"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume III - Issue 30:  October 21, 2005
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Canine Anxiety
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Five Lessons to Make Us Think About the Way We Treat People

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Christopher's Drool

Hey Everybody,

For the last few weeks, we have all been hearing about the dog flu which appears to be spreading across the world. In fact, for some reason, this virus has caused quite a stir in the canine world despite the fact it has a low mortality rate. It's most likely because of the avian flu which is a different creature all together.

Many people, particularly in the animal care industry ( kennels, groomers, dog walkers etc.) are saying the epidemic is being exaggerated by the media and it is affecting their business. Now, I don't doubt it isn't helpful for business but we really don't have the facts yet to know whether this is a real epidemic or just media blustering.

As a result, I am still strongly encouraging people to be cautious before taking your dogs to any animal care business or dog park. Make sure they are properly sanitizing their work areas and that your dog is getting a healthy diet. It will probably be months before we really know how bad this is dog flu is. In the mean time, play it safe and don't take chances.

I heard from another rescuer in New Orleans the other day. This individual is not someone who went there to help for a week or so. She has been there from day one and was one of the lead volunteers at the site she worked at.

When Wayne Pacelle and the HSUS started their “feed them in place” policy she went to senior HSUS leadership to complain. (For those of you who don't know what the feed them in place policy is, it was a decision to feed and water dogs found in abandoned homes rather than get them to safety.) Needless to say, she was told to get over it or leave.

She estimates at least three times the number of animals that were rescued were left in homes full of sewage and waste, only given food and water once by HSUS and are more than likely dead now. This as HSUS is pulling stakes, leaving the area and preparing for the release of their documentary which shows what a “great job” they have done saving animals.

According to her, the HSUS has plenty of resources to bring the animals in they simply, in her opinion, didn't want to spend the extra money to bring them in. How sick is that! Of course, as with all big disasters, we are moving on to more current issues and HSUS will most likely get away with fleecing disaster animals.

Hopefully, we won't let that happen. I am still asking everyone to write to their legislators and the IRS to demand a full audit of the HSUS's finances during this disaster. If we don't do it now, I believe they will simply pull the same crap when the next disaster happens. We simply cannot allow that to happen.

I didn't include a joke this week but put in a “Life Lesson” list I received recently. I normally wouldn't do this but it was so poignant I decided to include it. While I can't confirm the stories, they make their point rather well. I hope you enjoy them. They certainly made me sit back and go ... hmmm.

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

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



P.S. Hey, Mr. Pacelle! Where's the money?

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I have a 10 yr old poodle mix (llasa or ??) I bought him at around 4 weeks old from a 'seedy' woman selling pups out of her car.... (long story, won't go into details now) ...he had sarcoptic mange & I had a hell of a time getting him cured. A few years ago, when Muffy was only a year old, or so, I went to visit a friend out of town who couldn't have dogs in her place so another person took care of him for a month. It seems that this dog-sitter left Muffy in his car often whenever he was out and about. (I only found this out later)

I have taken Muffy with me in my car everywhere, but I never leave him alone in the car. However, no sooner do I turn off the ignition, he gets an anxiety attack & he is terrified he will be left. It only lasts for seconds until we get out of the car, but it drives me nuts.

In addition to this, we have moved in with my elderly mom (again in a new city) ... it's 2 yrs now ... whenever she even looks like she is going out, he starts barking like crazy ... of course, he does the same when I go out. The strange thing is this: If I am alone in the house with him & I leave he is quiet. The same goes for mom. The barking only occurs when one of us stays home with him.

Carole Chanin

Canine Anxiety

There's a certain level of anxiety in us all and it has a useful purpose at times. For me, I always get anxious at picture time and on my way to prostate exams. While I know I'll survive the process, I still seem to “pucker up” a bit in anticipation of such events.

Dogs are really not any different than us except they develop their anxieties by way of life experience or medical conditions and not as a result of media images and horror stories. Since we can't lay them on the couch and have them tell us their woes and fears, we must take an investigative approach to discovering the cause.

In the case of Muffy, it's pretty clear where and when the anxiety developed. Let's break it down a bit ...

Muffy didn't have a real healthy start as she was separated from her parents at far too young an age. I believe a puppy needs to be at least eight weeks old before being separated from its mother, siblings and initial human family. This allows them to develop a higher self-confidence level, which is necessary for them to adjust to their new family.

