"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume III - Issue 16:  May 20, 2005
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Tea Leaves and Crystal Balls
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  The Cowboy and the Yuppie

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Christopher's Drool

Hey Everybody,

First, I want to apologize for not responding to emails over the last week. I changed ISPs and have been unable to send out email. (also the reason there was no newsletter last week) We have gotten the problem resolved and I will get back with everyone as soon as I can.

Recently, I mentioned the on-line Dog Exposition on June 10-12 being sponsored by Co-Op World. There will be lots of fun competitions, presentations from leaders from every part of the animal community and vendors with the latest gear and trends in the dog world.

What is so cool about this is, first, it is on-line so you can visit at your leisure. Second, you will be able to talk directly to the presenters and company reps in most cases just as you would if you flew to a normal convention. It also appears there are going to be a number of freebies available for attendees offered by the organizers and some of the vendors.

Best of all, it's free! Now if you have ever attended a convention or exposition before, you know that this event being free is a huge deal. You could easily spend a couple of thousand dollars attending an event like this.

If you are in the pet care/training/supply industry, and are interested in being a vendor, please go to http://expo-order.com. They have several ways you can become a vendor regardless of your budget. You will also have the opportunity to be a speaker at the Expo.

If you are interested in attending the Expo as a spectator, and I highly suggest that you do, go to co-opworld.com/member/51750 and register with the community. I will be posting more information about the Expo and also some of the other benefits of this dog community soon.

Now I want to make something clear. I'm not making any money for telling you about this just like I take no payment when I recommend a product to you. I am letting you know because I think it's something you will all benefit from.

I have never hidden the way I feel about groups like PETA and HSUS. I personally believe their agendas are based on lining their pockets rather than doing what is best for animals, particularly domestic pets. Here is a link I found recently that many of you may find interesting. Doesn't PETA claim to be saving animals? Hmmm ...


Don't forget to go check out next Thursday's class at All God's Creatures. As many of you have found out, we have top of the line instructors giving you the latest information about caring for your furkids. If you haven't attended one of the classes yet, you are really missing out.

Additionally, all Bark n Scratch subscribers will be able to attend the classes for free so there are really very few excuses for not going in and checking them out. They last an hour and you will get imperative information from one of the best in the biz that could very well extend the life of your dog by years. To register, go to:


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

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



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(Original question repeated)


I was watching a show on the National Geographic Channel called (omitted) where a trainer called himself a dog whisperer. He spent a lot of time talking about how a dog needs to be centered and how he has the ability to instantly center a dog by just handling them. He used a lot of mystical type phrases and seemed a little guruish.

Is there really such a thing as a dog whisperer or is this just a gimmick?


Mike O.

Tea Leaves and Crystal Balls

I have been sitting on this letter for a few months now for a couple of reasons. First, I had never seen this show, nor had any experience with this trainer. I have heard his name from others but never really given him a lot of thought.

Then, at the beginning of last week, I had an opportunity to see this individual on a national talk show and about crapped my pants! As soon as the show was over I called a friend of mine and asked her if she had seen it or him before. Throughout our conversation, she told me there are dozens of people like this trainer out there with similar programs and “mystical” methods. Now being me, I hoped on the internet and started looking for them and made a point of visiting this particular trainer's site.

Now I'm not here to beat up him or anyone else although it may seem that way as you read this article. What I am trying to do is help some of you see through the bull and find a trainer who doesn't claim to be the second coming of St. Francis of Assisi and simply tells it as it is. It's my personal belief that people who make the claims similar to the ones I will mention are little more than frauds or profiteers.

Animal Communicators

Animal communicators are nothing new but there has been an increase in the number of people claiming to have this “gift” in the last twenty years or so. In fact, there are actually people out there who will teach you (for a fee of course) how to hold conversations with Fido.

Now, a few years ago, I read two books written by two different individuals who claimed to have the ability to “speak” with animals. Many of the things they were saying sounded pretty good initially until they started dictating actual statements supposedly made by the animals. These statements were so outrageous I couldn't believe these people actually wrote them without busting their gut with laughter.

Here is how it works with most Animal Communicators. Most I have found take telephone appointments with their clients. During this consultation, you are expected to tell the communicator what you know about your animal's behavior and medical/health issues from your perspective. They will then connect with your dog telepathically and tell you what the dog has to say about life and what you can do to make the animal happier and well behaved. All this in an appointment that lasts less than an hour.

Of all the animal communicator sites I have seen, I didn't find even one that offered any type of training or behavior modification program. Additionally, they all seem to work with all animals regardless of species. So, for your $50.00, you have just been told what you already knew or could probably figure out by yourself.

Then there is the multi-species aspect. Over the years, I have owned horses, cats, birds and rodents. I have trained most of them to one extent or another. What I do know is every species of animal is different. While I consider myself better than about 95% of the dog trainers out there, I would never offer behavioral advice for any other type of animal even if I were relatively confident I knew a solution. I personally feel to do so would be negligent and I value my integrity too much to risk it for fifty bucks.

Personally, I would love to be able to have a conversation with my dog. Think about it. I could come home from work and complain about the idiots on the road when I was driving home, and my dear dog could tell me how she chewed up my underwear and the number of times she resisted the urge to lick her butt! Wouldn't it be grand?

