"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 24:  July 2, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  The Effects of Relocation
=>  Breed of the Week - Lhasa Apso
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  The Cooperative Chick

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Gang!

I am not going to go on too long here today as we have a lot to cover.

Recently, in California, the budget has been a huge issue, which caused the recall of the former governor and installed Arnold Schwartenegger as our new governor. When he compiled his new budget, he added a section where dogs in Animal Control shelters would have had the time they are given to be adopted nearly cut to nothing before they would be euthanized.

It took several months before the public at large heard about this and, the Governor immediately threw it out. However, It just goes to show we all need to keep up on what our politicians are doing which could affect our furkids. Stay informed. It could very well be Fluffy who isn't given the extra day they need to be brought home.

One more thing ... Summer is here and we are going out with our dogs to the lake, park and just to visit friends. Please keep safety in the forefront of your mind when transporting your dog. Here's an example of what I mean…

I was at the park the other day with someone I know. We saw a dog go by in the back of a pick-up truck that wasn't restrained in any way. We both made the “what an idiot” comment and went about our business.

When we left, he put his dog in his car and, as he drove off, rolled the window down so his dog could stick its head out the window as he drove. Now I know our dogs love to do this and we want to please our dogs, but this is extremely dangerous. Debris can fly up from the road and bugs can fly into their eyes just for starters. It happens all the time so keep the windows up!

You also need to restrain your dog while riding inside the car. There are harnesses that can be bought to attach to seatbelts in most pet stores. It also doesn't take much ingenuity to figure out a way of securing your dog to the seatbelt with your leash. I know dogs think it's fun to move around in the car, but I doubt they will think it's fun to go through the windshield if you get in a collision.

Keep the windows up or secure the dogs so their heads can't reach outside the opening. I knew one guy whose dog rolled up the electric window on its head and darn near choked to death. Lock out the power windows. A little common sense goes a long way

All right guys, keep the letters and comments coming. They are all appreciated. Also, the Paws for Change photo contest is still going on. Don't forget to enter your rescued dog. For more information go to pawsforchange.com Show the world your superstar!


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


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I have had a wonderful little Border Collie for the last six years. She has always been pretty well behaved with the occasional little slip-ups, but no real complaints.

Last October, the family moved overseas. We knew we would be staying with friends for several weeks so we left our dog with my sister in the States until we were settled. It took a little longer to get our place and we didn't get her (the dog) here until almost March. We were extremely excited to see her but she seems like a different dog than we left behind,

She has become very needy, destructive when we leave her at home and doesn't follow her commands like she use too. I am certain she was treated well when she was with my sister and just can't figure out what happened. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

The Effects of Relocation

My entire life it seems like I have moved quite a bit. When I was a kid, I always hated it. I didn't care the schools were better or that I was going to make a whole bunch of “new” friends. I mean, who cares the folks will make more money? I could have cared less about the cost of living index. None of this stuff mattered.

You know what? I liked my crappy school. My old friends were fine. I didn't need “new” ones. As long as my parents made enough to keep me in cookies and Legos, I was fine. As far as the cost of living index goes, if I couldn't spell it, I didn't care.

Truth of the matter is I did make new friends, I liked my new schools, and the cookies and Legos remained plentiful. I adjusted fine even if I did it with a lot of drama at the start. This is the mindset of a kid and I don't think I was much different than any other kid who had to move. Fortunately, I had parents who talked me through it, kicked me in the butt when needed and, eventually, everything worked out.

Dogs really aren't any different about change than kids are. It can throw their world into turmoil and cause a certain level of confusion. The difference is we can't sit down with our dog and have a reassuring talk before or after it happens. The dog is suddenly in a new environment with new sights and smells and no understanding.

Our writer had a bit of an unusual circumstance as they were moving to a new country. Generally speaking though, this isn't the case. Either way, the same method of getting a dog through it will apply. For the purposes of this article we will assume the dog had to be left behind for a period of time. Whenever possible, don't leave the dog behind when you move even for a short time.

A Dogs Perspective

First, we have to understand what happens in a dog's mind when someone, man or beast, leaves their life with no warning.

When dogs are in a pack, they can sense when other members of the pack are sick and on their last legs. The sick will disappear on their own and it's expected. At the same time, when a dog is banished and gone from the pack as a result of behavior, it is understood and accepted for the better of the whole.

What rarely happens in a dog pack is for a healthy, productive member of the pack to simply walk off and disappear. It simply isn't something that would normally occur. We have to remember that in a pack, happy dogs work for the whole rather than for themselves. This could very well be why I tend to like dogs more than people.

Now, consider this ...

Not only has one member left, which makes no sense to the dog to start, but the entire pack is gone, the dog is in unfamiliar territory and there are new people surrounding the dog telling him, “everything is okay.” Think about it.

