"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume III - Issue 5:  February 4, 2005
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Working on the Chain Gang
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Blonde Entrepreneur

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Gang!

Last week, I mentioned how many of the Animal Rights groups are out there were working hard to lobby their agendas using public donations. Well, right on cue, HSUS sent out a statement in their HumaneLines newsletter, which echoed just what I said last week.

“The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals are taking animal advocacy to a whole new level.”

“Because The HSUS and The Fund are non-profit charities, we're limited in how much we can spend on lobbying activities. That's why our new lobbying arm is so important because as a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, it has no such restrictions on lobbying and can work exclusively on animal protection legislation. It will multiply our efforts to move lawmakers for the benefit of animals - and keep those who would exploit animals for fun and profit from dominating the ears of legislators.”

On the outside, this sounds good. In fact, I have always supported some of the positions and opinions as HSUS. What I don't agree with is what appears to me to be the hidden agenda. What is the hidden agenda? I think it lies in the legislation such organizations support. Here are a couple of examples.

State of Oklahoma HB1672

The majority of this bond is okay but hidden in there are a couple of really scary things. First, one of the things this bill allows is for members of “agent or officer of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or of any humane society duly incorporated for the purpose of the prevention of cruelty to animals” at least the way I read it, the authority to seize your animal if THEY determine the dog has been abused.

It also allows “agent or officer of said humane societies may take custody of the animal or of the vehicle and its contents, or deliver the animal or the vehicle and its contents into the possession of the police or sheriff of the county or place where such the arrest was made, who shall assume the custody thereof.”

Am I crazy or does this sound like a dream come true for members of PETA? They can become “cops” and basically make a “citizens arrests” based on their own ideology of abuse. Okay, what's the problem here? The “arresting party” is given immunity if the charges are determined to be unfounded at the financial expense of the accused.

What expense you ask? Under this Bill, the accused has to secure a bond to pay for the care of the animal while the issue is being investigated. If the “accused” is determined to be innocent, they lose what ever part of the bond the holding agencies decides is appropriate for the care of the animal while the issue is being resolved. This seems a little unfair to me. If I'm innocent, why should I have to pay?

Additionally, I believe police/animal control work needs to be conducted by the police or animal control officers and not members of an incorporated Animal Rights group. Police and animal control officers follow the law and AR personnel follow an agenda. There is a huge difference. Theoretically, if I read the Bill correctly, any whacko employed with an incorporated SPCA or humane organization can do what they want with no worry about being accountable for their actions. As a former law enforcement officer, this type of legislation scares the crap out of me.

Next, lets look at O.K HJR 1012 and HJR 13 Right to Hunt. HSUS opposes this bill because they say, “This type of constitutional amendment is unnecessary as hunting is already a legal activity.” Okay, so why are they spending donated money to oppose it if it is insignificant? Now this is again my opinion, but I think we have to look at the bigger picture and groups' agenda.

They oppose all hunting. If a Bill were passed saying that citizens have “The Right to Hunt,” you can bet your rear it will be hard to overturn later. Very few Americans, or any member of a democratic society are going to want to overturn a piece of legislation so named.

Finally, lets look at HB 1524, which is supported by HSUS. This Bill addresses deliberate harming, mistreating, or killing service dogs by expanding current law to include service animals instead of “just dogs.”

Now maybe I'm just a complete idiot, but if the law already says “any dog” why on Gods green Earth do we need to now include the words service dogs? Service dogs are dogs. Why would they want/support such a ridiculous Bill? Not to mention lobby for it.

I have my own opinion here. I believe they are doing so to endear the service dog community. They (the service dog community) will look at HSUS as champions of the service dog world and send their hard earned money into them. What many won't realize is that their service dogs, which are domesticated animals, fall into a category that the CEO of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, has said…

“We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.”

Now, if you want to see what I consider to be the sick minds of some of these AR groups, go and read this article.


If this doesn't make the mentality of these types of groups clear, I don't know what will. In fact, we need to remember these groups are the ones with the money to lobby our legislators. Is this who we want doing so? I don't think so. We have the power of our vote and need to let our legislator know we realize this. If you have a weak stomach, don't read this link.

This week, I am writing about chaining up your dog. It is one of the biggest mistakes a dog owner can make and I want everyone to know why. Additionally, I have offered my services to a lady connected with a group whose main focus is chained dogs. I want you all to explore their site, learn and contribute to them as you can, even if it is only an emotional one. They are doing great work and deserved to be recognized as a result. Their URL is


The Paws for Change calendar is still available and we have quite a few orders. If you haven't seen them yet, they are very high quality filled with pictures of rescued dogs that are just incredible. 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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Working on the Chain Gang

Recently, a good friend of mine contacted me about a dog that was in a rescue that seemed to be terrified of everything. She wets herself when people approach and appears to be terrified of men from what I have gathered. Her fear is so significant, she lies by the back door and will escape to the back yard at every opportunity. My understanding is this dog has spent a significant amount of their life chained up.

I haven't had the opportunity to work with this dog directly yet, but I can tell you now it's going to be a fairly long road to travel to bring this dog back to where it should be. While I am certain this dog can have her confidence restored, she will probably never be all that she could have. This is just one example of the hazards of chaining your dog.

Now, I am going to get this out of the way in the beginning and some people may not like it but oh well. There is no reasonable excuse for leaving a dog chained. I have heard all the excuses and none of them hold weight with me. If the dog escapes the yard or you don't have a fence, then you need to train the dog and secure it properly. If you don't trust the dog in the house alone, then train them to be reliable inside.

I openly admit I have tied a dog to a fence in a training area for a few minutes so I could work with another dog that was present. At no time have I left a dog tied and unattended and never for more than a couple of minutes. What I am talking about here is long term, unmonitored chaining.

