"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 21:  June 11, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  A New Member to the Pack
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Doggie Dictionary and Guide

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Folks!

This weeks' newsletter is a little shorter than usual due to the task of getting the foundation up and running. As with all non-profits, fundraising can be rather time consuming and a real pain in the keester. It's for a good cause though, so all the work is worth it in the long run.

I have a quick update on the Iberia, Missouri issue I wrote about a few weeks back. I have been contacted by the Missouri State Attorney General's office and they are as appalled as we were when they heard about Iberias' policy. They are taking action, which could even lead to criminal prosecution. Thank you all who took the time to write to state officials to voice your concern. It just goes to show a small group of determined individuals can make a difference.

Many of you may remember the story I did at Christmas about Bear, the rescue who had been terribly abused and neglected. His abuse was so significant, one of his legs had to be amputated at the shoulder. You can read the story at www.master-dog-training.com/archive/121903.htm

I am happy to report Bear has finally gone to his forever home and is doing wonderfully. He has new fur-brothers and sisters that he loves, goes everywhere with his new mom and has a huge yard and a home with no stairs to contend with.

Enormous hugs for the people at Precious Secrets Sheltie Rescue for all of the dedication and love they gave to this phenomenal dog. His story reduced me to tears, not an easy task, when I read it. Where others would have simply destroyed this dog, Precious Secrets stepped up, gave him love and a second chance at a wonderful life. Even now, it chokes me up.

If you have an animal related business, we have some opportunities for you to support the Paws for Change Foundation while advertising your business on three different web sites. It is truly an incredible opportunity to widely advertise your business and give to a good cause as well.


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


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Dear Chris,

I wanted to see what you thought about Nero's revolt to my new boyfriend who recently moved in with me. He had been doing wonderfully after the training we did with you a few months back, but since Jerry moved in, he has reverted back to some of his old behaviors and also made it clear he doesn't want us to be physically close.

He (Nero) barks whenever Jerry and I are next to each other and will get on our laps in an attempt to separate us if we are sitting down together. He is peeing on the floor again and barking non-stop when he hears me wake up in the morning.

I know he is just upset about the new arrival in the home but I hate to see him revert back to all the behaviors you helped me correct in February. It's just been Nero and I for the last eight years and getting rid of him, or Jerry for that matter, simply isn't an option. What can we do to return him to the way he was before and not feel resentment towards Jerry?

Cindy N.
Sacramento, CA

A New Member to the Pack

When I was doing rescue work, one of the more common reasons owners used to give me for relinquishing their dog was that it didn't get along with the new boyfriend/girlfriend. Unfortunately, we live in a disposable world where once something becomes inconvenient, we toss it out. The irony of it is, statistically, the dog will probably live longer than the relationship.

Dogs can go through many of the same emotions and feelings a kid does when a parent remarries or a boyfriend/girlfriend moves into the house. For any of you that have had a stepparent move into your home, you understand what I mean. Even if the child likes the newcomer, often there are feelings of resentment and rebellion.

Some dogs will revert to inappropriate behaviors like urinating on the floor, excessive barking, destructive behavior and even aggression as a way of showing their discomfort with the new situation. Other dogs couldn't give a rat's behind if there is a new person in the home and show no change in behavior whatsoever. The way they respond depends upon their confidence level and or the role they fulfill in the family pack.

First, we have to look at the way a dog views the introduction of a new individual into the pack. Instinctually, a dog knows the new individual would have to work their way through the pack positions in order to keep peace and animosity down, among the other members of the pack.

The exception to this would be if a dominant, outside male came in and gave the boot to the Alpha male and took over the pack. When this happens in wild packs, the pack often disbands and forms two new separate weaker packs. Needless to say, this approach is rather inefficient with a family pack.

Medical science has shown that different endorphins/hormones are released in the human body when we experience different types of emotion. For instance, when we see our children, we experience an internal chemical release consistent with maternal/paternal emotions. With our partners, we experience a different type of emotion and release. It goes on and on through the different emotions whether it is pain, joy, sadness and fear.

Other studies have shown most dogs can sense these releases and their relative meanings. This is how dogs are able to predict seizures and other medical afflictions. Dogs are like the psychic Sylvia Brown in a full body wig. They don't miss a thing.

Okay, hormones are flying and there's a new pack order, which needs to be established. Now we have to look at our dog and determine the role your dog fills in the family pack. This is critical for the process to see success. When doing this, we have to be honest with ourselves about the role the dog holds in the home. If we aren't honest with ourselves we are just spinning our wheels.

Let's look at Cindy and Nero. Cindy is a widow who got Nero after the death of her husband. According to Cindy, Nero helped her get through the loss of her husband. He provided her comfort at a time of great sadness. For the reasons mentioned above, Nero understood what he provided Cindy and assumed a role of companion whose main purpose was to provide Cindy with love and comfort. This role is one of great honor to a dog and one they aren't going to readily give up.

He also acts as a passive protector. What this means is he sounds the alarm when people come to the house or encroach on their property. In fact, he is aware of all activity in the house and continuously “patrols” to ensure everything is as it should be. While this role is one of a protector, it is non-aggressive in nature.

