"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 3:  January 23, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  A Time to Say Goodbye
=>  Rescue Dog
=>  Breed of the Week - Australian Cattle Dog
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Symptoms at the Vet's Office

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Folks!

Has anybody else been sick? I've been sick as a dog, (did I really just say that?) for about the last week now. I was just telling a buddy about two weeks ago that I haven't been sick in over a year. I guess that's what I get for opening my trap! Took some meds last weekend that made me a blithering idiot, so I've opted just to tough it out with the OJ and vitamins.

I received an email this week from one of our readers about something she saw on another web site. She was looking for in-home training when she found it. When I first saw it I thought she was joking, but apparently not. At first, I was going to write an article about it, but we recently did the whole selecting a trainer article and this particular issue I think I can clear quickly.

The site featured a page (I haven't seen it, just a copy of the text) that listed the difficult breeds to train. Next to the name of the breed was a mark, which indicated if the breed isn't trained it could become aggressive. The rest of the page seemed to be geared toward scaring people into hiring this trainer if your dog was on the list.

First of all, all dogs can BECOME aggressive. Inappropriate raising and training can actually cause a dog to become aggressive and, in fact, is one of the leading reasons many dogs do become aggressive. Some breeds have a stronger protective drive, but that's a completely different monkey than aggressiveness. Trainers who don't know the difference need their leash privileges revoked.

Second: no breed is more difficult to train than any other. Some dogs, not breeds, dogs, require different techniques and a little more study based on their environment, but it is not breed specific. This line of thought is dangerous, and you should seriously consider before going to those who market their training by way of fear. It doesn't matter if it's fear of aggression or fear you won't be able to train them yourself because of their breed.

Finally, just like the reader, trust your instincts. She knew it sounded wrong so she checked. Do your research, and ask a lot of questions. In this particular case, it makes me wonder if this trainer uses fear when training the dogs. Maybe this is why this trainer find so many breeds dangerous. Just my two cents worth.

Have a great week everyone and, as always, keep the letters and comments coming. They are greatly appreciated.



P.S. Could you do me a favor? If you have a chance, and like the master-dog-training.com web site, would you please stop by Alexa and write up a short review for the site and newsletter. Thanks!


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Hello Christopher,

I know you have seen the posts recently about "how to deal with losing your dog" but I seem to be having a real problem with this. Here's how it goes.

I have had only two dogs in my life. One, when I was very young, and another named Sasquach. He was a massive black lab with enormous feet, thus the name. He went everywhere with me, even to work, and was my very best friend. He saw me through a divorce, the loss of my parents, two jobs and everyday life. He seemed to know what I needed and when to give it too me.

He didn't sleep in my bed, but we went to our own beds at the same time. We had our meals together and I even took him car shopping with me. Needed to make sure he would fit! lol He just seemed to know everything!!

Now he is gone after a long battle with cancer. He lived a wonderfully full life and, even at the end, never seemed to act like he wanted me to worry. He was always a trooper who was more interested in how I was, than the pain he must have been feeling. He was so considerate and loving. (Can you tell he was my everything?)

What I now worry about was did I wait too long, because of my own feelings, to have him put down. I also find myself wanting another giant Lab like him to take his place. Am I setting myself up for disappointment? What do you think?

Name withheld

A Time to Say Goodbye

I was very fortunate to be able to take one of my police K-9s home when he was retired. He was a classical German Shepard named Sandy. He was born in Dundee, Scotland and sold to the RAF as a police dog. He started his service when I was a mere ten years old. He was as steady a dog as you could ever see. Ran the obstacle course like an Olympian. Would take down an intruder like a champ, and God help you if you ever put a hand on me.

At the same time, he was a lover. I never worried about him around my kids and I could take him to any school to do dog demonstrations, and never worry about him biting a student even though he had just bit an "intruder" in the demonstration. He would sit there and be tolerant of the petting, hair pulling and all the other stuff kids do to dogs. He just didn't care ... unless I told him too. At the end of the day though, you could tell he was tired and ready for bed.

At nearly twelve years old, he was retired as the rigors of police work had become too much. He had developed arthritis from an injury when he was young and could no longer run fast or do the obstacle course without the risk of injury. I was going to give him the splendid retirement this wonderful dog deserved though. He liked my dog, another German Shepard, and I knew he would be fine. He would finally be able to just relax.

