"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 37:  October 29, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Bite Prevention, Part 1
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Good to be You
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  The Missing Ship

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Gang!

Keeping it short again this week in the Drool section, so let me get right to it.

There have been a couple of puppy mills found over the last few weeks that were gearing up for Christmas sales. Now, you have all heard me say Christmas isn't the best time to buy a puppy, and this is just a fine example of why. If you are going to buy a dog for Christmas go to the shelter first, or deal with a reputable breeder.

I am getting close to finally finishing my book and I think you are going to really like it. It is definitely not your average “training book.” I hope to have it ready by the first of the year.

If you have been feeling the desire to hear my angelic voice, you will have the opportunity on November 6, 2004 when I will be a guest on The Dog Dish radio show on 590 AM radio out of Los Angeles. The show is at 4:00 P.M. Pacific Standard Time. Regardless of where you are, you can listen to it online. Stop by and feel free to call in as well.


Next week, I am starting back up the Breed of the Week article again. So, if you want to see your breed, or one you are interested in featured, shoot me a quick email and let me know. I would rather do a breed someone wants to hear about rather than pick one out of the hat. Remember, I want this newsletter to be about what you want.

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

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



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I want you to know I am really pissed about your position regarding BSL. (Breed Specific Legislation) Are you so daft or blind you don't see all the stories about Pit Bulls and Rotties attacking people almost everyday! Something has to be done and comments from “respected” professionals like you, are taken seriously by the general public.

You have a responsibility to get out the TRUTH! On this issue, you have seriously failed. I will unsubscribe to this newsletter because I have no desire to hear from someone with little and or no responsibility to the human populace while placing the dog as some sort of divine being.

Name Withheld

Bite Prevention, Part 1

When I first read this email, you can bet I was ready to fire back with the venom I reserve only for the truly ignorant. I was so angry I literally turned off the computer and decided to read my newest Dean Koontz book. I read my book for about an hour but couldn't begin to tell you what I read.

However, as I read my book, I thought about the true nature of the subject. What brought on Breed Specific Legislation? (BSL) Why is it necessary, and what caused it? I received this email this morning. (October 25, 2004) I had already written this week's article but decided to change it. I guess I will be up on the newsletter next week.

I wrote an article about BSL several months back which you can read by going to master-dog-training.com/archive/021304.htm To write about it again would be a waste of time as I stand behind that article. Instead, I decided to write about the core issue of BSL. Dog bites and their cause.

Government Statistics

Let's look at the facts.

According to the CDC:

“Injury Center researchers examined data about deadly dog attacks that occurred during 1979–1998. They found that at least 25 breeds of dogs had been involved in the fatal attacks. Of the 227 fatal attacks for which data were available, more than two-thirds of attacks involved a single dog, and more than half involved dogs that were unrestrained on their owner's property. The findings of this study provide insight into the circumstances surrounding deadly dog attacks that may help shape prevention efforts.”

Additionally, they say that sixty percent of dog bites that result in death and disfigurement are on children under the age of six. The majority were from dogs that knew the victim fairly well and had no previous aggressive propensities. So why does it happen?

Overall, I am a fairly passive person when it comes to physical confrontation. It isn't because of a fear of being hurt or a lack of ability. I was well trained to protect myself by the military and as a police officer, and I'm comfortable with my abilities to protect myself. I simply prefer not to have to soak my knuckles in buckets of ice.

I hate violence. Anyone who enjoys hurting someone else, I think, has a screw loose. However, I would have no problem duking it out with anyone under the right conditions. For instance, if someone was attacking a loved one. If they were invading my home or came up and attacked me with no provocation, I wouldn't hesitate to defend myself. You can bet your bootie I would make that individual's decision one they would seriously regret.

I truly believe, and my experience has shown, that most dogs, regardless of breed are the same way. There are exceptions in individual dogs, again, regardless of breed, that are the result of improper breeding, raising and lack of socialization. There are also those dogs that are just a little “out there.” You know what I mean… I think just about every family has a crazy aunt or uncle who talks to their coffee cup and wears their pants backwards.

Breed Selection

We have all heard the saying, “ There is dog for everyone.” However, not every breed is for everyone. If I were going to buy a dog to keep my grandmother company because she can't get out and isn't very mobile, I wouldn't select a Labrador Retriever. They require extensive exercise and, if they don't receive it, they can become frustrated and destructive, and this can lead to aggressive behavior.

