"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 33:  October 1, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Stork on the Radar
=>  An Animal's Friend
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Useful Household Tips

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Gang!

I am going to start this week by pointing out my extreme computer ignorance. Many of you may not have received your newsletter for the last several weeks. This happened when I switched servers a while back but didn't adjust my mail program numbers. So, if you haven't been receiving your weekly issue for a few weeks, I apologize. You can go to www.master-dog-training.com and go to the article index to catch up. I am such a dork!

Myself, and the other Directors of Paws for Change, have been asked by a shelter in Alaska to come up and help them revamp their programs as part of the Shelter Assistance Program. Unlike HSUS and other organizations, we aren't going to be charging them anything for the service. The trip and work will be paid for through donations from the public.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation or have an item you would like to donate for auction, please let me know. It is going to cost approximately $6,000 to make the trip so if you would like to help out, please don't hesitate to do so. It won't be too long before the tax man's a knocking!

I have done something a little different this week as I have an interview with an incredible woman. She is not only a fantastic animal artist but was instrumental in making the Chongqing dog project a reality. She is also a prime example of how following your dreams can lead to success.

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,

My wife and I have had two dogs for the last five years. One is basically hers and one mine, but we all love each other just the same. They are very obedient and friendly. They haven't ever shown aggression, but will avoid boisterous children who are too “grabby.”

In February 2005, we will be expecting our first child. We don't want to get rid of our dogs but you hear such horror stories about dogs hurting babies over jealousy. I really don't think the dogs could hurt a soul but worry about the child too. Is there anything we can do to prepare the dogs for the baby coming? Just curious.

Mike N.
Meridian, MS.

Stork on the Radar

I can remember all the things that were running through my head when we were expecting the birth of my kids. We were busy buying baby furniture, going to birthing classes, doctors' appointments, diapers, bottles and baby showers. We had to baby-safe the house, car and yard. What many people often forget to make “baby safe” are the dogs already living in the house. Even

if you have the sweetest, best-behaved dog in the world, you should still take the time to prepare your dog for the arrival of a new child. It is particularly important if there are no other young children in the home. Dogs can be a lot like the “baby” child in a family. The new arrival often takes over the spotlight from the “baby” leaving them to feel anger or resentment. Some dogs will adapt just fine without any preparation but it never hurts to be prepared.

The Dogs Perspective

We have to look at what usually happens when a baby is introduced to a home with a dog already in place. Nine times out of ten, the dog has been in no way prepared for the new arrival. The dog has noticed several new things in the house they aren't allowed to go near. This could have the dogs a little confused if they have had free reign over household items previously.

There is probably a lot more traffic in the house than usual. There are usually friends and family checking in, more rush around by the expectant mom and dad and just the general chaos that inevitably results when a little peace is what's most needed. Unusual routine schedules can result in stress for your dog.

Now let's look at the household stress levels in the weeks before the child arrives. Having a baby is stressful on momma. She may have been experiencing severe emotional swings, numerous muscle pains, and a longer list of other things going on I am unable to imagine. While I believe dogs instinctively know what is going on in their female owner, I don't believe they have the forethought to understand what that means to them.

Now, I completely understand the woman goes through way more than the man when it comes to childbirth. This doesn't mean the male isn't stressed as well. His behavior has probably not gone unnoticed by the dog either.

Before the baby has ever made it into the house, the dog is stressed because it can't go near new stuff in the house, and mom and dad are stressed. Additionally, their schedule is disrupted and they aren't getting as much attention. Keep in mind, I am generally referring to what happens the last four to six weeks before the baby comes. In my experience, these were the most outwardly crazy times.

Okay now… Lets think about what it was like the first week after your child was born. How many of you felt energetic and ready to take on the world? I'm betting very few. Not only is life as a new parent tiring, but you also tend to have all the family around “helping.”

The baby arrives, as do several other relatives. The dog knows there is a new pack member and can sense mom isn't feeling good either. Every time the dog goes to see momma or the new arrival, they are hurriedly rushed off to another room or kicked out of the house to the back yard - often by people the dog does not recognize as a pack member.

