"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume I - Issue 5:  October 31, 2003
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Dog Aggressive Behavior
=>  Today's Quote
=>  Breed of the Week
=>  The Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  The Difference Between Dogs and Cats

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Everyone!

Well, I have made it through a week with no email problems, which has been a God-send. I guess I can be fortunate to have good people helping me get it all sorted out. If you have sent me an email in the last few weeks and have not heard back from me, I again ask you resend it. I want to make sure no one was left out in the cold.

We are also dealing with the new spam legislation that has hit Europe and California. As of the time of this writing there still seem to be some folks who have not resubscribed to Bark and Scratch to make us "legal." Hopefully they will return at a later date.

I also want to let everyone know about a pet food recall that occurred this week. It's been blamed for the death of seven dogs and made several others sick. The food is made by Petcurean Pet Nutrition and their entire "Go" natural pet food product line until further notice. The food is distributed in the USA and Canada and is known for being a high quality product.

I've been unable to get the Batch Number for the products they're pulling, as their phone lines are flooded. The food in question they believe was made at their plant in Texas. As soon as I can get the batch numbers, I'll let everyone know.

If you have any of Petcurean's "Go" products, I highly recommend you contact the company to determine if your product is safe before giving your pet any more of the product. Their toll free number is (866) 864-6112, Ext. 104

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Watch those spooks at your door tonight!



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"Hello Christopher,

"My husband brought home a stray dog that was hanging around his work for a while.  She (Sunny) was quite thin so we took her to the vet to have her checked out.  We think she is full German Shepard.  He said she was around two years old.

"We would go for walks everyday and at first she didn't mind other dogs, but as time progressed she would become very aggressive towards other dogs.  We walk her on a leash and it is all I can do to hold her if she sees another dog.

But now get this… She got out of the yard one day and when I had spotted her, she was playing with one of the dogs in the neighborhood that normally she was aggressive to.   She isn't spayed yet.  She is very sweet to us.   I hope I haven't left anything out.  Can you help us out?"


Dog Aggressive Behavior

It can be a very scary prospect to strap the leash on your dogs and then take them out in public for exercise, when you know there's a chance your dog may become aggressive towards another dog. You not only have to worry about injury to your dog, but you also must worry about injuries to the other dog or it's owner should things get out of hand. Top that with the municipal fines, law suits and the possibility of having your dog destroyed by the authorities and it can be a less than pleasant afternoon jaunt.

In Sunny's case, we are at an immediate disadvantage, as she was not found until she was approximately two years old. As a result, we have no idea of her previous life experiences or treatment. For this reason, a slower approach to modifying her behavior should be taken in order to prevent taking a step that could actually cause her to regress rather than progress. Lets break it down.

She was two when she was found and is believed to be full German Shepard. She was very thin when found and as a result we can assume she was physically weak. She was not dog aggressive for the first month and predominately lives in the back yard. (I wrote and asked.) She does not appear to be aggressive with other dogs unless she is on leash. She has not been spayed.

First we must consider the breed and age. German Shepards are natural guardians and were bred for just that purpose. They can be extremely protective of their family and tend to be slightly dependent upon their pack members for emotional acceptance. They are not necessarily aggressive unless provoked.

They are not known for being overly social in general, so they must be socialized early in order for them to understand their boundaries. They reach adult maturity between the age of two and three years old. This is just about the time when Sunny entered the family.

Sunny was very thin when she was found but has since reached the desired weight. Often dogs that were deprived of proper nutrition during their adolescent years can develop food issues so we must carefully monitor their weight to prevent future physical issues.

The up side to this is that most of these dogs will respond wonderfully to a food reward during training. She has not been spayed and since we don't know her genetic line she should be fixed. It will not only extend her life, but could very well reduce her desire to be aggressive.

Now for Sunny's quirk and this is important! Sunny does not appear to be aggressive toward other dogs when she is roaming free without parental supervision. On the occasion Kim mentions in her letter, Sunny was playing with a dog she was normally aggressive with when on leash. Isn't that interesting?

A dog that is truly “dog aggressive” will be aggressive towards other dogs, whether they are provoked or not, all the time. The only exception might be the dog's favorite canine friend or pack member. So is Sunny truly dog aggressive? Probably not. I believe what Sunny is exhibiting is more a lack of socialization and an extreme desire to protect her most precious commodity. Her Alphas.

Imagine being on your own with no pack/family and knowing you are most likely slowly starving to death. Then a nice person takes you in, gives you food, health care and love and asks little in return. You would be protective as well.

Since the dog lives predominately in the yard, I am betting the majority of the time Sunny spends with her family is on the daily walk. This would be treasured time for Sunny, and you can bet she isn't going to share her saviors with other dogs.

When Sunny has escaped and been found to be out playing with other dogs, what was missing? Mom, Dad and the leash. Without them present, she doesn't feel the threat of being replaced by these other dogs and can allow herself to just play and relax with other dogs.

Sunny needs to be resocialized to other dogs in the presence of her Alphas and on leash. This should be done on neutral territory to all dogs involved, preferably in Kim's house.

I'd find a friend who has a very laid back dog of similar size to Sunny and bring that dog in the house, on leash. The other dog should be kept at a distance that ensures neither dog can reach the other if they are allowed to be at the end of their leashes.

Sunny should then be brought in the house on leash and made to lay down on the floor and be told to stay. She should then be gently stroked and spoken to softly. Both owners should talk to the other's dog to ensure the dogs see each other but are focused on the humans and not the other dog. Wait for twenty seconds, praise Sunny up and take her back outside.

