"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 30:  September 10, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  No Means No ... Or, Does It?
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  The Way Kids See Things

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Gang!

I want to start by thanking everyone who has sent me encouraging email this week about the whole HSUS issue. I think of the couple of dozen or so messages I have received, only two have been negative in any way. Anyway, I appreciate the support.

As I may or may not have mentioned, Paws for Change (PFC) is sponsoring our first Teen Club in a local high school. We are providing them all the training material free of charge (unlike other organizations I won't name) and will be helping them plan ways to help their local shelters with fundraising and volunteer support. If you would like to start a PFC Teen Club in your own area, shoot me an email and I will get you all the information.

We have also launched our Shelter Assistance Program and will know in a few days if we are going to be heading up north to help a shelter with their program. Again, unlike other organizations, we aren't charging $20,000 or even $4,000 dollars for this. We are doing it with donations from PFC members. I think it is ridiculous to charge for such a service when shelters can barely get by with what they have. If you would like to help raise the funds, or know of a kennel that could use PFCs' assistance, please shoot me an email.

I have a consumer product alert for everyone this week so listen up. There have been numerous reports of Hartz 4 in 1 Flea and Tick Drops making several animals extremely sick and killing a few within hours of the drops being administered. I haven't been able to find any “official reports” about it but, I have been alerted by several people about the problem. There is a web site where you can read some of the stories and complaints. It is hartzvictims.org

I have never been a big fan of Hartz products personally as you seem to get what you pay for when it comes to their products I have tried. This is why I always advocate looking into the products we give our dogs before administering them.

It really aggravates me these big corporations go out there and make millions of dollars a year off our pets, but don't seem to want to take action when their products are hurting the very animals they are making all their money from.

One last thing. There is a great group of people at the Northern Illinois Samoyed Assistance who have approximately twenty-five of these wonderful dogs that are currently looking for their forever homes. You may remember this is the breed I featured last week in the Breed of the Week article and they graciously allowed me to use a picture of one of their rescues for the article.

If you are in Illinois and would like to see how you can help this fantastic group, please go to nisasamoyedrescue.org and see how you can help them out or even provide a forever home for one of these magnificent creatures.

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

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



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Hi Chris,

We were told by a trainer that certain animals will generalize a "No" command to everything, while other animals need it in every instance. For example, at the time we had two dogs; a black lab (Alex, the every instance one) and a Vizsla, (Brandy, the command was generalized to everything.) The love seat was Alex's (the Lab) so when the Vizsla Brandy went to jump up we told her no, and then she wouldn't get up on any furniture unless we told her it was OK.

By the way she would never get up on the love seat, even when we told her it was OK! When Alex passed away, we tried for over two years to get her to lie on it, and she never would get up on the couch. Then all of a sudden she got up on it. Do you have any explanation for this behavior? Also, is there anything behind the generalized No, and the specific No?

Just wondered.

Sue D.

No Means No ... Or, Does It?

When I first read this, I was a little perplexed as I have never heard the term “generalized no” as it is applied here to dog training. Personally, it sounded way off base with the scenario provided but before I opened my mouth, I checked with someone I trust and know to be extremely knowledgeable. He was my first Kennel Master when I started training police dogs and I personally consider him to be world class.

He had heard of this theory in the past and attributed it to pretty much what I thought at first. A theory devised by someone with little behavioral or pack understanding. It does have some merit at a very basic level but very little. Rather than go into why, I am simply going to explain the reason dogs respond to the “No” command and how the behavior can be modified when desired.

Generalized or Stereotyped

Many things in the dog world are “generalized” or maybe stereotyped is the better word. Often, I have clients who will complain about a behavior their dog is exhibiting and say, “Well, he does it because of his breed.” Nine times out of ten though, the breed has little to do with a dog's behavior. Let me give you an example of this common thought process.

All German Shepards will be good police dogs. All Border Collies are good herding dogs. Bloodhounds are all good tracking dogs. Labrador Retrievers all love the water.

The truth of the matter is these are all stereotypes given to the breeds based on what people have seen. I have seen several Labs that act like cats when it comes to water and I have also seen a large number of Border Collies that would rather sit on the porch than chase anything around a field.

When I used to evaluate K-9s for police training, I would estimate only 20% of the German Shepards (GSD) made it into training. Of that 20%, many would often wash out of the program. It doesn't take a GSD to make a good police dog. It takes an extremely intelligent dog with a strong drive and desire to please its handler to make a good police dog.

Okay, so what is my point and what the heck does all that have to do with the write'rs question? My point is we need to get away from accepting behaviors because of breed stereotypes or generalization when we are having behavioral problems or can't figure out the reason for an unusual one.

Doggie Personalities

I have three children that range in age from twenty to five years of age. Each one of them has very distinct personalities, likes and dislikes. One of my sons likes leadership roles as a result of his time with JROTC where my other son would prefer to be in the background. My five-year old daughter, AKA The Princess, is ready to headline at Carnegie Hall.

Dogs are the same. Just because a puppy was born to parents that were champion tracking dogs doesn't mean the puppies will be champions or even have the slightest desire to run a track naturally. Individual puppies have individual personalities. They are shaped in the same way a person's is - based on life experiences, training and environment. Some dogs are more mischievous or hard-headed than others.

When Personality, Pack Mentality and Protocol Collide

When I read this letter, I initially focused on the “generalized no” issue and missed the wonderful example of the mind of the dog. It is a great example of how dogs think and respond to their environment. Once I looked into things, I realized how this example can help the masses understand the dogs in their own homes.

