"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 10:  March 19, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Competing ... is it Really a Good Idea?
=>  Hero Dogs: TWO of Them!
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Big Help!

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Folks!

We've had some beautiful weather here in the Sierras for the last week and a half. Spring is here, that's for sure. The wild turkeys are back in my yard again and soon the chicks will be too. Gotta love it.

With the warm weather, we'll all be going out to the lakes, rivers and beaches with our dogs to enjoy the warmth and shake off the winter. With this in mind, remember that the water temperatures are still very cold. Already, we've had two drownings within a few miles of here as a result of people swimming in the cold waters and succumbing to the cold.

Our dogs face the same dangers. Many of our dogs only spend part of the year in the water and as a result, lose a little strength during those sedentary months. Ease your dog back into the water, and preferably, only allow them to swim in waters with little or no current. If you go boating and your dog is not a swimmer, get him a life jacket. They make them for dogs but it's easy enough to convert a human one for your pooch.

I want to thank everyone for your comments, both good and bad, regarding last week's article. When I was first brought the idea of the newsletter, I decided to do it providing I didn't have to try to please everyone who reads my articles. While I hope everyone enjoys them, the most important thing for me is to say it straight, even if my opinion doesn't jive with popular opinion.

Next week, I'll be bringing back the breed of the week article at the request of many readers. Please send your breed submissions in if you would like to see a particular breed featured.

One last thing ... Do you know someone who bears a striking resemblance to their dog? Maybe it's you or another family member or friend. Send in your picture for the Bark n Scratch Look Alike contest. We'll be accepting pictures through April 23, 2004 and announcing the winner on April 30th. I'll announce the prizes next week.

Well, I guess that's it for now. Please keep sending your questions and comments. They are always appreciated.

I'm outta here!



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Hi Chris,

A few weeks back I read your article about how much fun it is to train your dog to compete in dog competitions. It sounded like something we would enjoy, and my husband and I decided to see a trainer to determine if our dog was competition quality.

A couple of days later I read an article about the controversy at the Crufts dog show this year, where a competitor thinks someone drugged their dog before the show in order to throw them out of the running. I must say, this made us seriously reconsider whether competing was a good idea.

Is this a common thing that happens in competitions, or is it rare? In light of this, do you still feel competing is a good idea?

Thanks for the input. We love the newsletter!

Sandy Marham
Norfolk, VA

Competing ... is it Really a Good Idea?

I also read the article about Crufts and will give everyone a quick overview, for those who don't what is alleged.

Clive and Nancy Evans, owners of a 22 month old Doberman Pincher, have alleged someone fed their dog a piece of contaminated meat containing a tranquilizer just prior to the time the dog was to enter the arena. The Evans dog, Kerri, was the odds on favorite for the Open Bitch Category at this years show.

The dog was listless, distracted and wobbly on her feet. Her owners pulled her from the competition and took her to the show veterinarian for examination. The staff veterinarian who examined Kerri agreed she showed the signs of being tranquilized, but stated blood tests and examination of stomach contents would need to be obtained to prove it definitively.

As of the time of this writing, I have been unable to determine if these examinations were ever conducted, and, if so, what was determined.

First, lets talk about Crufts and what it means to win this particular competition.

Crufts had its first show in the Town of Islington England in 1891. It has a long standing reputation as one of the largest dog shows in the world where the elite dogs in the confirmation arena compete each year. I had the great opportunity to attend back in 1991, and it's a truly amazing spectacle. Being a winner at Crufts means immediate recognition as a breeder, handler and owner.

It also means money. If you win at this show, it means endorsements, paid appearances, publicity and a doubling in the price a breeder can charge for puppies. I have no problem with this as I feel if you have won fairly, you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor. This is the spirit of competition. It shows dedication to the individual dog, breed, sport and species in general.

Unfortunately, whenever there is money/recognition and humans involved, there will be people who cheat and/or take the easy way to the winners box. We see it in dog shows, professional and college sports, and, the good Lord knows, in politics. No matter what type of competition there is, there will always be cheaters.

When I competed in the Police Dog Championships, all the dogs were required to stay in a specific kennel near the arena. It was a three-day competition where every competitor competed each day. Believe me, every night either the handler or their associate, slept in the kennel with the dog to prevent these types of incidents. Why? This event meant notoriety to the police unit the dog came from. More funding the following year, etc.

This was my final "professional" competition. I just felt it was too much to put my dog and myself through. I, personally, decided this level of competition was not for me. I wanted it to be fun and not about status and money. I wanted to showcase my hard work, not gain notoriety. (I won by the way.)

For those willing to go through the stress and willing to do it right, I applaud you. You show the world the best there is with the utmost integrity. I will always support your efforts. Decide to do it wrong though, and I'll be all over you.