Now, I firmly believe in psychics. I don't think there is any doubt there are people who can communicate with other people with their minds. However, when it comes to animals, I'm just not buying it. Anyone could open up shop, call him or herself an animal communicator and take your money. They can tell you anything they want and you have no way of verifying what they say.

When I was venting to my friend, who is extremely active in the dog world, she told me she has known many people who have hired communicators and most didn't see any changes in their animal. In fact, most paid the communicator a number of times with no results and the communicator explaining it as though it was like therapy for a human. You have to keep going and paying for sessions.

I'm sorry, but until I find a dog that looks at me and says in perfect English, “That's what I was thinking,” I will always consider these people, in my opinion, to be little more than frauds.

Dog Whisperers

The Dog Whisperer phenomenon occurred after the release of the “Horse Whisperer” movie back in the '80s. It was a great movie based on a true story, however the individual it is based on has never claimed to speak with animals, only to have a good understanding and approach to the animal. In fact, the “title” of whisperer was not his creation.

A Dog Whisperer (DW) is commonly described as a person who has, or claims to have, a natural ability to relate to or connect with dogs. Additionally, most claim to train dogs in a manner that is positive and nonviolent. Most talk about dealing with the dog's “energy” and working with the dog on a spiritual level.

I reviewed the three most popular DW websites and viewed the video presentations they had and personally wasn't impressed. To me, they seemed to be average (or slightly above) trainers and nothing more. I also found certain aspects of each of their programs I knew to be contrary to a dog's natural instincts.

For instance, one of the DW admittedly uses a remote training device. (shock collar or audio collar which hurts the ears) When I first read this, I was at a loss for how this is a positive training method or connecting with the dog on a spiritual level.

Another DW recommends dealing with an aggressive dog by bringing in a bunch of other dogs and basically forcing the dog to deal with the situation. In my opinion, this is not only dangerous but will escalate the problem if not consistently monitored by a skilled behaviorist. Personally, even if I were the asked to monitor this method, I would refuse for the reason I mentioned. It's just too risky.

In my opinion, DW have simply taken common dog training terms and techniques, and given them “guruish” terms to make the DW appear to be enlightened or given some special gift from God. I guess I have to admit this is a pretty clever way to market yourself and charge more than you are truly worth.

What About Me?

I do believe I have a special connection with dogs and always have. Let me change that ... I believe I have always had a special love and dedication to dogs. I have had people call me a DW or say they are amazed at the way I “communicate” with dogs. Personally, I reject these titles.

I am a Master Trainer and Behavioral Expert. I have worked, studied, sweat and even bled over years to acquire what I know about dogs. I have also made it my goal to reach as many people as I can and give them the information they need to properly care for and raise their dogs in an easily understandable way.

It doesn't need to be difficult and I see no reason to make it so. I would rather say it as it is and move people and their dogs as simply and responsibly as possible. I feel it is the responsibility of every trainer to do it that way and stop all the hype. Dogs don't need gurus. They need trainers willing to make their lives better.

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

I wonder what goes through our dog's mind when he sees us peeing in his water bowl.

~ Penny Ward Mose ~

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Mail Bag

I want to thank you so much for all the great advice. We really appreciate it and best of all it is working! Buddy seems so much better. In fact, he got a triple whammy today with one of the workers with a long handled duster, Joel with a rake, and an elderly gentleman carrying a cooler and putting it in his car in the vicinity where we were walking. Boy did he want to go inside, but we stayed and he eventually did his duty.

Again, we appreciate all your help and hope all is well with you. BTW, what a fantastic series "My Baby's a Bully!" has been. Thanks for all the marvelous information you impart to us every week.


Hi Chris,

I remain one of your most ardent readers. But that joke does scare me. Just today we were talking about how our GSD, adopted barn cat and DYH Amazon parrot were so adept, at conspiracy, in hustling us at their demand towards the mealtime.  Considering the individual intelligence and functioning of such parties, you can imagine how they excel at being able to set each other off in chain reactions. Please, no diaries...tell me it isn't so.

I'm enjoying these articles on using ostracism and regaining favor within the pack.  The A B Cs of  antecedent, behavior and consequences.  I've been studying this also in a parrot behavior newsletter and it's much the same. I thought it might help to remind readers that, when in dire straights, with another dog launching itself at you and your companion, to quickly hold up your arm while widening the upper torso and loudly shouting 'NO'.

I've had lots of fools who suddenly want to take on my 100 pound beastie and this is all I've ever done.  The dog will stop dead and I then can quickly gather up my fool  - who'll be hopping around - and turn to walk off in the opposite direction, not letting Remus look back. And this is just a little ol' middle-aged lady doing this. :~) I suspect some folks and their dogs need to remember that 'no means no' and use applicably.

Thanks so much for your column as I've learnt and laughed from your writings.


Hi Chris,

Being a new recipient of your newsletter, this is my second issue, just wanted to say how much I enjoy and appreciate the info you send! Thanks again!!  I will look forward to each new issue!

Arlette B.

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Joke of the Week

The Cowboy and the Yuppie

A cowboy was herding his herd in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure. Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his AT&T cell phone and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored.

He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry, and after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi- tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says the cowboy. He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the cowboy says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a consultant." says the cowboy. "Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required," answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew; to a question I never asked; and you don't know anything about my business."

"Now give me back my DOG."

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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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