When I was growing up, it was rather common to see dogs tied to trees or a stake in the ground in yards around the country. Often, it was for reasons mentioned above or simply because people didn't understand the enormous effect chaining can have on a dogs behavior. Fortunately, over the years, studies have shown just how big a mistake chaining a dog can be.

Dogs are Dogs

We have to remember what we are dealing with here. They're dogs, which are a social pack animal. They not only like to have interaction with their pack members, they require it. To deny them this interaction is cruel at best. It is evident in even domesticated strays. You will often see more than one together as they have managed to form their own pack with other strays.

Additionally, dogs' are a roaming animal. (This is why I laugh when people use the “den” theory when justifying crate training. The den theory is myth.) Dog packs will have a territory that can be as large as 100 miles that is often partially shared with other packs. The only time dog packs won't roam is when there are pups too small to travel.

With these two things in mind, I am betting you can already see the effect chaining a dog can have on their behavior. Beyond that, it leads to a vicious cycle that tends to have the dog spend more and more time on the chain.


For instance, lets say someone is chaining their dog because the dog is chewing things up in the house. We have to remember that nuisance chewing is generally the result of frustration in the dog. It could be the dog is frustrated because of dietary issues, social interaction issues or maybe a change in environment.

Now, if you chain the dog rather than address the core issue of the behavior, you are only compounding the issue. Not only is the dog still going to be frustrated but you have effectively banished the dog (instinctively the harshest punishment a dog experiences) for something that could very well be the owners fault.

In the case of chewing, I can assure you the dog isn't sitting outside going, “well, if I were more trustworthy, they wouldn't chain me up. I have to learn to control my urges and act as a responsible member of society.” What they are probably thinking is, “What the heck, this is making me nuts! I can't wait till they come home in 10 hours so I can chew the crap out of some shoes. That will help me feel better.”


Over the years, I have been bitten more than my fair share. More often than not, it is the little dogs however, the larger dogs that have bitten me (not counting police dogs) more often than not have been kept on chains for significant periods of time. There is a definitive reason for this.

When a dog is placed on a chain, they normally receive little and or no interaction with the rest of the family pack. This makes the radius of the chain their exclusive territory. They are the master of that area and begin to feel they have the right to dominate it completely. This is a very dangerous situation.

In a family pack, the dog should never feel they dominate anything. Not their bed, a chair, their crate. Nothing! If they do develop a feeling of dominance over one thing, they will look for something else to take from the human members of the pack to dominate. When this happens, it is only a matter of time before they bite someone.

Statistically, children who are victims of dog bites are more likely to be bit by the family pet. A large portion of these victims dogs have been chained and most of the time the dogs were on their chain when the incident occurred. As a parent myself, it's simply not worth the risk.


Fear, or a lack of confidence, is also a common result of training particularly in spayed females. It is the result of the isolation and lack of human interaction usually from a young age. In this situation, there is usually some abuse that has also gone along with it.

Dogs must have social interaction with other members of their pack. Ignoring them be a significant blow to the development of a dogs confidence level. It's kind of like being the new kid in a school who gets ignored by the rest of the students. Usually, the other kids come around and the new student is welcomed into one group or another. With dogs that are chained, they more than likely will never be welcomed in such a way that will be instinctually correct and meet their needs.

Then, when they are allowed to socialize with the rest of the family pack, they are a nervous wreck that doesn't know how to behave and meet the expectations of their family. Many will begin to wet themselves. Verbal corrections will tear them apart and they will usually begin to fear the dominant household figure.

They will cower when touched and very often attempt to escape the interaction with the rest of the family because they don't know what they are suppose to do. Eventually, they tend to move towards isolating themselves to avoid having to interact. They will often hide under beds or lay with their back against the wall or in a corner.

These dogs also pose a danger to small children as they will often revert to fear biting. Now, a fear bite is different than a dominance bite as a fear bite is generally a quick nip as opposed to an all out attack. It will often happen when the dog is extremely scared or they're getting more stimulus than they are capable of taking.

There is simply no excuse for chaining up a dog. When we make the decision to become a dog owner, we have to remember it is our responsibility to do what it takes to meet the physical and emotional needs of the animal. If that means putting up a fence, paying for professional training or rearranging your personal schedule, then so be it. If this is too much of a commitment for someone to undertake, then maybe they should consider a pet rock.

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
VISIT NOW: http://www.Master-Dog-Training.com

Quote of the Week

I used to look at my dog Smokey and think, "If you were a little smarter you could tell me what you were thinking," and he'd look at me like he was saying, "If you were a little smarter, I wouldn't have to.

~ Fred Jungclaus ~

Mail Bag

Chris, Thanks for doing the articles on HSUS! People really need to be aware of what this organization is.

Attached is a link to a USDA page that has proved very helpful to me in understanding the differences.

Wanda Brawner


Thanks Wanda. This gives a pretty good overview for other readers to understand the difference on a complicated, often muddled issue. ~C

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Joke of the Week

Blonde Entrepreneur

A blonde, wanting to earn some money, decided to hire herself out as a handy-woman, and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood.

She went to the front door of the first house, and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do. "Well, you can paint my porch," he said, "How much will you charge me?" The blonde, after looking about, responded, "How about $100?" The man agreed and told her that the paint and other materials that she might need were in the garage.

The man's wife, inside the house, heard the conversation and said to her husband, Does she realize that the porch goes all the way around the house? The man replied, "She should; she was standing on it. Do you think she's dumb?" His wife replied "No. I guess I'm just guilty of being influenced by all the 'dumb blonde' emails that I get."

A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.

You're finished already?" the husband asked. "Yes," the blonde replied, "and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats." Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $100.00 and handed it to her.

"And by the way," the blonde added, "it's not a Porch, it's a Lexus."

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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 © 2005 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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