"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 43:  December 10, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...
Internet Toy Drive
Listen to:
"Children are the Very
Heart of Christmas"

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=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Green Eyed Monster
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Breed of the Week - Akita Inu
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Observant Job Applicants

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Gang!

Last week I mentioned a couple of correctional institutes that have started programs where inmates and dogs that are homeless are being matched up and giving not only the animals a second chance, but also seem to be rehabilitating many of the inmates unlike numerous other programs in place.

One of our readers wrote to me and told me of a similar program in North Carolina that is enjoying similar success. Additionally, the writer, who is the Director of Animal Services in her county, is initiating a similar program there.

Way to go Kathryn! I am sure all our members whole hearted and lovingly applaud your efforts for not only our beloved furkids, but for society as a whole. My hat's off to you. It is the dedication of people like you that make such an incredible difference.

With the approach of the holidays, there are a couple of safety precautions we need to take to keep our pets safe. Here are some guidelines when it comes to holiday plants.

Lilies are commonly used in holiday floral arrangements, but many varieties--including tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Stargazer and the Casa Blanca--can cause kidney failure in cats.

Holly can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and lethargy if ingested by your pet. Should he eat mistletoe, he could suffer gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Instead, opt for just-as-pretty artificial plants made from silk or plastic.

If your dog or cat ingests pine tree needles, she can suffer an upset stomach and oral pain.

Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers, which, if ingested by your pet, can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water can also act as a breeding ground for bacteria and Fido could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

Although the potential toxicity of poinsettias is generally overrated, these holiday plants can be irritating to your pet's mouth if eaten, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea.

If you suspect that your pet has eaten a potentially toxic substance, call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center's emergency hotline, 1-888-4-ANI-HELP for round-the-clock telephone assistance.

Also, remember to keep the Christmas light cords and decorations up and away from the reach of your pets.

The Paws for Change calendar is still available and we have quite a few orders. Time for Christmas is drawing near and these things make a wonderful and unique gift for the dog lover in your life or just a treat for yourself. Lets face it, we all need a calendar so why not get one that helps the furkids? Go check them out at:


Keep those letters and suggestions coming. They are greatly appreciated.

Okay, that's it for now. I'm outta here!



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Hi Christopher,

What about the concept of when we have multiple dogs and one dog is jealous of the other. Brandy and Alex got along, and us paying attention to one and not the other didn't bother them. But, Cassidy came running whenever we talked to, played with or pet Brandy.

I can't believe other multiple pet owners don't see this behavior also.


Green Eyed Monster

I think all of us with siblings have, at one time or another, exhibited or experienced some level of jealousy. You know what I'm talking about. Johnny gets a new bike and you get his old one or Susie gets to shop for clothes at the “cool” store and Mary has to go to Kmart. (No offense Kmart) I guess I was lucky because being the baby and the only boy, I didn't have to worry about hand me down clothes or riding a bike with a pink basket attached to the front.

We see it as adults as well. Why does that brown-noser Smith who works in the end cubicle always get to go to the conventions, get the new company car or laptop, when we are just twenty feet up the aisle busting our butts just as hard as old Smith. The green-eyed monster has affected everyone at one time or another.

Now this may not be the clinical definition, but jealousy basically boils down to someone feeling bad because they either don't have what someone else does, or they don't feel equally acknowledged for their accomplishments. That's the nuts and bolts of it.

Generally speaking, we experience jealousy pretty much the same way most dogs do. With dogs however, it doesn't have so much to do with possessions as it does with position and confidence.

Now, I want to make something clear here. Every family has a slightly different pack dynamic. It depends on the number of people, their roles, the dogs and their personalities, breeds, sex, age and pack positioning. There are other factors, but these are the main ones. It is difficult, if not impossible, to address all the differences for every one's situation in a newsletter as a result. Therefore, I will throw out the basics to consider which, with a little common sense, should be able to help most folks.

The Dogs

First lets consider the dogs. It's pretty rare for a family or individual to go out and acquire more than one dog at a time. Usually, we have one and are getting a buddy for the existing dog to play with, or, we are getting another dog to fill the void of a beloved dog that has passed. Of course there is nothing wrong with this, but it is important to remember there are a few things to consider before bringing a new dog into a family where there is an existing dog.

First, we have to remember there will need to be a new pack order established among the “dog” portion of the family pack. In most cases, it is important for existing dogs to have a higher pack position than that of new dogs. After all, they have been in the pack longer and have earned that right.

