Christopher Aust, Master Trainer
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Busy, busy, busy. That is the only way I can describe this week. I thought working online was supposed to be easy and make you rich quick. ;-)
This week, I am starting a short series of articles on barking. As I am sure many of you remember, I wrote an article a few weeks back about surgically debarking Shelties. My position was it was unnecessary and shouldn't be done. As a result, I received several angry letters from Sheltie owners who were advocates for debarking who denied the Shelties barking behavior could be trained out of the dog.
What these folks didn't know is I had been working with a Sheltie rescue since the beginning of the year. At the time I wrote the article, we had successfully proven Shelties could be trained not to bark excessively. Out of nine dogs used in the trial, nine were retrained successfully.
I have placed a link below for anyone who would like to donate to the foundation. I am also extending an offer to all members of B 'n' S. If you make a donation of $125 by Monday, May 31st, I will give you one month of telephone coaching sessions. Not only will you be giving to a foundation dedicated to the health, welfare and rescue of dogs, but, you will be getting one heck of a deal considering the coaching is normally $180.
Of course donations, regardless of the amount, are appreciated. We are hoping to raise $5,000 by the date mentioned above. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
I'm outta here!
Dog Chewing the Sofa? Puppy Eating Your Shoes? Or WORSE?
This doesn't mean some of the things dogs do don't grate on my nerves. The obsessive butt licker is rather annoying. Leg humping I find less than graceful as well. I guess we all have little things we don't like that don't seem to bother other people. At the same time, I love doggie kisses, which absolutely grosses out some people.
Excessive barking definitely gets on my nerves. I think we have all, at one time or another, been around a dog that just wouldn't shut up. It's annoying and disrespectful to neighbors. Fortunately, it is not only a correctable behavior, it is one that can be avoided, regardless of a dogs breed. It is a learned behavior and not an instinctual trait.
Some breeds bark more than others. No denying that fact. I owned, raised and rescued Bassett Hounds for many years. At the time, I lived right next to my neighbor. I wasn't out in the country, I was right in the middle of suburbia. There were times I had as many as twelve dogs at the house of all ages and dispositions.
Now for those of you who know anything about Bassett Hounds, I don't have to tell you they love to bay, howl and bark. Truth be known, I think all breeds love to bark and raise a little cain now and then. Let's face it, we humans like to raise a little heck now and then ourselves, so we can't fault them for that.
Now, when you have that many dogs and live in the city, you don't want to go and tick off the neighbors. You have to ensure your dogs are good citizens. Let me assure you, a great way to anger the neighbors is to have a noisy dog. Next thing you know, you have formal complaints filed against you with the city. Not cool.
Both of my pet Bassetts were rescued. When I decided to start rescuing Bassetts myself, the woman I got mine from warned me about the “noise factor” of having several at my house at once. Since mine were big barkers when I got them, but had stopped the behavior since being with me, I didn't give it a lot of thought. I had never really given excessive barking much thought, as it had never been an issue for me.
As I started to rescue hounds at the house, I began to see what she was talking about. Many of these dogs were barkers and I had to worry about bothering the neighbors. I sure as heck didn't want to have to stop rescuing, but couldn't be a menace to my neighbors, either. I either had to find a solution, or find homes for these dogs fast and quit rescuing them.
I poured over my notes of all the dogs I had trained or worked with whether they were professional working dogs or family pets. I started to see some rather specific trends. The dogs, which barked the most were either in the working/hunting dog class or were small, dogs less than fifteen pounds.
At first, I couldn't figure out the correlation. So, I did what you all hear me say to do and did some research. At the time, I was the trainer for the Davis Monthan Police K-9 unit and a couple of other local law enforcement agencies, as well as training dogs for the public and the local humane society.
Of the police dogs I worked with I had Belgian Malinois,' Dutch Shepards, a couple of German Shepards and two Springer Spaniels. They were trained in everything from bite work, narcotic and explosive detection, tracking and area search. All were trained to the most advanced levels. With these dogs, I was able to review their entire training life by way of records that are required for police dogs.
With the little dogs, I didn't have nearly the data to work with, but it ended up being enough. Thank goodness I had developed the habit of keeping extensive notes on all the dogs I have trained. It was enough to get to the root.
Next I had my wild dog studies. They too were extremely helpful in getting me to the final answer I was seeking on this issue. In fact, they were what made it clear to me that barking behavior is not an instinctual behavior, but a learned one that could be modified.
I am going to take a quick break in the action here as I have written several paragraphs but haven't told you a darn thing about how to stop the behavior. I have done this so you can see the process I use and apply it to other problems you may have. The way I figure out how to fix a problem behavior is the sam,e even if the behavior isn't the same. If you understand the why, then the how tends to make more sense. Hang with me here.
In wild dog packs, vocalization is used only when necessary. They use nonverbal, or “quiet” verbal communication when necessary. In fact, when pups in wild dog packs become overly vocal, the sentries of the pack will go off and stand guard to watch for predators that might be enticed by the puppies' noise. You will rarely see a “loud talker” in a wild dog pack.
After going over everything I have, speaking to other behaviorists and applying a little common sense, I came to the following conclusion. Since all dog breeds originated from one species, their instincts are the same. The idea that certain breeds exhibit behaviors that can't be modified, or is natural to the breed, is like stereotyping nationalities.
After I went through all of this, I put together a plan. I have used this exact plan on dogs from all categories and breeds, and it has worked. I have modified it minimally based on the individual dogs personality, but it is basically the same. Again, understanding the reason is key.
