"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 18:  May 21, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Boundary Training
=>  Breed of the Week - Belgian Malinois
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Top 10 Ways to Tell if Martha Stewart is Stalking Your Dog

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Folks!

I read about a study this week I thought was pretty cool so thought I would share it with you. It really shows how much our dogs give to us that we don't even see.

The University of Missouri-Columbia conducted a study, which indicates one of the best ways to cure depression is to interact with a dog. The study showed playing with a dog increased serotonin production, a depression-fighting hormone in the body.

Apparently age (of the human) doesn't seem to make a difference. Applicants from age 19 – 73 were tested for their serotonin levels prior to and after they played with an animal.

“In addition to serotonin, we are also seeing increases in the amount of prolactin, oxytocin, the other hormones which help a person overcome depression,” said Rebecca Johnson, MU Professor of Nursing and Veterinary Medicine.

Based on the studies results, many groups are trying to get pet therapy fully accepted medically and prescribed to patients.

I'm outta here!



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Hi Chris,

We live in a rural area on ten acres of land. There is barbed wire around the property and we have a fenced back yard. Our closest neighbor is about a half mile away.

A month or so back, we adopted a six-month-old Lab-mix from the pound. We thought it would be nice to have her running around playing while we were working on the property. She is really sweet and knows sit, down, come and stays okay when we are near the house. Once we get out on the property, she loses her mind.

She won't listen to anyone. She runs around, barks and chases rabbits and squirrels. At first we just thought she was happy to have the space to run and play after being at the pound. Then, she started going through the barbed wire fence and taking off. She doesn't go far, but there is a road on one side of my property and I'm afraid she is going to get hit.

I don't want to keep her in the yard at the house because she loves the open property so much, but I don't want her to get hurt either. Any ideas?

J. Manfred

Boundary Training

It doesn't matter whether you live in an apartment or on 100 acres, there is generally one place we all have where our dog is not allowed. For me it's the kitchen and the bathroom. They don't cook or use the facilities and I sure as heck don't need an audience when I do. It is a rule any dog entering my home learns pretty quickly.

When it comes to the outside of our homes, the boundaries are pretty clear to us but not to our dogs. We see the sidewalks, yard and fence and think, “seems clear to me.” Our dogs see wide-open spaces ready to be explored and tromped across.

It is important to address this “difference in perception” as soon as the dog comes to the home whenever possible. The process is the same whether the dog is new or established in the home, it's just quicker if you take care of it before bad habits are developed.

Before I go on though, I want to clarify something. Boundary training (BT) is not intended to make it allowable to leave your dog off leash, unattended. It is intended to be a way of keeping your dog safe and a good canine citizen.

When I start BT with a dog, I always start inside the house. This is for two reasons. First, it is easier to stay consistent and on top of the process in a smaller area. Second, dogs seem to learn it easier at the onset as there is more reinforcement with inside BT.

Start by placing the dog on-leash. Enter the house through the main door and walk the dog either right or left and literally walk the perimeter of the house interior. As you reach a room that is off limits to the dog simply bypass the room and say, “No,” if the dog shows interest in entering the room. Continue with the process through the rest of the house going in the same direction you started whenever possible.

You must remember to allow the dog to enter rooms that are not off limits. Allow them to explore “authorized” rooms but never allow them to show interest to off limits areas.

Do at least three passes through the house on leash the first try. Now, take them off leash and walk them through again reinforcing the boundaries. Next simply allow them to wander but watch them closely. As soon as they start to enter an off limits area, you need to be ready to tell them “no” and escort them hurriedly out of the area.

At the same time, you can reinforce the boundaries throughout the day without having to take any time out from your own activities. For instance, if you are watching television with the dog and get up to get a soda, call the dog along with you, but make them stop at the edge of the kitchen and tell him to stay. Get your soda, maybe a Scooby snack for the dog, and go back out and give the dog some praise. In other words, never miss an opportunity to reinforce and praise good behavior.

It will normally only take a day or two for your dog to perfect this process. Give them a week though before you start their outside BT. This will allow the dog's confidence to build and make the task more enjoyable.

When you start outside BT, start with a fenced yard. Now I know you are thinking, “why do I need to BT the dog in a fenced yard?” Dogs can dig under fences, boards break and even some of the smallest breeds can get over a six foot fence. It is the next step in the process but a necessary one when possible.

You basically repeat what you have done inside only now the off limits area is anything outside the fence. If they start to turn towards the fence, or significantly react to anything on the other side, tell them “No, heal,” and keep moving. After three or four passes take them off leash and repeat the process. Practice this for two days.

When we start BT where there are no physical barriers in place, we must approach the process with patience. Our dogs at this point have a good understanding there are places they are not allowed. However, without the physical barriers, it may take a time or two for the dog to get the knack.

Again, you will walk the perimeter of the property approximately 1-2 feet from the property line. When the dog starts to show interest outside the property, give a firm “No, heal” and walk on. You must watch your dog's eyes and head and be consistent with the correction. Stop periodically and tell the dog to stay. Then cross the property line yourself, leaving the dog behind. Cross back over the property and call the dog to you. If they attempt to cross over the line, give them a firm, “No.”

Walk the entire perimeter of the property, with the dog on leash, for at least five days. After that, you can take them off leash. Repeat the process off leash for a day or so and longer, if needed.

One thing to remember is you must be consistent in all areas of BT. This is critical if you don't want to sabotage your dog's progress. For instance, if one of your off-limits areas is the kitchen, it must always be off-limits. You have to make sure the dog doesn't con you with sweet eyes one day to come in and get a little snitch of whatever food we're making.

