"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume I - Issue 6:  November 7, 2003
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  DGroup Classes vs. In-Home Training
=>  Today's Quote
=>  Breed of the Week
=>  The Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Danger! Beware of Dog!

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Everyone!

Well here we are again at the end of another week. I want to thank everyone who sent the Halloween pictures of their “kids” in costume. I got a big kick out of them and appreciate everyone sending them in.

The day after Halloween, I went to the store and was amused to see the Christmas stuff already being peddled on the shelves. They just can't wait, can they? As I was musing over this I started to think about the “hot” training period trainers experience about a month after Christmas as a result of all the new puppies bought as presents.

While I will most likely bring this up again in a month or so, I want to ask everyone who is planning to purchase a dog for Christmas to consider getting one from your local shelter or rescue organization. There are many wonderful dogs in these situations that are already trained and ready for a new loving family. Obtaining one of these dogs not only will make a great present for your family, but you'll be giving the dog the gift of life. Just something to think about.

I have a small update on the Petcurean Pet Nutrition food recall. Their entire "Go" natural pet food product line is being pulled from the shelves until further notice. If you have any of these products they are asking it be returned to the store where it was bought for a refund. There is no estimate as to when this product will again be available.

Know someone with a dog who might enjoy "Bark 'n' Scratch?" If so, would you please forward a copy of this newsletter to them? Or, send them the URL of the online issue and ask them to take a look?

Just be sure to write them a note, letting them know you are forwarding it, tell them why YOU like "Bark & Scratch" and ask them to subscribe at the web site. Thanks!

I hope you all have a great week. Please keep the questions and comments coming.



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"Hello Christopher,

"I have heard group classes are good because they provide distractions, which enable a dog to stay focused regardless of their surroundings. When I was reading you site recently I noticed you don't currently offer group classes. Why is that?"

San Antonio, Texas

Group Classes vs. In-Home Training

It's true I don't offer group classes for the general public at this time. I do conduct group training with professional working dogs. But, these are dogs that are already at the top of their field and have moved well into the advanced training stages. Additionally, the individuals handling these dogs are also trained dog handlers in the advanced stage.

I have conducted Basic Obedience classes to the general public in the past, but I just didn't feel I was giving the individual students the time they deserved and paid for. There's also the issue of proper training and protocol, which is absolutely vital at the beginning stages of training. Let me explain ...

More often than not, dogs are not brought to professional training until unwanted behaviors are exhibited. They are chewing on shoes, running off, not obeying basic commands or may be showing signs of dog or human aggression. Very often, the behavioral problem a dog is experiencing has little to do with Basic Obedience training and more to do with environmental factors and proper pack protocol.

With this in mind, putting a dog in a group class away from their normal environment is a little like placing the cart before the horse. How can we expect them to be in an optimum training situation when we're taking them to a new area, with all kinds of new sites and sounds? The answer is, we can't.

I whole-heartedly believe that starting training, of any kind, before we have established proper pack protocol in the home is self-defeating. After all, the dogs are not misbehaving because they feel the desire to go to school and better themselves. They are acting out because their environment is not where they instinctively know it should be.

I prefer to start all training in the home. This allows me to evaluate the home environment, whether I'm physically present or not, and “see” the dog in his own territory and at ease. This process of observation and questioning enables us to find possible environmental and protocol causes for the behavior. Only once this is done can true training begin.

Basic obedience should always be introduced in the home. This allows the dog to focus on the job of training without outside influence. It should be a fun filled time for both the dog and owner and should only last for fifteen minutes at a time with five minutes breaks in between. Distraction training should only be started once a dog is proficient at off-leash basic obedience in the home.

Now lets look at long-term costs. Most group training classes are held for approximately an hour, once a week over a period of four to six weeks. There are anywhere from six to twelve dogs in the class, depending on the trainer. With that in mind, you are generally only going to get 5-10 minutes of personal time with the trainer each session for a total personal time of 20 to 60 minutes with the trainer over the period of the course.

These courses usually cost from $150 to $350. You then have to consider the gas to drive to the sessions and the value of your own personal time. Now, if your dog is not living in an environmentally correct home, you can bet he will not perform well when he returns to his home after group training.

So let's look at this from the best possible financial stand point. Let's say you paid $225 for the class. It costs $10 each week for gas for six weeks. We'll assess personal time at $15 an hour, for six weeks. We come to a grand total of $375 for approximately one hour of true training time, in a less than optimal training environment.

