"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume III - Issue 18:  June 10, 2005
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Negligent Officers vs. Irresponsible Owners
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  It Makes You Wonder ...

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Christopher's Drool

Hey Everybody,

Busy, busy, busy. That's all I can say. I have been getting ready for an event I am going to be speaking at, as well as planning a camping trip for the family we will be taking at the end of the month. I'm really looking forward to the latter as I have really been needing some time to just relax.

This will be both my daughter and dog's first camping trip. I am betting it will be a lot of fun for both, though particularly my daughter who is an avid fisherman. In fact, she usually catches more fish than the rest of us whenever we go out. That doesn't bother me except she likes to use my good lures and I end up with few fish myself. It's a kindergarten conspiracy I tell you!

I have been mentioning 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 in 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.

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

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



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Negligent Officers vs. Irresponsible Owners

As I have mentioned in the past, I stand firmly against any type of Breed Specific Legislation. (BSL) Not only because I believe the problem isn't with the breed itself but also because it has been proven to be ineffective a number of times. I also don't approve of temperament testing for the very same reasons.

You have also heard me say there are no quick fixes in training or any of the major “dog issues” we are facing in the world today. Unfortunately, many of these issues are caused by actual dog lovers and owners, who make inappropriate decisions when it comes to their dogs.

While some may disagree, I believe these issues to be very much intertwined and that owner responsibility is the key to a solution. I agree that many officials are grossly misinformed and in need of education, but, the problem really does lie with us. We must accept the fact we as a society are culpable for pet over-population and the number of dog bites that occur each year.

With all this said, I guess I should get to the point of this week's article ...

I was recently reading a post on one of the dog forums where I am a member. The writer was extremely upset over an incident in her neighborhood where a police officer shot and killed a dog. Now I don't have the whole story about the incident, but I will tell you what I know and we'll take it from there.

A police officer was patrolling a residential neighborhood when he heard a woman cry for help. As he arrived on scene he observed an off-leash Boxer attacking the woman's dog, which she had been walking on leash. The officer somehow got the Boxer to stop attacking the other dog, but it continued to lunge at the officer and woman. The officer then made the decision to shoot the Boxer.

The Boxer's owner, who lived in the neighborhood, arrived after the dog had been shot and was furious with the officer to the point where he found himself in custody. The owners (and some of the neighbors) contention was that the officer should have tried to use something other than deadly force, like a Tazer or pepper spray, rather than killing the dog by discharging his firearm in a residential area.

Believe it or not, this not an uncommon incident these days. All you have to do is keep up with the news online. It seems to be happening at least once every couple of weeks and seems to be increasing. I have to admit I initially found myself sitting on both sides of the fence on this one.

From a dog lover and parents' perspective, I would never want to see a dog shot, particularly in vicinity of my home where a stray bullet could ricochet and possibly injure my child or anyone else for that matter. From the perspective of a former K-9 police officer, I can also understand the officer's duty to protect the human population first and foremost. I decided to try to look at it from both sides.

The Police Officer

Being a former officer, I know the decision to discharge your firearm is a huge decision and one officers take extremely seriously and have been trained extensively. It is to be used only when all other lesser means have been exhausted, or when the officers judgment and training leads him to believe by not using their firearm there will be an immediate risk of injury to himself or the public.

The Boxer's owner wanted to know why the officer didn't use a Tazer or pepper spray. These are good questions but ones that there may be answers to. We do have to keep in mind that we don't know all the facts here, so I have to play devil's advocate a little bit for both sides.


The Tazer is a tool used to incapacitate a resisting or uncooperative suspect. The ones used by police officers looks just like a pistol except it shoots two prongs on long wires into the suspect. An electric charge then renders the suspect unable to control their body and unable to fight. The electrical charge lasts only a few seconds.

Personally, I believe the Tazer would only have made a bad situation worse. First the charge only lasts a few seconds, and then it's over. Now the officer also has several feet of wire attached to the dog that could very well start circling him or another member of the public. If the wire gets tangled around the feet, you're up the creek without a paddle.

Pepper Spray

When I was trained on pepper spray many years ago, we were taught it was ineffective on dogs. Since that time, it has been shown to be more than effective in dealing with an aggressive dog, but I learned this many years after I was no longer an officer. Now, I will admit that while I was trained on it, I rarely used it so I didn't stay up on it as I did with my firearm or baton.

If the officer had it available to him, I think he should have used it. If his training told him it was ineffective on dogs like mine had, then his department is suffering from a serious training deficiency if they have failed to keep their officers updated on the equipment they supply them. That is the fault of the department though and not the individual officer.


More than likely, I personally wouldn't have chosen to use my gun. Keep in mind, that even when I was an officer, I still specialized in working with aggressive dogs. Since I haven't looked at the scene and no one else was hurt or property damaged by the bullets, I have to assume the officer concluded that firing his weapon created less of a hazard than the dog presented.

The Boxer Owner

I sat and tried to figure out how I would feel if I were the owner of the dog that was shot. I am certain I would be devastated but not because my dog had been killed. I would be devastated that my dog mauled another person's pet and that it was my fault. Not my dog's, not the officer's, but mine.

The dog was obviously dog and human aggressive. It was not only off leash, but unsupervised by its owner. Had the owner been acting in any way responsible, he would have trained the dog properly and kept well secured until it no longer was acting aggressive. Of course, he (and the woman who wrote the original post) placed all the blame on the officers rather than be culpable for his own actions or lack thereof.

Case Overview

Ultimately, the responsibility for this dog's death lies with its owner. If the officer that shot the dog did so in violation to procedure, he should be prosecuted. If the department's protocol for handling these types of incidents is the problem, then people should petition to have those policies changed.

Closing Thoughts

I did manage to find a little media coverage on this event. It was a short two-paragraph article, which focused on whether the officer did the right thing. However there was nothing about how the poor dog and woman who were attacked are. Nothing about why the Boxer was running loose or mention about responsible ownership, which is the big picture.

It is exactly this mindset that has led to pet over-population, inadequate temperament testing and BSL. As dog owners and lovers, we have an obligation to be responsible with the furkids in our care. This means we must get them proper training, socialization and properly feeding them. Most of all, we must be culpable for actions when we haven't lived up to our responsibility.

I don't think it will be my generation that will solve the pet over-population problem nor will we solve the current dog bite epidemic we are seeing in the USA. I think it will be in the hands of the younger ones like Augusta DeLisi of Augies Doggie Rescue to address the situation definitively.

However, I will continue to report irresponsible owners to the authorities, talk to people and promote responsible ownership. I will make it a conversation topic with folks whenever I can. Hopefully, you all will too.

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

Dogs need to sniff the ground; it's how they keep abreast of current events. The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking dog news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued in the next yard.

~ Dave Barry ~

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Mail Bag


I started reading your newsletter a few weeks back because my husband and I are planning to get a couple of dogs soon. We have found all your articles very informative but were particularly impressed with this week's article. (Augies Doggies) www.master-dog-training.com/archive/052705.htm

After reading it, we were so inspired by this girl's work we have decided that rather than get two forever dogs we would start rescuing two at a time and help to find them permanent homes. Please let her know that because of her story even more dogs will be saved. Thanks for telling us about her and all the great stuff you send each week.

Monica Stanton

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Joke of the Week

It Makes You Wonder ...

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough money to begin with?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end you first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those closed light fixtures?

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

If at first you don't succeed, shouldn't you try doing it like your wife told you to do it?

And my favorite ...

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends, if they are okay, then it's you.

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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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