If you allow the dog to get away with this, you have basically just told the dog all the boundaries are negotiable. Believe me, your dog isn't sitting there going, “Well, I can get around the kitchen boundary but I understand the other boundaries are still set in stone.” All your dog knows is all bets are off. Stay consistent.

Boundary training is not only easy to do, but it could very well save your dog's life and should be considered a necessity. It needs to be reinforced occasionally, but the time is more than worth the pay-off. Once your dog gets proficient at BT, you can even teach them temporary boundaries for when you go camping or stay at friend/families house.

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
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If you think your dog can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them.

~ Phil Pastoret ~



The Papillon, also called the Continental Spaniel, is tougher than one might think at first glance. It is also one of the oldest breeds with a recorded history in Europe going back over 700 years. The breed was originally called the Epagneul Nain or Dwarf spaniel, and had spaniel type drooped ears.

This tiny breed was held in high esteem in the thirteenth through fifteenth century and can be found in the paintings of many Italian Frescoes. In fact, much of the breed's development is known because of the numerous paintings they have featured in. The breed was widespread in Italy during the Renaissance Period but was later perfected by French breeders.

The Papillon has a long plumed tail that is carried curled over the back. Its long lustrous coat is white with patches of any color except liver. The secondary color should cover both of their eyes and their ears from front to back. Their ears can either stand erect or droop, however erect ears are preferred. Their muzzle is short and pointed with their teeth meeting in a tight scissor bite.

This breed requires daily brushing to keep their long, silky, single coat in optimum condition. They are generally a clean dog and only require bathing when absolutely necessary. They are average shedders and are not prone to tangle or matt.

They grow in height from 8 – 11 inches (20-28 cm.) and weigh from 7-9 lbs. (3-4 kg.) They are fairly long lived with many reaching sixteen years old. They also have only a few genetic issues. They can be prone to problems with the kneecaps in the hind legs but this can sometimes be corrected with surgery. They can also be born with a “soft spot” on the skull much like a child. This usually corrects itself but if it doesn't, the dog will need to be protected. Many have a difficult time under general anesthesia.

The Papillon will do fine in an apartment and have no real problem deriving much of their exercise from indoor play. They do love to play outside though so this needs to be considered. They can be a bit yappy, but this behavior can be redirected easily if dealt with when the dog first arrives in the home.

This little guy is a lot tougher than he looks. Believe me I know as we had one for many years when I was a kid. They are gentle, affectionate and lively companions capable of learning tricks, which they excel at. They will do well with respectful children and cats they have been raised with.

Some bloodlines can be timid and nervous which often leads to dog aggression and possessiveness over its owner. Generally, they are a little stand-offish towards strangers until they have had a chance to check them out. They love to cuddle but shouldn't be coddled. This is a proud and dignified breed that can handle himself well and resents excessive babying.

Angel, our Papillon, has always been one of my favorite dogs. She slept in my room and followed me everywhere. She had a quiet dignity but also loved to rough house and tear around the house with her toys. If I were ever to get a small dog again, a Papillon would be on the top of my list.

Dignity ... There is no better description for this breed.

Rescued Dog Returns the Favor

The Haskells, their son Kevin and a neighbor were off taking a leisurely walk through Minors Ravine located in Roseville, California. With the change in the weather, everyone seems to be getting out and hiking, and biking, and stretching off their winter legs.

As they approached some bushes, the foursome heard a noise. Kevin Haskell's dog, Jet, hopped into action. Jet jumped between Kevin and a rattlesnake, which bit Jet in the chest twice. The Haskells immediately rushed Jet to the Roseville Veterinary Hospital.

“He (Jet) was just trying to protect me,” Kevin Haskell said. “He's an awesome dog. He's a hero to me.”

Jet is really special to the Haskell family. Jet, a six-year-old Labrador mix, came to the family when he was a puppy. They adopted him from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Roseville. “He has been an absolutely fabulous dog,” says Patti Haskell, Kevin's mom.

When Jet arrived at the vet, he had to have several blood transfusions but still had only about a 50-50 chance of survival. “We're optimistic. The fact he's showing improvement is making us more encouraged he'll recover,” said Dr. James Young of the Atlantic Street Hospital. Jet's veterinary bills have exceeded $4,000.00

Ironically, the family had been at the veterinarian's office two weeks earlier asking about the new rattlesnake vaccine, which cost around $40.00.

After two weeks recovering with the vet, Jet was finally able to go home with his family. He was able to go for a short walk with his family. Jet still isn't out of the woods yet though. He may still require one additional surgery.

Community support for Jet has been incredible. His medical bills, to include the cost of the additional surgery, have all been donated by local citizens who heard about his plight. The additional money sent to the family for Jet's care will be donated to the Roseville SPCA.

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Joke of the Week

Top 10 Ways to tell if Martha Stewart is Stalking Your Dog

10. There's potpourri hanging from their collar

9. Their nails have been cut with pinking shears

8. The dog droppings in your yard have all been sculpted into swans

7. The pooper-scooper has been decorated with raffia bows

6. That telltale lemon slice in the new silver water bowl

5. You find liver and whole-wheat dog treats stamped out with copper cookie cutters and decorated with Royal Icing, using a #2 rosette tip

4. Dog hair has been collected and put into wire baskets as nesting material for birds

3. A seasonally appropriate grapevine wreath adorns the front of your doghouse.

2. Your dog goes outside naked and comes in wearing a thyme colored virgin wool hand-knitted sweater and matching boots


1. Your dog's stock portfolio is doing better than your own

* 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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