I guess it was less than two months later when I saw a problem. He wasn't happy. Keep in mind, this dog knew nothing other than being a working kenneled police dog his entire life. All his pleasure derived from this. He knew nothing else. I figured, as did the vet, he was going through an adjustment period and would come around soon enough.

He didn't like his walks as much as he was only walking, not patrolling. He didn't enjoy barking at the door anymore as a knock meant a friend, not intruder. He missed his obstacle course and doing retrieve exercises. He missed competing. He missed his life.

At nine weeks in the house, I came downstairs and saw him asleep on his blanket in front of the radiator. He didn't look right, but I let it go until morning. I didn't try to wake him or anything else. I just figured, "He's okay."

The next morning, when he woke up, he was disoriented and unable to stand up. I took him to the vet and they determined he had had a stroke. They said it wouldn't kill him and he might be able to walk around in time, but even that was a long shot. She told me I should consider putting him down and was patient as I grilled her about treatment options.

I had to walk out of the exam room as I thought I would just lose it. This was my partner. He would have given his life for me, no questions asked. How could I take his life from him without trying everything? I felt like I was letting him down. Violating the trust. I went back in the exam room determined to do whatever it took to save him.

When I walked back in he was whimpering, but stopped once he knew I was back. I know he knew I was in pain, and I realized at that moment he wasn't whining because of his own condition, he was crying because I was in pain, and there was nothing he could do about it. That's when I knew what I had to do for this selfless, beautiful creature.

I laid down next to him, rubbed his head and told him how much I loved him. The vet did her thing and just before Sandy passed, he licked my nose. I stayed with him for some time, just to make sure he got off on his journey okay.

I had him cremated, as burial just didn't seem appropriate for him. I spread his ashes across the parade grounds at RAF Newton in Nottingham, England, the home of the Royal Air Force's dog school.

It is never easy to have to say goodbye to our dogs. I'm also not going to tell you what to do when it comes to making such an emotional and personal decision. I can only tell you what I would do, and leave it at that.

When I finally decided to let Sandy go, it was because the vet was pretty clear there was little in the way of treatment that could be done for him, and, chances were, he would have a poor quality of life. He had had a full and active life and had already been showing signs that inactivity was affecting him.

Additionally, we would never have known whether he was, or the extent to which, he would be suffering. For an animal who had served so faithfully, I felt it would have been an injustice to keep him around simply because I didn't want to let go.

If the veterinarian is sure there's nothing they can do to return a dog to a point where they can have a fulfilling and pain free life, I feel as though making the decision to say goodbye is my obligation to the dog. I know I wouldn't want to be in that position, so the least I can do is return some of the many favors my dog has given to me and say goodbye.

I also wouldn't go out and try to find a carbon copy of a dog that has passed. If I ever went out to get a new German Shepard, I would never try to find another Sandy. There was only ONE Sandy. He was a unique dog and that is that. All I can do is raise any dog I have to be a good dog, and if he ends up like Sandy, well that's great. If I am looking for his "twin" I'm likely to be disappointed.

When we spread Sandy's ashes, we did it right. Many friends and other K-9s attended. Not much different than any other burial ceremony. We celebrated his wonderful life and joked about his quirks. I still have his picture framed and up after all these years and many dogs. After all, saying goodbye doesn't mean we have to forget as well.

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
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I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.

~ Rita Rudner ~



Blea is an 8-year-old spayed, red Australian Cattle Dog. She is heartworm negative, has been started on prevention, wormed and vaccinated. She is crate trained and housebroken. She tolerates other dogs at the rescue organization, but would do best in a single dog home. She has been exposed to cats, but if she can get them to run from her, she is in hot pursuit.

There is no adoption fee, but I ask that you consider a donation. She will come with a collar, leash, the next month's heartworm pill and a dose of Frontline, as well as a small bag of her food. She has lost an astronomical amount of weight while with her rescuer and is looking great. I am in central Ohio, about 40 minutes from Columbus. I can arrange transport or she could be shipped via air, weather permitting, with new family covering her airfare.

If you are interested in adopting Blea, know someone who might be, or can be of assistance to the Welsh Hills Animal Rescue the contact information is below. Lets help this wonderful pooch find a new loving home.

