Christopher Aust, Master Trainer
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Well, I think I am at the tail end of this cold except I still haven't been able to get back on my normal sleep pattern. I have been sleeping when I should be up, and up when I should be sleeping. Starting to drive me nuts!
I'm sure many of you have heard about Bella the dog here in northern California. If you haven't let me give you a quick recap ...
Bella was adopted out to a lady after the waiting period required by the shelter. A couple of hours later, Bella's owner appeared at the shelter looking for Bella. The shelter allowed Bella's owner to call the “adoptive parents” and ask to return the dog. They even offered to buy the adoptive parent a pure bred puppy of the same breed as compensation.
The adoptive parent declined, and, under the law, she had no obligation to return the dog. The original owner then started a publicity campaign, which since I live in the area, was rammed down everyone's throats. In the end, after dozens of anonymous hate messages were left with Bella's new family, they agreed to return the dog.
I can see both sides of this issue, and I'm not going to get into a debate about it but, had Bella's original family been responsible dog owners, the whole episode would never have occurred. No collar, no microchip, and just exactly how did this dog get out? If the dog is an escape artist, and the owner didn't take steps to make their home secure, then that is their own negligence. Beyond that, fence or no fence, perimeter training at home would have made the whole thing a non-issue.
Had I been the adoptive parent, I would have given the dog back. By all accounts, the original owner was a loving owner, and the dog was well cared for. I think the adoptive parent took the wrong approach, and I say "Three doggie farts for her!" At the same time, I heard no one addressing the issue of the original owners responsibility.
I know everyone was identifying with Bella's original owner and imagining how they would feel if Bella was theirs. I see no problem with this, but I wish more people had looked at the whole issue.
So, put the tags on your dog, as required in all fifty States and many countries around the world. Have your dog microchipped, and train them not to run off. God gave us this phenomenal animal and placed their care in our hands. We must be culpable for our actions as owners and do whatever it takes to ensure their safety. Just my two cents worth.
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Dog Chewing the Sofa? Puppy Eating Your Shoes? Or WORSE?
We have been experiencing a problem with our dog recently regarding his aggression. He has been formally trained and does well with his commands and basic obedience. The problem is he has become aggressive towards all the other family members when they come home, or, at least, for the first twenty minutes or so.
We have two children that the dog absolutely loves to play with, and he even becomes stand-offish with them when they first get home from school. He doesn't seem to mind if he wakes and everyone is home in the morning, only when they come home during the day. My husband is the Alpha and I am the Provider. The kids are his buddies and playmates. I do tend to let him get away with more than the rest and sneak him little treats now and then.
We have followed all the instructions of our trainer regarding the pack and our roles. We have also reinforced his training consistently. He has never been spanked and the worst he ever gets is a loud “halt” when he is doing something wrong. Why is our beloved dog turning into a demon?
In dog packs, everyone has their roles, and some hold more than one position. This is a normal and instinctual process that has served them well for thousands of years. There is a pack leader, commonly called the Alpha, however, he is not the only Alpha in the pack. He is the pack leader. There will also be a female who holds a leader position. Kind of like a king and queen.
Lets say I'm the youngest adult male in the pack and provide the sentry role, the lowest. Every other male that is older than me, and is also a sentry, is Alpha to me. As time goes on, I will work my way through the ranks and become Alpha over others through the process of natural selection or the inability of another sentry to perform his task.
Now lets say I have grown and moved to the hunter position. I am now Alpha to all the sentries but am at the bottom of the ladder as a hunter. Once again, through the process of natural selection, performance and/or another hunters' inability to perform their task, I will move up in my position within the hunters and take an Alpha role over others.
This process continues over the life of the dog and pack. Some dogs never progress past that of a sentry and are very happy with that provided they have all their instinctual needs met. Kind of like people, some are happy to sit in the mailroom and some want to be the President of the company. Nature seems to have provided a nice balance to the process and the pack thrives.
When you think about it, it's not much different than the corporate world. The ones that perform in a superior manner get recognition and move up through the ranks. Those that don't, stagnate in the same position. The difference with the dog pack is they all see their role as vital to the whole and don't necessarily worry about personal gain. I mean, hey, they don't have mortgages, car payments and credit cards to pay off. It's a group effort with everyone working for the whole rather than the individual.
Beyond that, in dog packs, it is not the high-ranking members that toss out an incorrigible out of the pack. It's the junior members that will take his position or banish him from the pack altogether. The only exception is if the junior members are unable to do so, then the pack leader will intercede. Then, the pack leader will allow the junior members of the pack to compete for the ostracized dog's position.
Pack status and position mean everything to a dog. If they are recognized for their role, and all the other pack members are doing their job, it's a cohesive environment where all can flourish and feel content with where they are. If there's a break in the cycle, it is dealt with swiftly and for the better good of the pack. No egos, just the good of the whole.
In the family pack, the dog must always remain at the bottom of the social ladder. They must follow the commands and rules, regardless of which human family member is giving them at the time. In order for this to happen, all family members must assume Alpha roles over the dog, even if the dog primarily belongs to one family member. There should not be any bending of the rules by one family member in the absence of another.
