"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume III - Issue 33:  November 11, 2005
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool - Canine Flu
=>  Common Mistakes
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Breed of the Week - Jack Russell Terrier
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Actual Business Signs

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Christopher's Drool

Hey Everybody,

I have received a lot of letters from people worried about the canine flu we have all been hearing about. Some folks seemed a little paranoid about it so I wanted to put out a little information I have found.

This is a newly emerging pathogen, and researchers have very little information to make predictions about it. According to Dr. Cynda Crawford of the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, “Because dogs had no natural immunity to the virus, virtually every animal exposed would be infected. About 80 percent of dogs that are infected with the virus will develop symptoms.” She added that the symptoms were often mistaken for "kennel cough," a common canine illness that is caused by the bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria.

“Both diseases can cause coughing and gagging for up to three weeks, but dogs with canine flu may spike fevers as high as 106 degrees and have runny noses. A few will develop pneumonia, and some of those cases will be fatal. Antibiotics and fluid cut the pneumonia fatality rate.” Dr. Crawford said.

It is believed the fatality rate is between 1 and 10 percent.

The virus is an H3N8 flu closely related to an equine flu strain. It is not related to typical human flus or to the H5N1 avian flu that has killed about 100 people in Asia.

I have talked to a couple of people who are in veterinary care and they don't feel anyone needs to panic at this point. Personally, if we all take a few precautions I think we should be fine.

Make sure your dog is healthy. The healthier they are, the better they will fight of illness. Give the dog some vitamins, keep them hydrated and feed them a high quality food.

Be smart about where you take them during this whole thing. Avoid allowing them to come in contact with dogs you don't know. You might want to avoid the dog park, doggie day care and boarding since these areas are all linked to the infection. Wash your hands if you have handled another dog before greeting yours and playing with yours.

I know the holidays are coming and people will be shopping and traveling so avoiding day care and boarding kennels can present a problem. What I recommend is hiring a pet sitter to come to your home while you are away or having a trusted family member or neighbor come by. This way you decrease the chance of the virus getting to your dog.

I don't think this is going to be an issue too long as they seem to feel they will have a vaccine in fairly short order. I'll keep an eye out for the info and let you know what I find.

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

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



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Mr Aust,

We are planning to get a puppy after the first of the year and have been looking around for the right breed. After reading a couple of your past articles, I noticed you said most bad behavior is because of common mistakes people make with their dogs. What are those mistakes?


Common Mistakes

I have to admit that most of the people who come to me for training aren't necessarily looking for basic obedience training. Most have called because their dog has been digging up the yard, chewing things up, barking or some other type of undesirable behavior. In most cases, the behavior is the result of something they learned from their owner.

Now I'm obviously not saying the owner taught the dog to chew up all their shoes. What I'm saying is often some of the things we do out of love, can actually be sending our dogs the wrong signals. By knowing what things can trigger these instincts in the dog, you will have an easier time raising a well mannered dog.

A Dog is a Dog

You've heard me say it before, and I can't reiterate this enough, you have to treat a dog like a dog. I know we love them like our kids but they are dogs and deserve to be treated as such. To treat them any other way really isn't fair to the animal.


The success of bringing any new dog into a home starts with compatibility. You want to have a breed that will compliment your lifestyle. For instance, if you are looking for a lap dog, a Great Dane probably isn't going to be a wise selection. Now, I know that example is pretty obvious but I think you know what I mean here.

You also want to prepare your house. In the same manner you would baby proof a house and have a nursery ready when you get home, you have to dog proof the house and have their things set up before you go to pick up the dog.

You have to decide what is and isn't going to be acceptable behavior from your dog at all stages of their life. Once you have made that decision, you have to enforce it from the time the dog arrives home. For instance, if you know you aren't going to allow the dog to sit on the furniture when it is fully grown don't allow it to sit on your lap when it's a puppy.

Cause and Effect

Let's look at the example above so we have a better understanding. When we allow a puppy to sit on the couch with us, we have made this an acceptable behavior. Then when the dog gets big and we start to correct them for getting on the furniture, they become confused.

We have all heard the term, “rank has its privileges.” Nothing could be more true in the mind of the dog and those “privileges” mean everything to a dog. A dog isn't going to understand they have simply gotten too big to sit on the couch. In their mind, they have lost a privilege for no reason and thus, lost pack position. The result is they can often become resentful, which can lead to destructive behavior.

Dominance Games

Dominance games come in a couple of different forms so I am going to talk about the ones that seem to be the most common or popular. Before I do though, I am going to touch on what makes something a dominance game.

A dominance game is any game that will enhance or increase the prey drive instinct in a dog. In the majority of aggressive dogs I have worked with, dominance games had been played or encouraged by the owners. Some examples of dominance games are;

This is one I think we have all been guilty of at one time or another but is, unfortunately, one of the worst games we can play. You know the game, our dog has one end of their favorite toy and we have hold of the other. We make the dog wrestle for the object and usually end up giving it to the dog at the end.

Unfortunately, we are increasing the dogs prey drive and by letting them win, we are telling them it is okay to fight for something that is in our hand and that they are dominant over us and make the decisions. Often these dogs will snap at people when they try to take things away from the dog. Dogs must always understand they must drop whatever they have when they are told to - if for no other reason than safety.