At the same time, if I had limited dog experience, a hectic schedule and small children, I wouldn't get a Belgian Malinois. They have a strong drive, not to mention their physical strength, and require consistent training and socialization, particularly when it comes to children and other dogs.

Often I work with people who simply made a poor choice when they selected their dog. For instance, if you weigh 100 lbs., (46 kg.) you might want to reconsider getting a Saint Bernard. At the same time, if you have small children who can “be a handful,” a toy poodle may not be the best pick either.

Take the time to really look into any breed you are considering before you make a final decision. Talk to your vet, breeders, or a behaviorist to get their opinions. Read up on the breed online, and don't rush the decision.


Socialization is the single most important factor that is missed when we raise our dogs, and there really is no excuse for it. These days, we have dog parks, doggie day care and I think just about everybody knows somebody else who owns a dog. Take them with you on outings so they can become familiar with different sights, sounds and people. The more they become comfortable with the “unknown,” the less likely they are going to freak out when faced with something new.


I'm not talking about sit, down, stay and come here. I am refering more to the social graces. If your dogs flip whenever someone knocks on the door, teach them not too. If they rush at anyone new who comes to the house, aggressively or not, train it out of them. Don't allow them to “mouth” human hands or feet, any body part. These can all lead to misunderstanding.

Train your children! With 60% of all dog bites happening to children six years and younger, by dogs that know them, this is a tell tale sign of the reason for the bite. We have to remember it is against a dog's instincts and nature to attack a “puppy” in their pack, unless they have been raised to be aggressive.

For all of us who have, or have had, small children, we know they rarely fess up to doing something wrong the first time they are asked. According to CDC reports, it is difficult to determine what triggered the bite in a small child because of this and the fact that the bites usually occur when the child and dog were left unattended. For all we know, the child could have pulled the dog's tail or ears, or slammed them in the head with a Tonka truck. So, teach your child well, and never leave them unattended with any animal.

Types of Aggression

There are generally four types of aggression. They are fear, dominance, prey drive and territorial. Each are instinctual in every dog, however, certain breeds will have one or another that is stronger than in other breeds.

For instance, a toy breed may exhibit more fear aggression and a herding dog may have stronger territorial drive. This doesn't mean every toy breed will be a fear biter and every herding dog is going to attack everyone who walks on your property. It simply means we need to acknowledge this, and take appropriate steps to prepare for it.

Fear Aggression

Fear aggression is just what it sounds like. The dog becomes aggressive whenever they are scared. Pretty simple. This can be avoided through socialization and checking our the behaviors we, as their owners, exhibit under certain conditions.

I often work with clients with small breed dogs that are fear aggressive. When you think about it, it kind of makes sense. How would you feel if you lived in the land of giants? Beyond that, many owners of small breeds increase the dog's fear by over protecting them.

If you know your dog is nervous around children, the worst thing you can do is not properly socialize them to them. Unfortunately, what most owners will do is either isolate the dog from the children, or pick them up when a child comes near. The latter is the worst of the alternatives.

If you pick up a small dog when it is scared of someone because you are nervous, you have compounded the problem. Remember the dog is scared. Now you get nervous and swoop the dog up in your arms to protect it. You think the dog can't sense your fear? Heck yes they can! Now the dog knows their Alpha, their protector is also scared and their fear increases of whatever it was that triggered the response.

Some people say, “What if I'm out and some kid charges up to my dog? I don't want my dog to get hurt or the child to get bit.” My general response is grow a set and take charge. When kids run up to my dog I simply yell at them to stop, and I have no problem doing it with authority. Then, I will allow them to approach respectfully and pet the dog. If the parents don't like it, oh well.

The same applies to bigger dogs. If you buy Lab or German Shepard to stay safe on your daily jog or walk, don't allow yourself to get all freaked out everytime someone approaches. In a study conducted by Police Magazine several years ago, they interviewed several convicted felons who were in jail for crimes against persons and residential burglary. When they were asked what the single biggest deterent was to prevent them from commiting their crime, they said a dog 90 % of the time. Just relax.

