"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume I - Issue 8:  November 21, 2003
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Dog Anxiety
=>  Today's Quote
=>  Breed of the Week
=>  The Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Why Suzie Can't Go For a Walk

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Everyone!

Well, I am sick of the rain. (You'd think I'd be used to it after three years in England!) It started a week ago and hasn't really stopped yet. Not only does it get depressing after a while, I ended up stuck with a CAT because of it.

This cute little guy appears to have been abandoned as he is grossly under weight and has a small sore that appears to be from another cat. Well, once my daughter saw him there was no casting him back out into the rain, so here he sits. I will try to get a picture of him on the site once he's looking a little better. He acts kinda like a dog so I guess he can stay.

I also have a couple of other things I found this week that are worth mentioning. Both I discovered from Anna-Marie Stewart Venton - http://www.annamarketing.com - one of our readers. She's a really neat lady and I highly recommend everyone visit her site.

First is a dog message board that seems to have a really good following of neat people with some great dog ideas. You can find the board at www.dogslife-network.ryze.com It is moderated by Marla Harris who does a fantastic job and has one of the cutest dogs you've ever seen. If you have a chance, go by and check it out.

The other is called The Animal Rescue Site. You can get to the site at www.theanimalrescuesite.com It doesn't cost anything, and by visiting and clicking on a link, sponsors donate to help animal rescue organizations. Make it a daily must.

All right, kids, that's it for now. Have a great week and keep the comments coming! Happy Thanksgiving to all of our U.S. readers!



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I have a 10 yr old poodle mix (llasa or ??)  I bought him at around 4 weeks old from a 'seedy' woman selling pups out of her car.... (long story, won't go into details now) ...he had sarcoptic mange & I had a hell of a time getting him cured. 

A few years ago, when Muffy was only a year old, or so, I went to visit a friend out of town who couldn't have dogs in her place so another person took care of him for a month.  It seems that this dog-sitter left Muffy in his car often whenever he was out and about.  (I only found this out later)

I have taken Muffy with me in my car everywhere, but I never leave him alone in the car.  However, no sooner do I turn off the ignition, he gets an anxiety attack & he is terrified he will be left.  It only lasts for seconds until we get out of the car, but it drives me nuts.

In addition to this, we have moved in with my elderly mom (again in a new city) ... it's 2 yrs now ... whenever she even looks like she is going out, he starts barking like crazy ... of course, he does the same when I go out.  The strange thing is this:  If I am alone in the house with him & I leave he is quiet.  The same goes for mom. The barking only occurs when one of us stays home with him.

Carole Chanin

Dog Anxiety

There's a certain level of anxiety in us all and it has a useful purpose at times. For me, I always get anxious at picture time and on my way to prostate exams. While I know I'll survive the process, I still seem to “pucker up” a bit in anticipation of such events.

Dogs are really not any different than us except they develop their anxieties by way of life experience or medical conditions and not as a result of media images and horror stories. Since we can't lay them on the couch and have them tell us their woes and fears, we must take an investigative approach to discovering the cause.

In the case of Muffy, it's pretty clear where and when the anxiety developed. Let's break it down a bit ...

Muffy didn't have a real healthy start as she was separated from her parents at far too young an age. I believe a puppy needs to be at least eight weeks old before being separated from its mother, siblings and initial human family. This allows them to develop a higher self-confidence level, which is necessary for them to adjust to their new family.

Additionally, she had mange. This is a very uncomfortable condition, which as the letter says, is a real pain in the rear to deal with. It often takes creams, pills, injections, blood draws and or a combination of these treatments. Kind of a hard start for the little gal.

By Carole's own admission, she spoiled her and worked diligently to make her feel loved and secure after a difficult first year of life. Based on what we know about the breeder, Carole was probably the first human to ever show Muffy any true affection and care.

Unfortunately, Carole took a very extended leave and had to leave the dog with someone else who failed to be consistent with the customs Muffy had become comfortable with. It was after this leave the new behaviors began. Now after eight years, the behavior continues.

We have two different things going on here. First, lets address the car issue. I'm betting something may have happened to Muffy in the car during Carole's absence. It could have been too cold or hot outside. She may have been left there for numerous hours. She may even have been harassed by a neighborhood kid while left unattended in the car. We just don't know for sure.

What we do know is the anxiety starts when Carole shuts off the car, and lasts until Muffy gets out with her. The best thing we can do to remedy this is change the exit routine from the car. If turning off the car is the trigger, then call her into your lap before ever touching the key and give her a little love and encouragement.

Carole may even have to open the door and allow the dog to get out next to the door before shutting it off. This will have to be done repeatedly in order to have an affect. Muffy will be distracted by the change and may initially not even realize she missed her chance to spaz.

The issue at home is caused by dominance. It stems from the absence from years ago, but I think, over time, it has become a way of obtaining attention from others in the house. I'm betting when someone else is left in the house with the dog after one of them leaves, the person remaining in the house gives the dog some sort of attention to stop the barking. If this weren't the case, the dog would bark when left alone as well.

The best thing to do for this situation is to have the person who remains in the house with the dog completely ignore the dog. It will quit barking eventually and when it does, then they can have some love. Again, the dog will learn if it wants to be loved up, it has to stop the insanity. By giving them attention when they bark we only reinforce the undesirable behavior.

Nearly all anxiety in dogs is caused by life experience and can be treated through understanding and training. I have yet to have a dog I worked with not be able to work through the anxiety and be just fine. It just takes time and patience.

I have, however, heard of cases where dogs were simply neurotic nut cases. Often this is a case of chemical imbalance in the animal or issues of extreme neglect and abuse. There are medications that have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration to help relieve canine anxiety. Basically "puppy Prozac."