With in-home training or coaching, you get a solid hour of individualized training in the best environment possible to give lasting results. The home environment can be reviewed and modified to best suit your particular situation. You waste no money on gas or personal time driving to class.

All members of the family can be present to enhance the training experience for the dog. Additionally, most trainers who do in-home training will follow up by sending a detailed training program specific to your dog. Average cost? $90 to $150 an hour.

Group classes are a great way for a trainer to make quick easy money. As a trainer, you don't have to work or think as hard in class settings, since the focus is not on the individual but rather the whole. For me, it is a matter of integrity. I know I can give much more to a dog by way of in-home personal training or coaching than I can in a group setting. The results are far more lasting, convenient, and at a more affordable price.

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.


If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.

~ Will Rogers ~


Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is a direct descendent of the Siberian Wolf (now extinct) and was brought to Alaska in early 20th century. They were used for centuries by native tribes of Siberia to pull sleds, herd reindeer and act as watchdogs. The Siberian Husky is a very light-weight sled dog with tremendous endurance.

These dogs are very gentle and loving, but can also be willful and mischievous. This cheerful dog is very fond of his or her family. These are high-energy dogs, especially as puppies, but are also known for being laid back and even docile.

They are excellent with children and tolerant of strangers, in most cases. They will readily adapt to a new pack with proper introduction and minimal socialization. They are very intelligent and trainable, but can be distracted easily without consistent training and patience.

This is a very social breed that needs companionship. So, if this is the breed for you, you may want to consider having a second dog. This breed likes to howl, gets bored easily and can be destructive. They should be given plentiful exercise and attention, to prevent boredom and wandering. Coming from the Wolf family, this breed likes to roam. This should be strongly considered when choosing this breed.

The Siberian Husky comes in a plentitude of colors to suit any owner. White seems to be a predominate color in all of them, with peach, brown, gray, sable or Agouti being the possible secondary colors. All coat markings are acceptable, the most notable being a pie-bald. The face-mask and underbody are usually white, and the remaining coat any color.

Not all Siberians have blue eyes. In fact, most don't. They can have eyes that are blue, brown, amber, or any combination thereof, including eyes that are half blue and half brown.  Having one blue eye and one brown eye is referred to as being "bi-eyed."

They have large hairy paws which are designed to ease their travel through the snow. Their ears are set back on the head and are very erect. They have a thick undercoat and a soft over coat. They can easily function in temperatures of 58 degrees to -76 degrees F ( -50 degrees to -60 degrees C).

The Siberian Husky ranges in height from 20-24 inches (51-60 cm) at the withers and weigh from 35-60 lbs 16-27kg.) They are moderate eaters and can be prone to weight gain as they get older. It is believed they have a slower metabolism to assist them in maintaining weight in sub-zero conditions.

They are generally free of breed-specific medical issues, with the exception of hip dysplasia and eye problems. They can be susceptible to zinc responsive dermatitis but this can be treated with supplements. They can be expected to live from twelve to fifteen years.

I do not recommend them for apartments for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the fact they are just as active inside as out. With their “easily bored” mentality they will become destructive if left in an apartment unattended. They also need time to roam on their own and a large fenced yard is mandatory to maintain good mental and physical health. For common sense reasons, they are not suited for hot climates.

They were brought to Malamute for sled dog races because of their great speed. During the first quarter of the twentieth century, a tragic diphtheria epidemic occurred in Nome, Alaska. The Siberian Husky lead many sled teams that were responsible for delivering the necessary medicine to the affected cities. They were also the primary breed used during Admiral Byrd's Antarctic Expeditions.

If you have the space for the breed, the Siberian Husky is a good choice for just about any family. They do well with all members of the family and will make a nice enhancement to your home and family.

Breed requested by John Checkley

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


I want to thank you for the aggressive dog info that you put in your newsletter. It all makes sense how dogs behave in a "family." We just got back from an evacuation from So.Cal. fires. We took all the animals to my mothers and stayed there. Sunny was in the house the whole time and was such a good girl.

Thanks again,

Kim Tartamella


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Danger! Beware of Dog!

Upon entering a little country store, a stranger noticed a sign reading, "Danger! Beware of Dog!" posted on the glass door.

Inside, he noticed a harmless old basset hound asleep on the floor beside the cash register. He asked the store manager, "Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?"

"Yep, that's him," he replied.

The stranger couldn't help but chuckle.  "That certainly doesn't look like a dangerous dog to me.  Why in the world would you post that sign?"

"Because," the owner replied, "before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him."

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

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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