Unfortunately, what most people do is baby the new dog that comes in, and treat it as though it were equal to the dog that has been there all along. This can cause confusion in both the dogs because it is contrary to what they know to be instinctually correct. It places both dogs in immediate “competition” for a pack position when there should be none.

They may compete in several different ways. Disputes over food, toys and beds are common. They may banter for position when one dog or the other is receiving affection from their families. All of these are pretty easy to prevent with a little preplanning.

The existing dog needs to remain Alpha over the newcomer. (This may be changed at a later date by the dogs, but that's a totally different article.) They should be fed, walked, petted, and acknowledged first at all times. This is instinctually correct, proper pack protocol, and the dogs will know it. This alone can often eliminate the chances of jealousy.


If you were to ask most trainers or vets what dog you should get if you already have a female, nine times out of ten, they will tell you a male. While this is basically okay advice, we must remember gender really is only a small part of the equation. I have seen numerous male dogs that get along much better with other males than females and likewise with females. Use this “rule” as a part of the equation, but don't consider hard fast.


Dogs seem to have held on to the “respect your elders” philosophy better than we humans. As a result, an older existing dog is probably going to do far better with a young adult newcomer than they are with a puppy. Let's face it, as we get older, we would prefer to have a nice conversation to having some youngster jump all over us. Dogs are no different. On the flip side, a young mature dog will do better with a puppy than a dog in their geriatric years.


Personality is the single most important thing to consider when bringing a new dog into our home and avoiding the jealousy issue. If you already have a laid back dog, then you want to get another laid back dog. If you have a playful high-energy dog, you want to find the same when looking for a new dog. It's like matchmaking for a friend. You wouldn't set someone who loves opera up with someone else that loves hard rock and roll. You want to find dogs whose personalities are complimentary.


I am often somewhat amazed when people get a new dog for their home but never allow the new dog and existing one to meet before making their final decision. To me, this is like lighting the barbeque grill with your face over the coals. You could very well find yourself without eyebrows.

Allow the dogs to meet on neutral territory to determine if they are compatible before you make a final decision on a new dog. This allows the dogs to “meet and greet” while also allowing you to observe their behavior and comfort level with each other.

Special Time/Insecurity

Normally, when one dog is trying to hoard in on another dog when receiving affection, it's due to insecurity. Now when I tell people this, they often say, “My dogs not insecure. They do obedience, the obstacle course etc.” We can't confuse confidence with insecurity. I have a friend who is an extremely confident and successful businessman but is a basket case when it comes to his personal life.

If it is the existing dog exhibiting the behavior, you need to reestablish their place as the Alpha dog. This can be done as I mentioned above. If it is the new dog, you have to do the same and make sure they understand they are below the other dog.

Either way, if you have a dog mooching in on another dogs “affection time” you have to put a stop to it. Make them stop by placing them in a sit, stay position, remove them from the room or banish them if absolutely necessary. They need to understand you decide when affection is given and not them.

However, when taking this approach, you have to remember to give that dog their affection and maybe a little extra one at one special time, on your terms. This allows the dog to understand they don't make the decisions, you do.

Dogs need to know the boundaries and their position inside the pack. When they do, their insecurities and jealous will diminish and their behavior will subsequently fall into line. If you take your time, jealousy is preventable and/or easy to reverse.

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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Quote of the Week

When a man's dog turns against him it is time for a wife to pack her trunk and go home to mama.

~ Mark Twain ~

Mail Bag

Dear Chris.

Loved your articles on Designer Dogs and Dog Brokers.  What are designer dogs but a mix of other dogs?  Duh!  Maybe they should be called Evian dogs, like the water.  Remember, Evian spelle backwards, is naive.

B. Bowes


Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your time and your incredible depth of experience and knowledge that you shared with me, your help has meant a great deal to me. Many thanks for being so open and honest in your communications. I am a friend and fan.

Best regards,


Akita Inu
Akita Inu

The Akita Inu is also known as The Great Japanese Dog, Japanese Akita and just plain old Akita. It is the national dog of Japan and is designated a National Monument there. They originated and are native to the island of Honshu in the Akita region of Japan.

The Akita is a symbol of health and vitality to the people of Japan. Often statues of the dog are sent to the ill or parents of newborn because of this. Statues have also been found in ancient tombs and it is believed they were placed there to give the deceased the strength to make an easy transition into the after life. It has been reported that Helen Keller brought the first Akita to the US and also that many were brought back by American soldiers after World War II.

