"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume I - Issue 2:  October 10, 2003
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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A warm, "WELCOME!" to all of our new readers!

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Pulling on Leash
=>  Breed of the Week
=>  Reply to My Human Master

Christopher's Drool

I received some wonderful responses to the premier issue last week, with many questions and breed suggestions for the "Breed of the Week article." I promise to get to them all but will work on a first-come-first-served basis.

Please continue to send your thoughts and questions. I truly want to provide all of you with information you can use today to improve the behavioral aspects of your dog.

Unfortunately, I had a huge problem with my server last Tuesday, Wednesday and most of Thursday. My email was going up the nose! For parts of all three days, I was unable to receive email. I could send email, but I couldn't receive any.

If you've sent me any email and I haven't responded to your message, this is why. If you happened to UNsubscribe, I may not have received the request. Please try again. Some email was rescued, but not all of it!

The end result of all that mess was that I changed servers. Everything's working like clock work now, but sheeeez! I thought computers were supposed to make our lives easier! BAH!

I'm hoping to have my book finished in the next couple of weeks so I'll keep everyone posted on how it is going. Keep sending the questions, suggestions and comments. I love to hear what everyone is thinking. Have a great week!

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I'm the owner of two miniature Schauzers - one 3 years, the other over 12 years. I love them with all my heart and we have a great relationship.

However, as with all the dogs I've owned in my many years on this earth, I have never known how to train them to walk properly on a leash. They simply pull me around at their will, doing their toileting and investigating everything on the sidewalk, lawn or field around my house. Can you help me teach them that pulling on a leash is a no-no?

Thanks so much.
Patty Graham

Pulling on Leash

At one time or another, we've all experienced having our dog drag us down the street while we were taking what was supposed to be a leisurely stroll. It's not only tiresome and embarrassing but hard on the extremities as well. This is not only one of the most frequent problems I see, but also a relatively easy one to fix.

Most dogs will pull on the leash for one of two reasons. They are either attempting to exert dominance, or they are under exercised. Nine out of ten times it's the latter, but, either way, the solution will be the same.

All too often the majority of our dogs exercise is derived from the daily walk. In most cases a thirty minute walk through the park is just not enough for many breeds. Keep this in mind.

The first thing we must consider when dealing with this behavior is the equipment we're using. Often, a problem in training or behavior, and not just pulling on lead, can be the result of not having the proper equipment for the task.

We've all seen someone, or perhaps done it ourselves, hammer a nail into a wall with the handle end of a screwdriver. It may get the job done but, lets face it, a hammer would have been a hell of a lot easier.

All of my personal dogs are worked on a standard choke chain. While many people claim choke chains are harmful to the dog, it's usually because they've placed it on the dog's neck incorrectly, or they are abusive with it's use. In almost thirty years, I've never had a dog injured as a result of their use.

I do not recommend the use of standard collars or pinch collars due to safety concerns. I've seen and heard too many stories of dogs slipping out of their collars when they tug backwards and being injured by traffic or other dogs. They also offer no control. As for pinch collars, also known as German choker, they are cruel and can easily kill your dog. They are actually more dangerous than shock collars!

Leashes should be no longer than six to eight feet and made of leather or nylon. Never use retractable leashes! They not only contribute to leash pulling but also limit your ability to reign your dog in quickly in an emergency situation. A six to eight foot leash gives the dog ample room to move around out in public, without sacrificing safety.

Next we need to decide where we want our dog to be when we're out walking. If I'm only walking one dog, I prefer to have him walk in the heel position on my left side. I do this as my right is my strong arm, and the one I will hold the leash with.

When the dog is in the walking heel position, his front shoulder should parallel to my knee His head and neck should be the only thing in front of my body.

Now, when we work on pulling, we're not going to give any type of verbal correction. None. Taking dogs for their walk is a treat for the dog, and we don't want to make it something they dread. It's better for dog to learn by way of Natural Consequence. This is why there's no correction used.

Start out by finding an area approximately 10' x 10'. Place your dog in the heel position at your side. Starting with the leg closest to the dog, begin to walk in a circle keeping the dog on the inside of the turn. In other words, if your dog is on the left, go counter clockwise.

With each step made by the left leg, you need to cut the dog off by stepping in front of him. Repeat the command, "Heel," every time you step with the leg closest to the dog. Use your leg to “push” the dog back while making the circle. (Please don't slam your knee into the dog.)

After making three or four complete circles, reverse the direction of your circle to a clockwise direction. If the dog begins to take off in front of you as you are circling clockwise, simply stop, bring him back to you and begin circling counter clock wise again. Repeat this process at least three times.