Let's say your entire family went to a house you know minimally. Suddenly, the whole family left in the car and didn't return. No explanations, just gone. Okay, at first you think, “they'll be back.” What if they never returned and you had no explanation. What if your instincts not only told you this meant they were all dead but also told you it wasn't logical in any way, shape or form. How would you feel?

Now the dog is in this new place grieving. Eventually, the dog gets over it and starts to bond with the new pack. The dog knows what has happened doesn't make sense but, because he is looking at the whole rather than themselves, he adapts. They will often make every effort to bond quickly to their new pack members.

Now, bang, bang, bang. You are off in a plane and suddenly, when you get out of your crate, there are all the pack members you had earlier come to the conclusion were dead, standing there welcoming you. If I were the dog, I can assure you my pants are wet and I am in search of the local facilities. My goodness, it's something straight out of the “Exorcist.”

Human Perspective

Here's what we normally think. “It's a dog. He'll be fine.” Thoughts like this I guess are the reason the man upstairs made dog man's best friend, but not man dog's best friend. We have to think in the way our dogs do, not the way a human does. This is the extent to the time I will give to human perspective.

The Solution

The solution lies with us, not the dog. The dog was put in the position by us and we have to take the corrective actions to assist the dog to adjust.

This is not a difficult process but can take time and patience. In our writer's case, we have an extreme and this is how I will address it. It will work for all so just stay with me. You can modify it to suit your needs as long as you keep the dogs mentality in mind. I also want to say some dogs are able to overcome this type of situation easily. Some can't. It all depends on the dog.

How many times have you all heard me say to keep things consistent? This is the key to re-acclimation. A dog without a consistent pattern is lost. Dog packs run consistent patterns and dogs want, no, need it. If you don't give it too them, they are lost.

The dog needs to return to the schedule they had when they were with you previously. They need to eat at the same time, walk at the same time and be subject to the same rules as before. They do need to be given the ability to inspect their new territory, but the same rules apply, regardless. Some will tell you a dog's memory is limited, but I ain't buying it. The dog will remember.

Keep hard corrective measures to a minimum when the dog first arrives. Save those for when the dog is adjusted again. Provide the dog with tons of exercise. It relieves stress for everyone and helps to keep things in perspective.

Look at your food. In the case of the writer, she moved to a new country. Foods, even by the same name and manufacturer may not necessarily be the same. This even applies to foods made in the same country. Look at the labels and know what your dog is eating.

Be consistent with obedience exercises. I am not taking about the average sit, stay given to the dog. I am talking about the daily obedience schedule you put your dog through. If necessary, increase the number of times you run the obedience exercise.

Finally, reinforce your love of the animal. Keep it low key, but make sure you give the dog the love he needs. Take a few minutes each night to love the dog without getting him overly excited.

There are several behaviors a dog could exhibit in this situation. What we, as care providers for this fantastic beast must do, is consider them in the same way they do us. Imagine what the world would be like if we did it in all aspects of our life.

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
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My dog can bark like a Congressman, fetch like an aide, beg like a press secretary and play dead like a receptionist when the phone rings.

~ Gerald Solomon, U.S. Congressman ~


Lhasa Apso

The Lhaso Apso in motion has always reminded me of a hover-craft. When they have their full coat, they simply seem to float across the ground without moving any body parts. In fact, just their general appearance seems rather comical. In a good way, though.

The Lhasa Apso is a relatively new breed in the Western World. In fact, for nearly two thousand years, holy men and nobles of Tibet were only people to breed the dog. They were named after the sacred city of Lhasa They were considered sacred, as it was believed when the Lhasas' owner died, their soul would enter their beloved dog. It was often used to act as a watchdog in temples and monasteries around the country.

It was virtually impossible to buy a Lhasa Apso, or the also highly revered Tibetan Terrier, until the early twentieth century. Around this time, the Dalai Lama began to present the dog as a gift to visiting foreign dignitaries. The breed was first introduced in Europe in the 1920's and in the United States in the 1930's.

The Lhasa Apso has a heavy double coat that drapes over their entire body to the ground. Their coat comes in a variety of colors including honey, cream, gold, smoke, grizzle, slate and a multi-color variety. Their coat should be straight, heavy and fairly coarse.

The hair should fall over the dog's eyes, which are small and deep-set on the dog's skull. The muzzle shouldn't be too short but also not completely square either. The neck should have a full plume of hair starting at the ears. The tail should be carried over the back and the fur should be feathered.

In general, Lhaso Apsos are friendly, intelligent little dogs. They are loyal to their owners but sometimes a little stand offish with strangers. They are affectionate with their owners but don't tolerate ill-mannered children very well. They dislike being alone and this should be considered when selecting a Lhapso Apso as a pet.

