grow Your Pups With Bones."

The diet consists of 60-80% raw meaty bones.  This includes chicken, turkey, lamb, venison, beef and pork bones.  The remaining balance of the diet is made up of raw crushed vegetables, organ meats, dairy products (yogurt and cottage cheese), raw eggs, flax oil and/or seed and nutritional/vitamin supplements. Whole grains can also be used in the diet as long as they are sprouted or soaked and then crushed.

Whether you choose to buy your food at the store, cook it at home or use the B.A.R.F diet, it is important to make sure it meets the nutritional needs of your dog. Be sure it's fresh and made of the highest grade ingredients.

Over one million dogs in the US will die this year as a direct result of obesity and obesity related disease. It doesn't have to be yours. Establish a diet and exercise plan when you first get your dog and stay on top of it. Monitor their weight and consult your veterinarian if you notice any unexpected changes. You will not only make your dogs much happier, but extend their life as well.

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

I used to look at [my dog] Smokey and think, "If you were a little smarter you could tell me what you were thinking," and he'd look at me like he was saying, "If you were a little smarter, I wouldn't have to.

~ Fred Jungclaus ~


Worf's Broken Heart

Worf's decade long career ended September 13, 2002, when he lay down on a pile of twisted steel and concrete on the south side of Manhattan. Stressed and depressed from just three hours of work at the World Trade Center site, the 12-year-old German shepherd from Monroe had to be permanently retired from search-and-rescue duty, underlining that dogs, too, can be traumatized by such a terrible scene.

"He kind of withdrew from everything," said Mike Owens, Worf's owner and a member of the Southwestern Ohio K-9 Search and Rescue Team. "There was so much death there, it was emotional for the dogs."

Mr. Owens and the canine spent two days in New York with five handlers - Michelle Bubemyre, Steve Dunaway and Jamie Partee of Hamilton, and Doug Combs and Joe Gabbard of Middletown - trying to locate survivors of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center collapse.

The team's other two German shepherds, Frankie, a 6-year-old, and Fike, only 2, showed signs of stress, Mr. Owens said. They were agitated and confused. They lost some of their spunk.

But nothing like Worf, who shut down the first day after helping locate the body of a missing New York firefighter. Even though he is the search team's most experienced canine, he began shedding profusely, quit eating and refused to play with the other dogs.

Mr. Owens knew something was wrong when Worf signaled that he had found one more human scent in the rubble.

The canine gave his usual whine. He rooted around with his nose in the debris, trying to inch closer to his discovery. Then, he lay down and curled up on the spot. "It was a defense mechanism. They get real depressed. Search-and-rescue is a game to them, a game of hide-and-seek," Mr. Owens said.

But their work in New York was a far cry from the missions they were accustomed to. "Instead of finding live people, they were finding only the dead and body parts," Mr. Owens said.

One local veterinarian who offers pet behavioral counseling as part of his practice said Worf's reaction isn't surprising. "If the dog is working with his nose - and there are over 6,000 lost there - the dog is getting those smells all over the place," said Dr. Steven Stratemeyer, of Evendale-Blue Ash Pet Hospital.

"Can you imagine how stressful that is for the dog to pick one body out of all those smells? It's overwhelming."

For all, even the human team members, this was their first encounter with mass disaster. The closest Mr. Owens and Worf had ever come was trying to locate the bodies of a family of eight that drowned at Lake Cumberland in the early 1990s.

A week after their return, Mr. Owens and his human colleagues are headed to counseling, to help them deal emotionally with their New York experience. "Several team members cried after seeing the site the first day. There were a lot of tears on the way home," Mr. Owens said.

At the same time, the canine handlers are trying to figure out how to nurse the wounded psyches of their dogs. At the suggestion of American Red Cross workers, the team plans to stage live search exercises for Frankie and Fike, allowing them to make successful rescues to renew their enthusiasm for their work.

Worf is getting more than the usual attention at home. "We have a lot of people around petting and playing with him," Mr. Owens said. "For Worf, that's the best therapy we can give him."

Mail Bag


Thanks not only for featuring our dogs on breed of the week, but for your excellence in copy that is informative and a delight to read. You can bet I am forwarding your newsletter to all the dog lovers we ever knew in our life.

Wish we would have found ya sooner,

June Krahn


i simply loved this....will be sending it to all my mature and not so mature friends...thanks....and i enjoy your newsletter so much...always 'right on'....keep up the great work!

the proud member of a pack of two gsd's who love everybody! and one of them was a 9 yr old guard dog when i brought her home five years ago as a rescue case! rehab is always possible.


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Joke of the Week

And God Created Pets

A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to "Where do pets come from?"

Adam and Eve said, "Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day.  Now we do not see you anymore.  We are lonesome here and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us."

And God said, "No problem!  I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be,  this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves."

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.
And it was a good animal.
And God was pleased.
And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve,
And he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal."

And God said, "No problem.  Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."

And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them.
And they were comforted.
And God was pleased.
And dog was content
And wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration.  Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well."

And God said, "No problem!  I will create for them a companion who will be with them forever and who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration."

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.
And Cat would not obey them.
And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes, they were reminded
that they were not the supreme beings.

And Adam and Eve learned humility.
And they were greatly improved.
And God was pleased.
And Dog was happy.
And Cat didn't give a squat one way or the other.

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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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