The rooms the dog used to be allowed in are suddenly off limits due to the new arrival. Beyond that, there is this new sound in the house (crying baby) which makes the dogs' ears scream!

Now the average dog is going to be completely perplexed by all of this both pre and post birth. As a result, they will often develop jealousy over the new child, or begin to exhibit destructive behavior. Either way, this is unacceptable.


While these behaviors are completely unacceptable, they are also completely avoidable in the majority of cases. The key is to take steps to prepare our dogs before the baby arrives. In fact, you should begin to prepare your dog as soon as you find out a baby is on the way.

Why should we start so early? It's quite simple. We love both our children and dogs and don't want to see harm come to them in any way. We don't want to see the child hurt by the dog and we don't want to put the dog into a shelter where they could be put to sleep if not adopted.

In The Home

The first thing we have to do is set up the new boundaries in the house. For instance, if you are currently using what will be the baby's room as an office, and the dog is allowed inside, make it off limits immediately. Additionally, if the baby is going to be staying in your room for the first few weeks/months after they are born, then your bedroom needs to be made off limits as well.

This allows you to make the change in such a way the dog doesn't view the change as the result of the child. This accomplishes two things. First, as I mentioned, the dog won't view the change as a bi-product of the child. It will also establish the child as having an Alpha position over the dog.

Next, we have to look at all the new items in the house. There are swings, highchairs, blankets, jungle gyms, carriers, rockers and a host of other items. The dog needs to be taught what is theirs and what belongs to the child. So, how do we do this?

It's really quite easy. However, we have to make sure our dogs understand a new command…baby. Now this will take a little time for the dog to understand but it does need to start early. Momma should touch her stomach and say, “baby.” It should be done in the same way you would give praise. Allow the dog to smell mommas belly. Believe me, the dog will understand.

Next we have to acknowledge all the new stuff in the house. It should all be made off limits to the dog, but also needs to be operated regularly if the item makes noise. This allows the dog to become accustomed to the item and its noise and also keeps them from associating the item with the child and will reinforce the kid's position in the pack.

It is also a good idea to prepare the dog for the sound of a crying baby. I have had numerous new parents tell me their dog becomes nervous and or agitated when their baby cries. When we think about it, we shouldn't be surprised. We have all heard the piercing cry of a hungry baby that has hurt our ears. What do you think that cry sounds like to a dog whose ears are several times more sensitive.

It is relatively easy to acclimate your dog to the roar of a baby and it can be done when you aren't even home. There are actually sound tracks you can buy of a crying baby believe it or not. You could even record a friend or family member's child as well. All you have to do is put the tape on when you leave for the store or go to work. Start by playing it very softly and progress to the point where the sound is at a normal pitch.

By doing this, you desensitize the dog to the sound. This allows the dog to experience less anxiety when the baby comes home the first day. (This is also a good way to get a dog used to thunderstorms and other noises that cause anxiety or fear.)

Once momma goes to the hospital and has the baby, dad should bring home a blanket the baby has been wrapped in and introduce the baby's “odor” to the dog. They should hold the blanket in front of the dog's nose and say “baby” or something similar. Do not allow the dog to lick or chew the blanket. This allows the dog to basically be introduced to the child before it ever comes home.

When the child does come home, it is best to keep things nice and mellow and wait a couple of days before visitors start to flood the house. This keeps the dog's anxiety down and probably Momma's also. Dad needs to do all he can to keep the dog's normal routine intact, as a consistent schedule will help the dog adjust to the new happenings in the home.

I have also found it helpful for one of the parents to give the dogs some attention when the other parent is spending time with the baby. This will help to keep any resentment from forming in the dog. Keep in mind, that quiet special time you are spending with the baby could very well be similar to the time you spent with the dog before the child's arrival. The dog is going to need that special time in order to feel they aren't being left out or neglected.

Like all things dog, a little pre-planning can go a long way. Now, for some dogs, none of this may be necessary. However, I would rather take a little time in advance rather than have to deal with a tragedy later.

One Last Thing ...