These medications should only be used under the close supervision of a medical animal behavioralist, and only after all other means of relieving their anxiety have failed. I hate to see a dog doped up because the owner is too lazy to spend the extra time to work out the anxiety naturally.

Just like people, dogs can relieve anxiety through exercise and proper diet. Whenever I work with a dog suffering from excessive anxiety and fear, I always recommend a strict exercise regimen. It works for dogs for the same reason it works for people. It also is just plain ol' good for the dog.

I like the exercise to be conducted in the morning and to consist of a nice brisk walk or jog for twenty to thirty minutes. I then run the dog through his obedience paces and end with a little one-on-one love time. It doesn't hurt to repeat the process again in the evening.

You should also really look at your dog's diet. Look at your dog's food for unnecessary preservatives, colorants, and fillers. If you find your dog food filled with these things, you should look for a more natural food.

You should also eliminate any additional people foods from their diet. Many processed foods made for people are incompatible with a dog's digestive system. If they aren't feeling right, anxiety can quickly set in.

Dog anxiety can be a very trying thing to deal with. Proper nutrition, exercise and socialization to a multitude of stimulus at a young age, can be instrumental in preventing the condition and saving a heck of a lot of aggravation.

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.


I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.

~ John Steinbeck ~



The Pomeranian originated from, funny enough, Pomerania. It is the direct descendant of the Spitz breeds that were originally herding dogs. They were originally much larger than they are today, and that is historically attributed to Queen Victoria who was quite the fancier.

She bred and showed them with moderate success making them a popular breed in England. Since she preferred smaller dogs, many breeders began choosing the smaller ones for their breeding programs

The Pom is a very intelligent and trainable dog. They have been used as circus performers for over 100 years, however, now they are primarily kept as companion and competitive animals today. They perform well in agility trials and freestyle trick competitions. They are even recommended as good watchdogs.

This is a very high-energy dog that is easy to train but tend to do better having only one primary trainer/handler. They are fiercely loyal to their family, and can be somewhat stubborn and temperamental. The owner of a Pom needs to be firm and not allow this little pistol to take over the role of Alpha.

They have been known to attack dogs of much greater size, so they require extensive socialization from the time they are at least four weeks old. (“Little Man Syndrome” maybe?) They are often not recommended for families with small children for the same reason, however a well-behaved child and a properly socialized Pom should do just fine.

Their distinctive yapping bark has given them the reputation as good watchdogs but can get on the nerves if you aren't prepared for the racket. As with all things in dog behavior, excessive barking can be corrected if dealt with when they are young. The thing to remember when directing barking behavior of this breed is to be consistent.

The Pom has whimsical almond shaped eyes that always seem to have a look as if to say they know your secrets. Their ears are erect and distinctive set high on the head. Their heads are triangular and have a fox-like appearance. It is preferred their coat be solid in color and may come in red, orange, cream, black, brown or blue.

Their nose will often be the same color as their coat. Poms also have a distinctive feathered tail which fans forward over the back. There is an abundant “mane” around the neck and chest area. The profuse stand off double coat requires diligent grooming as the breed is a constant shedder. Their teeth should align in a scissor bite.

They range in size from 7 – 12 inches (18 – 30 cm) at the withers and weigh from 3 – 7 pounds. (1-3 kg.) They have a life expectancy of thirteen to fifteen years.

The Pom has a few medical conditions that are prominent in the breed and should be watched for. Dislocated knees are not unheard of, and they are prone to heart disease and skin and eye infections. Geriatric dogs may develop bald spots on their coats. Many females are unable to have vaginal births and cesarean sections are common.

They are also known for early tooth loss, as many toy breeds are, so dry food is a must. Canned food should be avoided for the same reason and daily tooth brushing is recommended. I also strongly recommend having a Pom's teeth cleaned by their vet annually.

Poms make a great apartment dog and are very active indoors. They do have great stamina and truly appreciate nice long walks with mom and dad. Due to their dense coat they should be exercised during the cooler parts of the day to avoid overheating and bloat.

The Pom is a true character. They are alert, curious, independent and proud almost to the extreme. They are good-natured and not overly needy as some toy breeds can be. They must know their pack role and understand their position is at the bottom of the ladder to prevent aggressiveness and attitude. They thrive in low-key homes making them an ideal choice for older owners.

Breed requested by Bev Sobkowich

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

Hey there Christopher (same name as my eldest, so easy to remember ... hehehe)

Just thought I`d let you know that I posted a comment about Bark 'n' Scratch over on Ryze a couple of days ago.

Love your newsletter, and especially the humour, it's kick-ass brilliant ... LOL



Hi Christopher,

That was one of the funniest joke stories I have ever read. Keep up the good work. [Last week's joke]

Sue DeFiore


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Why Suzie Can't Go For a Walk

A little boy came in from school and asked if he can take his dog, Suzie, for a walk. "You can't, dear, Suzie's in heat," his mother replied.

"What's heat, Momma," asked the boy.

"Your Dad's out in the garage. You'd better go ask him," said Momma.

"Hey Daddy, I want to take Suzie for a walk, but Momma says I can't cause she's in heat. What's heat?"

Well, the Dad was cleaning some tools in some gasoline. He took a rag, dipped it in the gasoline and rubbed it all over Suzie's rear end. "Don't worry about it, son. This will fix her."

With that the boy took Suzie for the walk. But, about twenty minutes later he returned without the dog.

"Where's Suzie, son," the Dad asked.

"Oh, she ran out of gas about two blocks away. But don't worry, one of the neighbor's dogs is pushing her home."

* 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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