Additionally, she had mange. This is a very uncomfortable condition, which as the letter says, is a real pain in the rear to deal with. It often takes creams, pills, injections, blood draws and or a combination of these treatments. Kind of a hard start for the little gal.

By Carole's own admission, she spoiled her and worked diligently to make her feel loved and secure after a difficult first year of life. Based on what we know about the breeder, Carole was probably the first human to ever show Muffy any true affection and care. Unfortunately, Carole took a very extended leave and had to leave the dog with someone else who failed to be consistent with the customs Muffy had become comfortable with. It was after this leave the new behaviors began. Now after eight years, the behavior continues.

We have two different things going on here. First, let's address the car issue. I'm betting something may have happened to Muffy in the car during Carole's absence. It could have been too cold or hot outside. She may have been left there for numerous hours. She may even have been harassed by a neighborhood kid while left unattended in the car. We just don't know for sure.

What we do know is the anxiety starts when Carole shuts off the car, and lasts until Muffy gets out with her. The best thing we can do to remedy this is change the exit routine from the car. If turning off the car is the trigger, then call her into your lap before ever touching the key and give her a little love and encouragement. Carole may even have to open the door and allow the dog to get out next to the door before shutting it off. This will have to be done repeatedly in order to have an affect. Muffy will be distracted by the change and may initially not even realize she missed her chance to spaz.

The issue at home is caused by dominance. It stems from the absence from years ago, but I think, over time, it has become a way of obtaining attention from others in the house. I'm betting when someone else is left in the house with the dog after one of them leaves, the person remaining in the house gives the dog some sort of attention to stop the barking. If this weren't the case, the dog would bark when left alone as well.

The best thing to do for this situation is to have the person who remains in the house with the dog completely ignore the dog. It will quit barking eventually and when it does, then they can have some love. Again, the dog will learn if it wants to be loved up, it has to stop the insanity. By giving them attention when they bark we only reinforce the undesirable behavior. Nearly all anxiety in dogs is caused by life experience and can be treated through understanding and training. I have yet to have a dog I worked with not be able to work through the anxiety and be just fine. It just takes time and patience.

I have, however, heard of cases where dogs were simply neurotic nut cases. Often this is a case of chemical imbalance in the animal or issues of extreme neglect and abuse. There are medications that have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration to help relieve canine anxiety. Basically "puppy Prozac."

These medications should only be used under the close supervision of a medical animal behaviorist, and only after all other means of relieving their anxiety have failed. I hate to see a dog doped up because the owner is too lazy to spend the extra time to work out the anxiety naturally.

Just like people, dogs can relieve anxiety through exercise and proper diet. Whenever I work with a dog suffering from excessive anxiety and fear, I always recommend a strict exercise regimen. It works for dogs for the same reason it works for people. It also is just plain ol' good for the dog. I like the exercise to be conducted in the morning and to consist of a nice brisk walk or jog for twenty to thirty minutes. I then run the dog through his obedience paces and end with a little one-on-one love time. It doesn't hurt to repeat the process again in the evening.

You should also really look at your dog's diet. Look at your dog's food for unnecessary preservatives, colorants, and fillers. If you find your dog food filled with these things, you should look for a more natural food.

You should also eliminate any additional people foods from their diet. Many processed foods made for people are incompatible with a dog's digestive system. If they aren't feeling right, anxiety can quickly set in.

Dog anxiety can be a very trying thing to deal with. Proper nutrition, exercise and socialization to a multitude of stimuli at a young age, can be instrumental in preventing the condition and saving a heck of a lot of aggravation.

This article may be republished using the following attribution statement:

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: mailto:subscribe@Master-Dog-Training.com?subject=Subscribe VISIT NOW: http://www.Master-Dog-Training.com

Quote of the Week

"He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me... whenever... wherever - in case I need him. And I expect I will - as I always have. He is my dog."

~ Gene Hil ~

Mail Bag


Thanks so much for last week's newsletter. We were just talking about getting another dog to keep our current one occupied when we weren't home thinking it would stop him from chewing things up. Now we understand that is the wrong reason. We still plan to get another dog, but after we have fixed the one we have. Thanks again for a great newsletter.


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Life Stuff

Five Lessons to Make You Think About the Way We Treat People

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2 - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached...

It read:

"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away ... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies...

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The Obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Most importantly ... "Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like nobody's watching."

Enjoy life my friends. Make a difference for others and yourself. If we all did this, imagine how wonderful life would be.


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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 © 2005 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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