Please, people, never leave a small child alone with your dog. Not even for a minute. I don't care how well behaved the dog is. It's simply not worth the risk.

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

They (dogs) are better than human beings, because they know it, but do not tell.

~ Emily Dickenson ~

An Animal's Friend

When you speak to Krista Brooks, you can feel an incredible energy and passion emanating from her voice. It only takes a couple of minutes speaking with this woman to start to feel good about the things around you. It is no wonder she is able to capture the whimsical nature of the animals she paints.

Krista is a graduate of Georgia State University where she received a BFA in graphic design, which bled into her passion…all things vintage.

She would often go without lunch in order to buy books featuring vintage design collections. She loved it all. Opulent cigar label lithographs of the early 1900's, sleek and elegant Art Deco posters and packaging, images on vintage matchbook covers.

When she first moved to New Mexico in 1995, she faced an apartment of bare walls. She decided to decorate in her favorite style and since she couldn't afford the real thing, she turned to her book collections.

"I poured through my books and found the images I loved best, then painted them large, on masonite or old wood and antiqued them," Krista explains.

A couple of years later Jason Suttle, a friend knowing she was an artist (and a starving one at that), asked if she would do a painting of his Jack Russell named Fergus. Krista loved the idea and when Jason told her to just do whatever she wanted, she loved it even more.

"I figured why not do it as a beer label, Flying Fergus Pale Ale - Good Dog Good Beer, with his little dog leaping through the center," says Krista.

Jason loved the end result and so did everyone else, so she started taking commissions in the spring of 1998. "Jason was such a doll, he lent the painting back to me every weekend to take up to the flea market (just north of Santa Fe) so I would have something to show," she explains.

Krista is also active with animal rescue causes. She donated a number of her prints to Paws for Change and the Chongqing Dog Project. Without her unsolicited help, the first few dogs rescued from China may never have made it to the States.

Her artwork can now be found in stores and galleries from New York City to San Francisco. However, you don't have to search the galleries trying to find her work. All you have to do is go to her web site, www.retropets.com to see her entire collection and order your favorite prints.

Nowadays, instead of taking commissions, Krista concentrates her time on making new prints. Dogs are center stage right now but she plans to add cats, horses, pigs and even birds to the Retro Pets gang. As Krista puts it, "I'm drawing as fast as I can!"

Take my advice here folks. If you are looking for some incredible and unique artwork for your home or as a gift for family and friends, stop by and see Krista first. Believe me, you won't be disappointed.

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No Joke

Useful Household Tips

No joke this week, but I thought these were pretty cool so I thought I would pass it on.

Drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately--without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional pain "relievers."

Did you know that Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns?

Before you head to the store for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints.  They'll clear up your stuffed nose.

Achy muscles from a bout with the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.

Sore Throat?  Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 Tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka- Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly--even though the product was never been advertised for this use.

Eliminate puffiness under your eyes... All you need is a dab of preparation H, carefully rubbed into the skin, avoiding the eyes. The hemorrhoid ointment acts as a vasoconstrictor, relieving the swelling instantly.

Honey remedy for skin blemishes... Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a band-aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile and speeds healing. Works overnight.

Listerine therapy for toenail fungus... Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

Easy eyeglass protection... To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear nail polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.

Coca-Cola cure for rust... Forget those expensive rust removers. Just saturate an abrasive sponge with Coca Cola and scrub the rust stain. The phosphoric acid in the coke is what gets the job done.

Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer... If menacing bees, wasps, hornets or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.

Smart splinter remover... Just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue all over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue.

Hunt's tomato paste boil cure... Cover the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

Balm for broken blisters... To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine... a powerful antiseptic & Heinz vinegar to heal bruises. Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Rainy day cure for dog odor... Next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.

Eliminate ear mites... All it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear. Massage it in, then, clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 - days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Vaseline cure for hair balls... To prevent troublesome hairballs, apply a dollop of Vaseline petroleum jelly to your cat's nose. The cat will lick off the jelly, lubricating any hair in its stomach so it can pass easily through the digestive system.

Quaker Oats for fast pain relief... It's not for breakfast anymore! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.

* 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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