From my experience, and from talking to others familiar with the breed, there really seems to be two different personality types in this breed. Many will tell you the breed is a big lover where others will say they can be aggressive even with a dominant owner who has raised the animal correctly.

Personally, I believe this is due to the quick introduction of the breed to the Western world. Remember, there were a limited number of these dogs originally allowed to leave Tibet. We must also keep in mind that, often, careful breeding records weren't kept. When the breed was introduced in the US, it became easier to obtain dogs from China and Tibet but not that easy.

Many believe the popularity and demand for the breed in the early twentieth century caused many of the early breeders to be less than careful with ensuring family lines weren't mixed. As we all know, this can lead to temperament issues in future litters. With the small genetic pool that was available in the early introduction of the breed it is no wonder many people have seen a significant difference in the emotional quality of the breed.

However, over the last fifty years, breeders have been more conscientious about their breeding practices. There are still those out there who don't care about the genetics of any breed and breed only for profit. (Puppy mills and the like.) This doesn't mean there aren't any quality Lhaso Apsos out there. It just means you need to do your research before you purchase the breed.

Buy only from a reputable breeder who has many long-standing references and actually check them out. Insist on seeing both the parents and being able to interact with them. Avoid parents who have been “kennel raised” as often they aren't socialized properly. The parents should be obedient and friendly. Ensure the pups and parents have had their hips and eyes certified before buying the dog.

The breed does have a few genetic issues to be considered. They have a tendency to get hip dysplasia. As a result, one should be careful to keep a Lhaso Apso on the light side because their long body and short legs can cause this condition to worsen. Some also will develop cataracts and other eye conditions in their geriatric years.

They can also develop skin problems but this is really due more to the length of their hair and parasites rather than genetics. For this reason, preventative measures should be taken, along with regular grooming and inspections to keep parasites to a minimum. They have a relatively long life expectancy, fifteen or more years, despite their other health issues.

They range in height from 9-11 inches (24-28 cm) at the withers and weigh from 13-16 pounds. (6-7 kg.) They are fairly active indoors and, as a result, they will do well in an apartment without a yard providing they are given regular walks and fresh air.

Grooming is something that can be time consuming depending on your aesthetic preferences. If you opt to leave the coat full and uncut, you need to plan on brushing the dog daily to prevent matting. Inspect their paws daily as full-coated dogs have a tendency to get things stuck between the pads.

If you trim their coat, you alleviate many of these issues. You will need to keep a watch on their ears and eyes as they sometimes discharge causing a staining of the coat. They are actually quite cute even when cut and if you live in a hot climate, clipping is almost a must.

All and all, the Lhaso Apso is a great little dog who can provide you years of love and companionship. Take your time when selecting your puppy, or even consider a rescue that has been socialized and trained. Take the right approach and you won't be disappointed.

Mail Bag


Your Target Aggression articles made so much sense. I really appreciate the way you make things so simple to understand and apply. We have been applying it to our dog in the last two weeks and are seeing immediate results. Thanks again!

Mary B.

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Joke of the Week

The Cooperative Chick

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich at his side. As he takes his seat, the waitress comes over and asks for their order.

The man says, “I'll have a hamburger and order of fries and a coke.” The man turns to the ostrich and says, “What do you want?” “I'll have the same” says the ostrich.

A short time later, the waitress returns with the order and gives' the man a bill for $6.40. The man reaches into his pocket, pulls out exact change and pays the bill for the meals.

The next day, the man comes in with the ostrich again. When the waitress asks for their order the man says, “I'll have a hamburger and order of fries and a coke.” The man turns to the ostrich and says, “What do you want?” “I'll have the same” says the ostrich. Once again, the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes a nightly ritual until late one evening, when the man and ostrich come into the restaurant, the waitress asks, “The usual?”

“No, this is Friday night so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad.” The man then looks over at the ostrich and asks what it wants. The ostrich replies, “I'll have the same thing.”

A short time later, the waitress returns with their meal and a bill for $16.49. Once again, the man pulls exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table. The waitress can't contain her curiosity any longer.

“Excuse me, sir how is it you always manage to come up with the exact change out of your pocket the first time, every time?” she asks.

“Well,” says the man, “several years ago, I was cleaning out the attic of my new house when I found an old lamp. When I rubbed the lamp, a Genie appeared and gave me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, all I would have to do is reach in my pocket and the exact amount of money would always come out.”

“That's brilliant!” say the waitress. “Most people would have wished for a million dollars or something, but you will always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”

“That's right. Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact amount always comes out.”

The waitress starts to walk away and then turns back to the man. “Sir,” she asks, “so what's with the ostrich?”

The man pauses, sets down his fork and replies, “Well, my second wish was to have a chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say, and this is her.”

* To submit your joke to us: Joke@Master-Dog-Training.com

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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