Amy Hankinson, RVT
Welsh Hills Animal Rescue


Australian Cattle Dog

If I were to describe the Australian Cattle Dog into human groups, I think I would call this breed a cross between a jock and the President of the chess club. With incredible stamina, working drive, intelligence and athletic ability, this dog is all business when it is on the job. Originally developed in the nineteenth century primarily a mix of smooth, blue speckled Collie imports from Scotland and wild Australian Dingoes. Australian Kelpie, Dalmatian, and Bull Terrier were also added.

The breed was developed to assist settlers with cattle herding as the breeds that had been brought from Europe didn't have the stamina of body design to cope with the sometimes, inhospitable climate of some regions of the continent. The breed is very muscular, sturdy yet incredibly agile at the same time.

The body is a bit longer than high with a slightly curved tail reaching approximately to the hock. The front legs should be perfectly straight when viewed from the front. The head is broad and slightly rounded between the widely set, moderately pointed pricked ears. The oval eyes are dark brown. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The weather-resistant double coat consists of a short dense undercoat and a short straight outer coat.

It comes in blue or red speckled. The blue speckled is with or without black, blue or tan markings on the head with tan points. Black markings on the body are not desirable. The red speckle variety should be evenly speckled all over, but may have darker markings on the head.

The short-haired, weather-resistant coat needs little care and is very easy to groom. Just comb and brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary. This breed tends to shed their coats once or twice per year depending on sex and climate conditions.

This is a herding and working dog in the truest sense. They excel at herding, possibly one of the best herding dogs in the world, and also make fantastic watch dogs, competitive obedience and agility competitors. As a result, they are not recommended for apartment life and will do best with a large yard as a minimum.

With that in mind, one thing to remember when considering the breed is they will need extensive exercise and if possible, a job to do. If they become bored, they can become destructive, capable of making short work of a manicured lawn. If you are the sedentary type, this breed is not for you. However, if you provide them with firm consistent training and attention when they're young, they will adapt well to family life.

Not good with children except for family members the dog has known since puppy-hood. Some tend to nip at peoples' heels in an attempt to herd them. If you are buying a pet, avoid strictly working lines, as these dogs may be too active and intense for home life.  Puppies are born white, but the adult color can be seen in the paw pads.

The Australian Cattle dog ranges in height from 17 to 21 inches and height (43-52 cm.) and range in weight from 31 to 36 lbs. (14-17 kg.) They have a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years of age. They have few genetic issues, however they are prone to hip dysplasia and deafness, the deafness a result of the cross with the Dalmatian.

The Australian Cattle Dog was bred for a purpose. The result was an excellent herding dog, with few equals, who worked the stock quietly yet forcefully, willing and able to drive cattle across vast distances under harsh, hot dusty conditions. Both its guarding and herding instincts are very strong and may extend to people and other animals.

Robert Kaleski developed a standard for the breed, which was finally approved in Australia in 1903. The Australian Cattle Dog was fully recognized by the AKC in 1980. The Australian Cattle Dog has also been known as the Australian Heeler, Hall's Heeler, Queensland Heeler or Blue Heeler. "Heeler" refers to its herding skill of snapping and biting cattle's heels. Its talents are retrieving, herding, guarding, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.

This dog can be a good family dog providing one is willing to put in the time to keep them happy and they have a purpose that is well defined in the mind of the dog. They will do wonderfully as a property dog, and I think this is what they need to keep them in high spirits and content.

Breed requested by Kent McCaslin

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.


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Symptoms at the Vet's Office

An 86-year-old man walked into a crowded veterinarians office. As he approached the desk, the receptionist said, "Yes sir, what is your dog seeing the doctor for today?"

"There's something wrong with his tallywhacker," he replied.

The receptionist became irritated and said, "You shouldn't come into a crowded office and say things like that."

"Why not? You asked me what was wrong and I told you," he said.

The receptionist replied, "You've obviously caused some embarrassment in this room full of people. You should have said there is something wrong with his ear or something and then discussed the problem further with the doctor in private."

The man walked out, waited several minutes and then re-entered. The receptionist smiled smugly and asked, "Yes?"

"There's something wrong with my dog's ear," he stated.

The receptionist nodded approvingly and smiled, knowing he had taken her advice.

"And what is wrong with ear, Sir?"

"He can't pee out of it," the man replied.

* 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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