Next, start walking in a straight line. As the dog begins to move in front of you, simply do a 180 degree turn, walk the other way and say, "Heel." If the dog begins to move out in front of you again, turn around again.

It's also good to do 90 degree turns to the right and left just to mix things up and keep the dog on his toes. Periodically, stop completely and have the dog sit in the heel position.

By doing these directional changes and circles, the dog will learn to stay close and watch you in order not to end up being pulled himself. It will also reinforce your position as the Alpha (leader) in the family pack.

This article may be republished using the following attribution box:
Copyright ©2003 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

Have a question you would like to see answered in this newsletter? I'd like to have your questions be the primary focus of future articles. So, come on. Send them in! Click below to send your question.


The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.

~ Carlyle, in Heroes and Hero Worship ~


Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a beautiful old breed that is recognized in the hound group. They range from 24-27 inches at the withers and weigh from 65 to 90 pounds depending on the sex.

Their name is a result of the unusual characteristic of a clearly defined ridge that runs the length of their back. The ridge is formed as a result of hair, which grows against the grain of the coat. Their coat is relatively short and requires minimal grooming. The coat ranges in color from a light tan to a rich rust, and they tend to be average shedders

The head is long and flat with a pronounced jaw and muzzle. Their nose is normally brown or black and seems to depend on the color of their coat. They have well developed tooth structure and a powerful bite. Their eyes seem to have a quizzical expression and are round and bright. Their legs should be straight, powerful and large boned.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback, also known as the "African Lion Dog," finds it origins in Africa, predominately South Africa, and can be dated back to the 15th century. They're a mix of several breeds, many of which are not known to the "modern world."

They are terrific hunters with a strong prey drive and incredible stamina. They can be very protective of their owners, however, they are also characterized as calm and gentle in the home.

They are intelligent animals that are easily trained. As they get older they have a tendency to be a bit stubborn, so training should be started at a very early age. Some breeders suggest that some Ridgebacks don't do well with children since children can play too rough. However, that hasn't been my experience.

Nevertheless, they are extremely strong, and they are not recommended for individuals who are not equally strong. They respond well to consistent and easy-handed training, but socialization to many different environments is highly recommended.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have been used for many different things. They were imported into the western world in the 17th century and have performed as hunters, retrievers, watch dogs and companions. In Africa, they were used in packs to protect against and hunt for lions, thus the other name, African Lion Dog.

As a result of their breeding and genetic make up, they are well suited to nearly all climates with the exception of extreme cold. They have few health problems, however they do have a tendency to develop hip dysplasia and cysts. They have a life expectancy of eleven to thirteen years.

Breed requested by Sue Defiore

Have a breed you would like to see featured in the newsletter? Give me a holler and we'll get it featured as soon as possible.


Some days, you're the dog; some days, you're the hydrant.

~ Unknown ~

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Letter to My Human Master

My Dear Human,

In response to your letter, I have written some things that have been bugging me for some time. I just needed to let you know. Maybe with understanding we can get along better. These are the things that annoy me ...

 1. Blaming your flatulence on me ... not funny ... not funny at all.

 2. Yelling at me for barking ... I AM A DOG!

 3. How you naively believe that the stupid cat isn't all over everything while you're gone. Have you noticed that your toothbrush tastes a little like cat spit?

 4. Taking me for a walk and then not letting me check stuff out. Exactly whose walk is this anyway?

 5. Any trick that involves balancing food on my nose ... stop it.

 6. Yelling at me for rubbing my bum on your carpet. Why'd you buy carpet?

 7. Getting upset when I sniff the crotches of your guests. Sorry, but I haven't quite mastered that firm handshake thing yet.

 8. How you act disgusted when I lick myself. Look, we both know the truth, you're just jealous.

 9. Dog sweaters. Hello ... have you noticed the FUR?

10. Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons. Now you know why we chew your stuff up when you're not home.

11. When you pick up the poop in the yard. Do you realize how far behind schedule that puts me?

12. Taking me to the vet for "the big snip," then acting surprised when I freak out every time we go back.

13. The sleight of hand, fake-fetch-throw. You fooled a dog! What a proud moment for the top of the food chain!

Love you anyway,

Your Dog

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

Thank You For Reading!  Have a Terrific Week!

Don't forget to send your comments, questions and suggestions on the BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter to:


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The BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter is published by Christopher Aust Copyright © 2003 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 S. Aust, Master Dog Trainer & Creator:
The Natural Cooperative Training System (NCTS) for Dogs
The Instinctual Development System (IDS) for Puppies


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