In the letter writer's case, she has taken on the role of the loving mom who allows certain behavior to occur even though it's generally against the house rules. This puts the dog in an equal or greater pack position with the writer, as the dog is able to set his own rules of appropriate behavior. As a result a “sub-pack” has formed where the dog is ruling over one of the humans in the family pack.
To the dog, they have just assumed a position of status they are not likely to want to relinquish. They have just taken over the position of a human. Their behavior toward other humans that are not in the dog's sub-pack will now be seen as challenging since the dog will instinctually believe he can then dominate other humans in the home. This will instinctively lead the majority of dogs to inappropriate behavior, excessive barking, growling and biting.
Next week we will discuss the common mistakes we make that allow the dog to assume a higher pack role and how to redirect our dogs' behavior if it has already occurred.
In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.
~ Edward Hoagland ~
BREED OF THE WEEK
The nose is most often black, but blue or liver still do sometimes occur, although is considered a fault cannot be shown. It has a sturdy, muscular, slightly elongated body with a light but solid bone structure. Its head should be in proportion to its body, and the forehead a little convex. It has a strong scissors bite, ears wide at the base, pointed, upright, and turned forward.
The eyes are almond-shaped, never protruding, dark, with a lively, intelligent expression. Its bushy tail reaches almost to its hocks and hangs down when the dog is at rest. Its front legs and shoulders are muscular, the thighs thick and sturdy. It has round feet with very hard soles. There are three varieties of the German Shephard: rough-coated, long rough-coated, and the long-haired.
They require obedience training from an early age as they can be a little strong headed when they are adults without it. They will do well with children in the home and ones they don't know who mind their manners. They are socially dependent on their family and enjoy close interaction with them whenever possible.
As a result of poor breeding practices, it's imperative that you do your research before purchasing this breed. Its popularity hit a peak in the 1940s, and, as a result, many profit-based breeders have produced many lines that are simply garbage. This isn't a daunting process, just a matter of checking references from the breeder and obtaining copies of veterinary records from the breeder. Any breeder who won't provide this information is being obstinate for a reason.
This is actually quite easy to do with the breed as they excel in numerous activities and sports. They are an excellent competitively in everything from tracking, obedience, agility, ring-sport and disk competitions.
As true working dogs, they are, in my humble opinion, the finest police and rescue breed around. During my years as a K-9 officer, I trained the Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepard, Golden Retriever and Chow. All of these breeds are good, but, over all, the GSD leaves them in the dust. They excel at protection, narcotic and explosive detection, scouting and guard and bark to name a few. If I were ever to go back into the field of law enforcement, a GSD is all I would work.
The GSD is not an appropriate breed for an apartment and will do best with at least a large yard. They can become bored if cooped up and will find ways to amuse themselves in your absence, usually with your household items. They require extensive exercise daily and should have ample toys to keep them occupied when they're alone, even if they are left in the yard.
Indiscriminate breeding has led to hereditary diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, (be sure both parents have had their hips certified at least OFA good) blood disorders, digestive problems, epilepsy, chronic eczema, inflammation of the cornea, dwarfism and flea allergies. Their life expectancy is twelve to fifteen years.
They are constant shedders but not excessively. A daily brushing won't make it an issue. Twice a year, they will generally have a major shed where they loose their undercoat and replace it in preparation for the spring and winter seasons. Bathe them if they stink but keep in mind some can be prone to dry skin so they should be watched for this and have either their diet regulated or supplements added to prevent this from being a concern.
Currently, only the short haired versions of the breed are recognized but the long haired variety is also a beautiful beast as well, and, probably, my favorite variety. I've found them extremely loving and laid back, but with all the drive of their short-haired brethren.
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.
But FART! Just ONE time ...
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Border Collie: Just one. And I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code.
Dachshund: I can't reach the stupid lamp.
Toy Poodle: I'll just blow in the Border Collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.
Rottweiler: Go Ahead! Make Me!
Shitzu: Puh-leeze, dahling. Let the servants ...
Lab: Oh! Me, Me!!! Pleeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Can I?
Malamute: Let the Border Collie do it. You can feed me while he's busy.
Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.
Doberman Pinscher: While it's dark, I'm going to sleep on the couch.
Mastiff: Mastiffs are NOT afraid of the dark.
Hound Dog: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...
Chihuahua: Yo quiero Taco Bulb.
Irish Wolfhound: Can somebody else do it? I've got a hangover.
Pointer: I see it! There it is! Right there!
Greyhound: It isn't moving. Who cares?
Australian Shepherd: Put all the bulbs in a little circle ...
Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? Light bulb? That thing I just ate was a light bulb? Arf!
Thank You For Reading! Have a Terrific Week!
Don't forget to send your comments, questions and suggestions on
the BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter to:
Newsletter Archive: Master-Dog-Training.com/archive/
Thank You For Reading! Have a Terrific Week!
Don't forget to send your comments, questions and suggestions on the BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter to:
Newsletter Archive: Master-Dog-Training.com/archive/
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:
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