Instinctually, dogs bark to sound the alarm, send out warnings and alert the pack. They don't bark to express affection, impress a potential mate or ward off a predator or adversary. They use other sounds and postures for that. So why do domestic dogs bark excessively? We taught them too.
I know I didn't teach my kids to scream but on occasion they do it. Heck, there are times I want to go outside and just scream at the top of my lungs due to frustration. It feels good sometimes when things aren't going well for us. When humans do it, it's venting. When dogs do it, it's annoying.
Nearly all barking behavior in dogs is the result of frustration. This frustration can come from a number of things, but the root cause is frustration. Their diet may not be right, they may be under exercised or their owner may be projecting fear into the dog. The trick is too figure out the root. Once you know the root, the solution is easy.
Next week we will work through the steps for the majority of the reasons dogs bark excessively. Until then, look at your dogs and figure out their pattern of barking. When do they bark and what is going on during the barking? Take notes and be prepared. Your notes will be the key.
Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we
come back from the grocery store with the most amazing haul ...
chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we are the greatest
hunters on earth!
Here's a story about a dog that really lives up to his name. Hero, a four-year-old Golden Retriever, has been credited with saving the life of a wheelchair bound man who became stuck in a muddy field and was unable to move.
Gareth Jones of Caldicot, UK became stuck in the mud of an isolated field, far away from any human assistance. Jones has been confined to a wheelchair after a car accident in 1995. The parapalegic and former soldier had learned to rely on his trusted service dog and best friend, with whom he shares an extraordinary bond.
When Jones realized he was stuck, he threw the end of a piece of rope he had found earlier to Hero. Hero, sensing his owners' predicament, grabbed the end of the rope and pulled Jones to safety. “He didn't let go until I was clear. He knew exactly what he was doing.”
Hero is his owner's service dog, trained to perform over one hundred different tasks from the mundane to the essential. Acting as a towing service though is not one of them. “I must admit,” said Jones, “I was very, very proud of Hero, and I must admit I got quite emotional.”
It was just before dawn in Binghamton, New York and the Woolfolk family was fast asleep. Suddenly, their dog, Zoey, who they adopted from an animal rescue group a few months earlier, began to bark, awaking her owners. They quickly discovered the house was on fire.
As the family's mother was getting the kids together to escape the house, Zoey hopped into action. Zoey headed to the bedroom of a daughter who is unable to walk. The little girl hooked her hands in the dogs collar, and Zoey pulled the child down the stairs and outside to safety.
“We were amazed,” says Barbara Woolfolk. “She hasn't been trained but sure seemed to know what to do in a pinch.”
They also serve to remind me of the reason I do what I do when
I am frustrated or unmotivated. They provide us comfort, love,
companionship and, as in these two cases, risk their lives for
us. All for a pat on the head, a doggie treat and a little
kibble. It proves that having dogs as man's best friend, is
truly the best deal humans have ever made.
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Electrolux, a Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer, used this ad in the U.S.: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
Colgate introduced a toothpaste called "Cue" in France, but it turned out to be the same name as a well-known porno magazine.
When Braniff translated a slogan touting its upholstery, "Fly in leather," it came out in Spanish as "Fly naked."
Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea."
Chicken magnate Frank Perdue's line, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," sounds much more interesting in Spanish: "It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate."
Bacardi concocted a fruity drink with the name "Pavian" to suggest French chic...but "pavian" means "baboon" in German.
A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that mist is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.
When Kentucky Fried Chicken entered the Chinese market, to their horror they discovered that their slogan "finger lickin' good" came out as "Eat your fingers off."
When Vicks first introduced its cough drops on the German market, they were chagrined to learn that the German pronunciation of "v" is f - which in German is the guttural equivalent of "sexual penetration."
Parker Pens translated the slogan for its ink, "Avoid Embarrassment - Use Quink" into Spanish as "Evite Embarazos - Use Quink"...which also means, "Avoid Pregnancy - Use Quink."
When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life" pretty literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave."
In Italy, a campaign for "Schweppes Tonic Water" translated the name into the much less thirst quenching "Schweppes Toilet Water."
Chinese translation proved difficult for Coke, which took two tries to get it right. They first tried Ke-kou-ke-la because when pronounced it sounded roughly like Coca-Cola. It wasn't until after thousands of signs had been printed that they discovered that the phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax," depending on the dialect. Second time around things worked out much better. After researching 40,000 Chinese characters, Coke came up with "ko-kou-ko-le" which translates roughly to the much more appropriate "happiness in the mouth."
Not to be outdone, Puffs tissues tried later to introduce its product, only to learn that "Puff" in German is a colloquial term for a whorehouse. The English weren't too fond of the name either, as it's a highly derogatory term for a non-heterosexual.
The Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish speaking countries. "No va" means "it doesn't go" in Spanish.
Ford introduced the Pinto in Brazil. After watching sales go nowhere, the company learned that "Pinto" is Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals." Ford pried the nameplates off all of the cars and substituted them with "Corcel" which means horse.
When Gerber first started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as here in the USA - with the cute baby on the label. Later they found out that in Africa companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside since most people can't read.
In the French part of Canada, Hunt-Wesson introduced its "Big John" products as "Gros Jos." They later found out that the phrase is slang for "big breasts."
Thank You For Reading! Have a Terrific Week!
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the BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter to:
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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/
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