When I wrote the previous article, I was referring to a different level of competition. The good, old friendly type, where little is given over a few bucks and a nice trophy. You won't make the big bucks or become famous. You'll simply be able to enjoy the fun of competing and the glorious time you will get to spend with your dog doing something they enjoy.

There are many competitions that are just friendly. People do fashion shows, fancy tricks, agility, obedience and other tasks, all in the name of fun. Many are sponsored by local clubs, rescue operations and shelters. They are designed to increase awareness, responsible ownership and the joy a dog can bring to your home.

There is also the simple joy, for both you and the dog, of training for competition just for the heck of it. You don't have to necessarily compete to enjoy the fun of preparing for it. You will get to see your dog gain confidence, strength, stamina and trust. You will increase their lifespan and display your love.

The level of competition you chose to take is up to you. You must realize, though, that if you are not in it for the joy of the sport, and are more interested in notoriety, then maybe you should chose another sport. Do it for the joy. Do it for the physical well being of your dog. If this is foremost in your mind, you will enjoy the time you invest. So will your dog.

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

The disposition of noble dogs is to be gentle with people they know and the opposite with those they don't know. How, then, can the dog be anything other than a lover of learning since it defines what's its own and what's alien.

~ Plato ~


Blue and the Gator

It was supposed to be a simple early evening walk for Ruth Gay and her Australian Blue Heeler named Blue. It turned into a harrowing and painful experience for Ruth and a battle to protect a loved one for Blue.

As they strolled along a canal behind their home in Labelle, Florida, Ruth slipped and fell on the wet grass and fell to the ground breaking her nose and dislocating her shoulder. Blue laid by her side while she called for help in an effort to support his injured owner.

Suddenly, Blue began to growl and darted into the darkness. Blue had sensed the approach of an alligator that had been attracted by Ruth's calls for help. Ruth could hear her dog and the alligator fighting and was certain her dog, and perhaps herself, were as good as dead. The battle raged for several minutes, and then there was silence.

It was nearly an hour later when Ruth knew Blue had survived the attack. He was barking feverishly guiding Ruth's daughter to where his injured mom had fallen. Despite multiple lacerations to his stomach and hind-quarters, Blue had managed to crawl back to the house for help, after he had dispatched the nosy alligator.

Blue and Ruth have recovered from their injuries and Blue was named “Dog Hero of the Year” by the Heinz Pet Product Company in Pittsburgh. "In the forty-seven years we have been giving this award, we have never had a dog that had fought off an alligator," says program coordinator Patti Jo Lambert.

Shadow and the Bear

Don Mobley was gathering firewood for a night along the Nacochna River in Central Alaska preparing for a night on a sandbar on the rivers bank with his dog Shadow, a German Shepard mix. He was about fifty yards from the river when he looked up and saw a Grizzly sow and her cub about fifteen feet away from him.

Mobley, an experienced woodsman, knew with the cub so close, he was going to get mauled. He knew his only choice was to run for the river and its deep waters hoping the bear wouldn't pursue into its depths. However, he also knew he had little chance of making it too the waters before the bear caught up to him.

"The bear was about ten feet behind me when Shadow zipped out of the woods and lunged at the bear." Mobley, still running for the river, quickly realized the bear had retreated into the wood with her cub with Shadow in hot pursuit. Shadow returned to his owner a few minutes later suffering from minor injuries consisting of raw spots behind his ears.

Mobley wasn't sure if the bear had bitten Shadow or clawed him, or whether Shadow had bitten back. "What I do know is, if it wasn't for Shadow, I probably wouldn't be here today." How did he reward Shadow? Bear steaks of course.

Mail Bag

Keep up the good work with the newsletter. By the way, you have a supporter on your side regarding PETA. Chuck and I feel the same way. We support Dogs for the Deaf, and a number of Humane Societies. At least I know my money is going to a good cause.

Sue D.


This last issue of bark n scratch was great!  I whole-heartedly agree with you about PETA and appreciate all of your research and time into preparing the response to the obviously uninformed reader's letter.  I plan on showing your letter to quite a few fellow animal lovers and applaud you for taking a public stand against an abusive organization!  Thank You!

Nancy S.

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Joke of the Week

BIG Help!

[Now, I'm blonde, too, so no angry letters!]

Returning home from work, a blonde was shocked to find her house ransacked and burglarized.  She telephoned the police at once and reported the crime.  The police dispatcher broadcast the call on the radio, and a K-9 unit, patrolling nearby was the first to respond.

As the K-9 officer approached the house with his dog on a leash, the blonde ran out on the porch, shuddered at the sight of the cop and his dog, then sat down on the steps.

Putting her face in her hands, she moaned, "I come home to find all my possessions stolen.  I call the police for help, and what do they do?  They send me a BLIND policeman."

* 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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