The Akita is in the Japanese Spitz family and is the largest of this type. They are a strong, well-proportioned and solid animal. Their unique looks are rarely confused with another breed by someone who has ever seen one.

Akitas are strong and muscular with a flat, heavy head and strong, short muzzle. There should be a shallow “valley” through the center of their forehead. The Akita is slightly longer than he is tall with a broad, deep chest and level back. The teeth should meet in a scissor bite and their small, erect ears are carried forward and in line with the neck.

Their small eyes are triangular or almond shaped and dark brown. The nose is generally black. (Brown is permitted on white Akitas, but black is preferred) the lips are black and the tongue is pink. The tail is carried high and curled over the back. Coat colors are pure white, red, sesame and brindle. The colors should be without clear borders. A black mask is forbidden according to standard.

The Akita ranges in height from 25-28 inches at the withers (62-71 cm.) and weighs from 75-110 pounds. (34-50 kg.) They are relatively healthy but do have some issues that need to be explored.

They are prone to hip dysplasia like many large breed dogs. They also are prone to hyperthyroid and autoimmune thyroiditis. They can develop skin problems like SA. They can also develop knee problems, however this is preventable. Many responsible breeders are working diligently to remove these defects from the breed. They have a life expectancy of 10-13 years of age.

The Akita is a fairly docile animal but this should not be confused with the being timid. They are extremely affectionate with their family, intelligent and courageous and will do well with well-mannered children, preferably over the age of ten years old. They can be stubborn and require consistent, firm training from the time they leave their mother. They are faithful and thrive on pack companionship.

They can be animal aggressive so they need regular and consistent socialization with other animals and people from the time they leave their mothers. This is extremely important due to their protective nature and should be a consideration when anyone is considering this breed. If you don't have the time to train and socialize this breed, then this is not the dog for you.

Obedience training requires patience, as these dogs tend to get bored quickly. Of the ones I have worked with and known, they do far better with praise as a reward than they do for food. Any agility training should wait until the dog is at least two years old to prevent hip and knee problems from developing.

The Akita will do okay in an apartment but really needs to be exercised consistently. A large yard will allow them to work off excess energy but should have a fairly high fence to prevent them from jumping the fence and running off. A good thirty-minute walk a day should keep them in fine shape.

The coarse, stiff, short-haired coat needs significant grooming. Brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when absolutely necessary as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. This breed sheds heavily twice a year. A healthy diet is important to help prevent skin conditions and allergies. The double coat is composed of a harsh, waterproof outer coat insulated with a thick, soft undercoat.

The Akita is a wonderful dog for almost any purpose provided you are ready to put in the time this dog requires, particularly when they are young. Take your time when researching a breeder for this breed to ensure they are high quality. This will lessen the chances of getting a dog that suffers from any type of genetic defect. Their dignified manner and love for their family make them a great choice for almost anyone.

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Joke of the Week

Observant Job Applicants

Steve was in a terrible accident at work. He fell through a floor tile and ripped off both of his ears. Since he was permanently disfigured, he settled with the company for a rather large sum of money and went on his way.

One day, Steve decided to invest his money in a small, but growing telecom business. And, after weeks of negotiations, he bought the company outright. But after signing on the dotted line, he realized that he knew nothing about running such a business and quickly set out to hire someone who could do that for him.

The next day he had set up three interviews. The first guy was great. He knew everything he needed to and was very interesting. But at the end of the interview, Steve asked him, "Do you notice anything different about me?" And the gentleman answered, "Why yes, I couldn't help but notice you have no ears." Steve got very angry and threw him out.

The second interview was with a woman, and she was even better than the first guy. But he asked her the same question, Do you notice anything different about me? And she replied: "Well, you have no ears." Steve again was upset and tossed her out.

The third and last interview was the best of all three. It was with a very young man who was fresh out of college. He was smart. He was handsome. And he seemed to be a better businessman than the first two put together. Steve was anxious, but went ahead and asked the young man the same question: "Do you notice anything different about me?" And to his surprise, the young man answered: Yes. You wear contact lenses."

Steve was shocked, and said, "What an incredibly observant young man. How in the world did you know that?" The young man fell off his chair laughing hysterically and replied, "Well, it's pretty hard to wear glasses with no darn ears!"

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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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