Look at the dogs in the letter. One is timid and the other is assertive. This is apparent simply by the fact the one dog wouldn't get up on furniture unless it was given the okay first, and the other didn't wait to jump up on the loveseat. This is simply the individual dog's personality that has been shaped by life experience.

Look at it this way. It's kind of like having two kids. Both know they aren't supposed to have any snacks just before dinner. One wouldn't risk getting caught sneaking a snack, but the other kid has no problem waiting for mom to turn her back so they can stick their hand in the cookie jar. Raised and loved the same, just different personalities.

The other thing going on is good old pack mentality and proper protocol. The senior dog had a special spot that belonged to him. This was reinforced by the writer (Alpha) not permitting the other dog to sit on the loveseat. This established to the junior dog its position in the pack was lower than the older dog, which is as it should be. It was also reinforced by the fact the senior dog's scent was more than likely pretty strong to the junior dog in that spot.

The fact the junior dog wouldn't jump on other furniture without permission also has to do with her lower pack position. Lets face it, sitting on the couch is far more comfy than sitting on the floor. When she was corrected for getting in the other dogs spot, she didn't generalize that to mean all furniture, she took it to mean her pack position was such that she needed to wait for senior pack members to invite her.

This is consistent with what you would find in wild dog packs as the best places to sleep go to the senior pack members. The only way a junior member gets one of these spots is if a senior pack member allows/invites them to do so or they obtain a higher position on their own.

When the senior dog passed away, there are a couple of reasons the junior didn't take over the special place on the loveseat. First, she very well may have felt she wasn't ready to move up in pack position since there is no survival need in the family pack as there is in the wild pack. Just like people, some dogs are leaders and some are followers.

Second, it could have very well been out of “respect” for the dog that passed away. Even if the senior dog is no longer physically in the home, you can be fairly certain his odor still was. Even if the area had been cleaned, the dog's odor could very well still be detectable to the nose of the other dog. As long as she could smell the other dog's scent on the loveseat, she may have been “holding” the spot open.

Dogs have diverse personalities just like we do. Some are outgoing and some are aloof. Some have a sense of humor and others don't. It doesn't matter what their breed is or who their parents are. It all has to do with how they were raised, their personality and their pack position. If every dog in every breed were exactly the same, I don't think I would enjoy working with them.

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

Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.

~ Franklin P. Jones ~

Mail Bag

Hi Chris!

A friend directed me to your newsletter because we are involved in The Wisconsin Samoyed Rescue, and your breed of the week was a Sammy! I took the time to read the preceding article and was astounded. I want to thank you for such a well-written and informative piece.

I used to donate to the HSUS, but their mailings became quite distressing, showing abused animals and the like, very similar to PETA mailings. Your piece touched me so, I have decided to subscribe to your newsletter. If half of the newsletters are as well written, I will enjoy the emails immensely!   Looking forward to the next one.

Ken W.

Hi Chris

I have been fighting HSUS for many years, along with the rest of CWAPC. They are in cahoots with all in that association, including TAOS, API, PeTA, IFAW, Fund.org, ASPCA, Summerlee. cwapc.org/about/participants.html

Here is a site that shows API's fine attention to details at their monkey sanctuary. They wrested control of it just 4 years ago, and have about turned it into some primate version of Colonel Kurtz's camp in “Apocolypse Now” (Marlon Brando?)   theeagleeye.org/api.htm

They are the ultimate in bottom feeders, gorging at the trough of public contributions. Did anyone send you the World Of Rights email that's been going around? It's about TAOS and their "odd" ways of accrediting API.

Good work on the HSUS article. Thumbs Up!


Dear Mr. Aust,

I just saw a forward of your article regarding the HSUS on the National Animal Interests Alliane e-mail list and I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write such a well researched, clear explanation of the HSUS.

I have saved a copy of your article and will be passing it along to many people to hopefully open their eyes to the reality of HSUS. I am sure you will get a lot of flack from animal rights types, and I wanted to let you know that there are some of us out here who truly appreciate articles like this.

Kindest regards,


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Joke of the Week

The Way Kids See Things


A woman was driving down the street with her three small children one warm summer evening when a woman in a convertible in front of them stood up and waved. The woman was completely topless! As she reeled in shock, she heard her five-year-old son shout from the back “Hey mom, that lady isn't wearing her seat belt!”


A four-year-old boy came running out of the bathroom screaming and told his mother he had dropped his toothbrush in the toilet. His mother fished it out and threw it in the trash telling the boy she would buy him a new one. The boy then ran to his mother's bathroom and came out with her toothbrush. He held it up and said, “We better throw this one away too 'cause it fell in the toilet a few days ago!”


On the first day of school a little girl handed her teacher a note from her parents. The teacher opened the note and it read, “The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily the opinions of her parents.


A woman was trying to get the ketchup to come out of the bottle when the phone rang. She told her four year old to answer the phone for her. “It's the minister mommy.” Her mother told her to tell the minister she would call him back. The mother gasped as she heard the child say, “Mommy said she will call you back. She's hitting the bottle right now.”

Wrong Place Wrong Time

A little boy was wondering around the YMCA and found himself walking into the female locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The amazed little boy suddenly asked, “What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a little boy before?”

Dress Up

A little girl was watching her parents get dressed for a formal dinner party one evening. As she saw her father pull out his tuxedo she warned, “Dad, you shouldn't wear that suit.”

“Why not darling?”

“You know it always gives you a headache the next morning.” she replied.


A little boy sat fascinated as he fingered through the old family album. Suddenly, as he turned a page something fell out of the book and too the floor. He picked it up and discovered it was an old leaf that had been pressed between the pages.

“Momma,” the boy cried out, “look what I found in the Bible.”

“What is it, dear?” she asked.

“I think its' Adams underwear!” he replied.

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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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