Ideally, you want to address the issue before the newcomer actually moves in however, often the dog doesn't exhibit the behaviors until after the official moving in.

Now, if Jerry were to come in and try to immediately dominate the dog, it is simply going to back fire. The dog is only going to become more resentful of the situation and the undesired behavior will continue or escalate. Jerry initially needs to play the role of “good cop.”

By the same token, Cindy must keep her schedule with the dog consistent and maintain the same rules she always has. As far as the dog is concerned, she is the dominant Alpha and needs to maintain that position. She needs to be the one to handle the new behaviors and work them out of the dog. She must be firm with her directions and not waiver. In essence she is the “bad cop.” (I don't like the term “bad cop” but I think it gives you the idea here.)

Of course, as I say for just about everything, obedience sessions are important here. I am not necessarily talking about going to a trainer here I am referring to simply running the dog through their paces in the house or yard. Cindy and Jerry should both conduct these sessions, however, Cindy should be more strict with the use of her voice where Jerry is more playful in nature.

Jerry should take Nero for walks and play with him when Cindy is not around. This will allow Nero and Jerry to establish their own separate and individual relationship, building trust along the way. It is important the friendship is built at a pace that is comfortable for the dog and not forced or rushed.

Now this doesn't mean Jerry needs to allow the dog to walk all over him. In fact, if he does, it could bring on a whole new set of problems. It just means he should take a softer approach when it comes to redirecting inappropriate behavior, and allow Cindy to be the disciplinarian whenever she is around.

For instance, if Cindy has to put Nero in “time out” or banish the dog for barking, Jerry should be the one to go and take the dog out at the end of the time limit. This accomplishes two things. One, it shows the dog Jerry has more authority than Nero since Nero isn't allowed to come out on his own. Two, it reinforces Jerry's good cop persona and will generally help to build the friendship and trust between the two.

The process will generally only take a week or so depending on the dog. An increase in the amount of exercise the dog receives is also helpful, as we know exercise helps to relieve anxiety. Be patient and consistent and your dog will come to love the newcomer like they have been there all along.

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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It's a dog eat dog world and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear.

~ Norm, from "Cheers" ~

Mail Bag


As usual, a great article (Understanding Barking Behavior) and I can't wait to try it on my guys. My old girl has become more barky than previously (she'll be 12 in July) and it shows that I have to put the time in to get back to our obedience work. I've let her slide for the past several years as I work with the younger shelties in the household.

Leslie M.
Hudson Valley Sheltie Rescue, Monroe Humane Society, NY



All my sheltie friends laughed, said you were nuts and the barking couldn't be stopped with this breed. Well, they aren't laughing now. They're listening. Your method was simple and makes so much sense. In less than a week, I have been able to curb the barking in not only my own dogs, but also in the shelties I am fostering. Bravo! Keep up the good work.

Nor-Cal Sheltie Rescue

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Doggie Dictionary and Guide

Bath: A process owners use to clean you, drench the floor, walls and themselves. You can help by shaking vigorously and frequently.

Bicycles: Two-wheeled exercise machines, invented for dogs to control body fat. To get maximum aerobic benefit, you must hide behind a bush and dash out, bark loudly and run alongside for a few yards. The rider swerves and falls into the bushes, and you prance away.

Dog Bed: Any soft, clean surface, such as a white bedspread, newly upholstered couch or the dry cleaning that was just picked up.

Drool: What you do when your owners have food and you don't. To do this properly, sit as close as you can, look sad and let the drool fall to the floor or better yet on their laps.

Garbage Can: A container your neighbors put out weekly to test your ingenuity. Stand on your hind legs and push the lid off with your nose. If you do it right, you are rewarded with food wrappers to shred, beef bones to consume, moldy crusts of bread and sometimes even an old Nike.

Lean: Every good dog's response to the command "sit," especially if your owner is dressed for an evening out. Incredibly effective before black-tie events.

Leash: A strap that attaches to your collar, enabling you to lead your owner where you want him or her to go. Make sure that you are waiting patiently with leash in mouth when your owner comes home from work. This immediately makes your owner feel guilty and the walk is lengthened by a good 10 minutes.

Love: A feeling of intense affection, given freely and without restriction, shared by you and your owner. Show it by wagging your tail

Sniff: A social custom to use when you greet other dogs or those people that sometimes smell like dogs.

Sofas: Are to dogs like napkins are to people. After eating it is polite to run up and down the front of the sofa and wipe your whiskers clean. If there are people sitting on the couch just include them as a handy wipe.

Thunder: A signal the world is coming to an end. Humans remain amazingly calm during thunderstorms, so it is necessary to warn them of the danger by trembling, panting, rolling your eyes wildly and following at their heels.

Wastebasket: A dog toy filled with paper, envelopes and old candy wrappers. When you get bored, turn over the basket and strew the papers all over the house. This is particularly fun to do when there are guests for dinner and you prance around with the contents of that very special bathroom wastepaper basket!

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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 © 2004 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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