Repeat until Sunny has sat still showing no aggression for at least four trials. If she shows any aggression, simply tell her "no" firmly, and take her outside and start the process again.

Next, repeat the process only this time increase the length of time Sunny sits by doubling the interval. Once Sunny has hit the two-minute mark with no aggression, move the trial outside and repeat starting again at the twenty-second mark. As the trials go on, Sunny will begin to focus on mom and dad rather than the other dog as she is anticipating her reward rather than focusing on the anxiety brought on by the presence of the other dog.

This should not all be done in one day. It should go on for at least a week. Remember we want lasting results and not quick results, as quick results can easily translate into quickly forgotten.

This article may be republished using the following attribution box:
Copyright ©2003 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

Have a question you would like to see answered in this newsletter? I'd like to have your questions be the primary focus of future articles. So, come on. Send them in! Click below to send your question.


A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

~ Josh Billings ~


English Bulldog

Often called a brick with legs or a face only a mother could love, this breed is a treasure chest of personality and enjoyment. These short, compact, muscular dogs have a large head, round dark eyes and a very short muzzle. Their mouth extends to the edge of the eyes resulting in a mocking permanent grin, which seems to be infectious.

While their appearance can seem intimidating, the English Bulldog (EB) has got to be one of the most loving, reliable and steady breeds in their class. These affection mongers require a lot of affection from their human partners in order to maintain a proper sense of mental health, well-being and acceptance within the family pack.

The EB seems to have a natural affection for children whom they are very gentle and dependable with. Even with their loving nature, they make great watchdogs and can become little fireballs if they feel their pack is in danger.

The EB can be a high maintenance breed requiring special attention to their diet and exercise regimen. Most EBs would be emotionally unaffected from a lack exercise, which can easily lead to weight problems. They do however like to exercise when the opportunity presents. They can be very quick and nimble but don't have an enormous amount of stamina.

I”ve seen them used in agility and pulling competitions, however, I personally don't find this to be advisable. Their very body design makes such activities very stressful on the joints and respiratory systems and can lead to future health issues when they enter their geriatric years.

I strongly recommend a low impact exercise regime consisting of brisk thirty-minute daily walks and the occasional game of fetch or tug-of-war. Their exercise should be conducted late in the day to get their metabolism going.

Since the EB enters their geriatric years sooner than many other breeds and because their overall body make-up, their diet is critical. The EB begins to enter their geriatric years at the age of six. As a result, they should be moved to a geriatric food at about that age.

I also recommend, at all ages, they be fed twice a day with their first meal of the day being the largest. Their second meal of the day should be given approximately two hours before their daily exercise. Being overweight can be a real killer for this breed.

They range in height from 12-16 inches (31-40 cm) at the withers and range in weight from 49-55 lbs. (22-25 kg.) The skin on the head should lie in heavy folds. The muzzle is short ending with wide, large, black nostrils. Their lower jaw should be undershot and very broad. The head should be wide, the wider the better, flat with a prominent muscle pad on top.

Their muscular legs should sit squarely under their bodies at the outermost edges, much like a fold-up card table. They should not bow inward and the toes must face squarely forward. Their gate should be smooth and clean with just a slight waddle from the rear end. Their coat can be brindle, yellow, white fawn or red or any combination of these colors. For show purposes, black is a no-no.

The EB has a few genetic health issues. They can have small windpipes, which makes relieving heat through panting a bit more work for the EB. As a result, heat stroke can become something to consider when taking the dog in cars or in extremely hot environments. This also is the reason this breed can be prone to snoring and drooling, but hey, so do I.

They can be susceptible to skin infections, as are all fine coat breeds. With proper nutrition, grooming and general hygiene practices this is not a real problem. Hip and knee problems must also be watched for as a result of their shape. This is why low impact exercise is strongly recommended.

They are not suited for extremely cold environments. They have an average life span of eight to nine years although with proper diet and veterinary care they have been known to live as long as eleven years.

The breed can be dated back to the seventeenth century and originates from the Mastiff. Its complete development occurred in Great Britain in the late seventeenth to early eighteenth century. Their name does not come from their personal appearance but for a sport where they were used to attack and kill bulls in the arena. Thankfully the sport was outlawed in the 1800s.

Breed requested by Beth Siess

Have a breed you would like to see featured in the newsletter? Give me a holler and we'll get it featured as soon as possible.


The Mail Bag

Hi Chris,

Our dog is a German Shepard mix, so she is quite large! When I would pet her, she would turn her head to the side, and put her open mouth over my hands and arms. She doesn't bite, just her teeth would puncture my skin. She is still young, and I didn't know how to correct her behavior. I had tried several things--but nothing worked.

After talking to you on the phone for a few minutes, and asking pertinent questions, you came up with a solution. You really know how to deal with dogs! I only had to try it twice, and it worked!

Anyone who needs help with their dog needs to give you a chance! You definitely were a God-send for me! I can't praise you enough!

Many thanks!

Linda B.


Note -

If I include the question mark in your email address to your autoresponder, I don't get your newsletter. I have ran into this problem with other addresses with the ? mark. If I drop the ? mark, I get what I sent for. This could be an AOL quirk.


[ED NOTE]  Yes, I understand this IS an AOL quirk in some of the browsers. I have removed the question mark.

   - Chris -


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The Difference between Dogs and Cats

A dog thinks: Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a nice warm, dry house, pet me, and take good care of me... They must be gods!

A cat thinks: Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a nice warm, dry house, pet me, and take good care of me... I must be a god!

A dog comes when you call.

A cat takes a message and gets back to you.

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Thank You For Reading!  Have a Terrific Week!

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The BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter is published by Christopher Aust Copyright © 2003 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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