Dominance Aggression

Dominance aggression is the result of poor pack protocol and a lack of proper socialization or abuse. There is simply no excuse for it. You are the Alpha and so is every human in your home. You make the rules, and never allow the dog too. Never accept any type of aggressive behavior.

I am sure many of you have heard that many people who are abused grow up to be abusers. No difference in dogs. If you are whacking them with a newspaper and smacking them around to establish your Alpha status, what do you think the dog is going to do when they are older, and they have a new dog come around or a baby is introduced into the home. It's just common sense.

Prey Drive Aggression

Prey drive is a dog's natural instict to chase, bite and hold. It is present in all dogs regardless of breed and, as the name implies, it is what makes them capable of hunting for food. In domestic dogs we allow them to express it through a game of fetch or Frisbee.

We have all seen a puppy chase a toddler and nip at their diaper, blanket or a toy they are carrying. This behavior should never be tolerated regardless of the dog's age. By allowing it to happen, we are teaching the dog it is acceptable to chase people and use their teeth to stop them. This will also bleed over to dog and cat chasing as well. Don't do it.

Territorial Aggression

Again, this is just what it sounds like and it is critical it be addressed. Don't allow your dog to bark at or charge people passing your property or coming to the door. Correct them, banish them, but never allow it to happen. Believe me, if someone is trying to get into the house at midnight, they will let you know.

Next week we are going to go over what to do when we are faced with an aggressive or unknown dog. There are very direct things to look for and steps to take to prevent being bitten by an unknown dog.

Remember, it isn't the breed, it the deed of the owner that determines whether a dog is a danger.

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
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Quote of the Week

They [dogs] never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation.

~ Jerome K. Jerome ~

Good to be You

You know, every once in a while I run into someone who does some phenomenal things for the dogs in our world. Lee Romano Sequeira is just such a woman, and I wanted to give her kudos for her dedication.

A life long animal owner, Lee has always been active in protecting the animals that surround her. You name it and she has owned it at one point in her life or another, many of which were rescues she lovingly brought into her home to give a nurturing forever home.

A long time volunteer at her local shelter, she has worked hundreds of hours to help socialize, train, feed, groom and find loving homes for these much deserving animals. She has even adopted dogs herself that wouldn't normally be adopted due to their age or special needs to include one of her current pack. A fourteen-year-old Yorkie that believes she is the town mayor.

Currently, she is the owner of goodtobeyou.com which has made it more difficult to donate time to her local shelter, however, she isn't out of the game. She is a big financial contributor to several animal organizations and has even offered specials where a percentage of her sales go directly to animal welfare organizations. Anyone who works online knows this is a pretty cool thing to do, particularly this time of year when sales can be a real downer. I don't know about you, but to me, this takes a special person with a real dedication to the animals around us.

Lee started goodtobeyou.com, as she puts it, “I've always had a love for feminine things. You could say I'm a girly girl.” Her product line is a combination of high quality brand name spa, bath and beauty products and accessories that are fun, chic, trendy and most importantly, affordable. They are geared towards “the pampered princess in all of us,” but she also has a fantastic array of products for dogs and the “prince” in your life.

I want everyone to know something else. This is in no way a paid ad. In todays' world, there are so many people who talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Lee Romano Sequeira walks the walk. Her compassion, charity to dogs, both financial and in time, are something we should all aspire to emulate.

Get over to her site, and do some Christmas shopping. She has it all, and you will know you will be helping the animals at the same time.


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Joke of the Week

The Missing Ship

A magician on a cruise liner had a parrot, who'd seen all the magician's tricks a jillion times, long ago having figured out how the magician made everything in the act disappear. The parrot got bored; his owner was growing stale and not developing any new tricks the parrot could figure out.

One night in the middle of the magician's performance, the ship hit an iceberg and sank. Everyone drowned except the magician and the parrot. The magician managed to swim to a piece of wreckage and climb aboard, immediately collapsing from exhaustion.

Soon afterward, the parrot flew to the magician and perched on the edge of the makeshift raft and stared at the magician. And stared. And stared.

For a whole day the magician was unconscious, and all this time the parrot didn't take his eyes off him. Eventually the magician started to stir. Looking up, he saw the parrot, still eyeing him intently, not even blinking.

Another hour goes by, and finally the parrot squawks, "Alright, I give up. What did you do with the damn ship?"

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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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