Chase Game
This I generally see in homes with small children and a new puppy, but often it is the adult who will play this too. I'm sure we have all seen this one as well. The new puppy chases the baby or toddler around the yard biting at the seat of the baby's diaper. This too increases/works off the dogs prey drive and actually is telling the dog that it's okay to use their teeth and weight to overtake a person.

Rough Housing
This too is extremely common and generally happens when the dog is still a puppy and is done in a couple of different ways.

The first I will mention I like to call arm wrestling. This is when we play on the floor and the puppy attacks our hand, wrapping its paws around our forearm. We then allow it to gnaw on our fingers while we shake it around the floor. While they love this game (and it is fun for us too I will admit) it is teaching them it is okay to bite on people.

Next is the “Escape and Evade” game. This one holds a double whammy because it teaches the two worst behaviors all in one. The game is played with the dog and person facing each other squared off. The human then quickly runs off and gets the dog to chase them.

The human usually stops and try to psych the dog out again. This game I believe to be the cause of numerous dog bites on children because the child will inadvertently make a quick move, causing the dog to instinctively snap. Beyond that, it enforces to the dog it is okay to run from the owner and also makes it clear to the dog they are faster than us. If you have ever had a dog that has figured this out, you know what a pain that can be.

The “Little” Things

Now, I started out saying that we have to treat dogs like dogs. Some of these things may seem minor, but they can often be significant contributors to inappropriate behavior.

  • Keep the dogs out of your bed. I know a lot of people love to sleep with their dogs, but it truly is contradictory to the natural instincts of the animal
  • Have separate feeding times for the dogs and humans and never feed them off your plate
  • Never allow inappropriate behavior regardless of its severity or lack thereof
  • Look for EARLY signs of behavioral issues and get help for them immediately
  • Make sure they are healthy and there are receiving a nutritious diet

With a little preplanning and keeping to a well developed plan, you can avoid the common pitfalls and errors that many dog enthusiasts make in the development of their dog. Establish the lifelong ground rules the dog has to follow and keep those goals in mind as the dog matures. By doing so, you will only increase your chances of having a wonderful experience with your dog.

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: master-dog-training.com



Your story about your German Shepard was so beautiful. I was so touched by it, and passed it on to many friends. Thank you for sharing.

Cathy Markowich

Hello Chris:

Just a note to tell you how much I enjoy your newsletter. Well said and to the point. I have a not for profit rescue organization and our focus is Outreach. In East Tennessee we seem to take dogs in, chain them to a tree, and then let them have puppies, throw them out on the highways ... and you know the rest of the story.

We have a "Humane Society" and "Animal Control" nothing except us in the middle. Our Outreach focuses on helping the animals and teaching owners how to do better with their dogs. We also do spay and neuter, we pick up the animals, take them to the vets and do fund-raising.

In the meantime, keep writing your newsletter. It is a refreshing point of view.

Pat Stone, President/Founder
A Voice for Pets

Quote of the Week

Our dogs, like our shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well.

~ Bonnie Wilcox ~


Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terrier
(Parsons Terrier)

Now, I know the purists out there will be upset that I put Jack Russell (JRT) over Parsons Terrier since Parsons Terrier (PT) is the “correct” AKC recognized name for the breed. I decided that since the name recently changed and the majority of people still call it a JRT, then this is how I am going to refer to it. No letters please. ;)

Probably one of the most well known JRTs currently is Eddie. Eddie was the dog on the television sitcom, “Fraiser.” This dog made millions laugh with his antics that really are reminiscent of common JRT behavior.

This is an intelligent, high energy, devoted and loving animal. They are extremely inquisitive and playful and need to be trained and extensively socialized from a very early age. A JRT can become stubborn and really does need consistent and experienced handling. They will do well with respectful children and make a great family dog.

The JRT is not a breed someone should ever decide to get without doing some extensive research to make sure they have adequate time to devote to the dog. The JRT requires a lot of exercise and activities to keep them occupied, preferably with a nice secure yard to run in, to keep them from becoming destructive due to boredom.

I mentioned a secure yard for a couple of reasons. First, they have a strong prey drive and are great hunters. If they smell something they want to track down and it leads outside your yard, they will look for a way out. They have been known to climb chain link fences and a twelve inch JRT can easily jump over five feet.

The JRT can range in height from 12-14 inches (32-36 cm.) and can weigh from 13-18 lbs. (6-8 kg.) Overall, they are a relatively healthy breed. Some are prone to dislocated knee caps and inherited eye disease. They have a life expectancy of 14 years +.

The JRT was developed by Jack Russell, a clergyman, in the 19th century. It was developed to hunt small game by digging the animal out of its den. They were particularly successful with rabbits and foxes and their hunting abilities were incorporated into most breeding programs.

Now, you may be thinking, “Wow! That's a lot of work for such a little dog!” Well it can be. However, if you are prepared for a JRT and know a little bit about them in the beginning, you will find you have a wonderful little buddy. Their expressions and uncanny ability to look like they understand every word we say will keep you laughing. The devotion they exhibit will cheer up your day and their ability to learn tricks is amazing.

If you are considering getting a JRT for the first time, I would recommend getting one from a JRT rescue group. Dogs from these groups have often been given some training and been fine-tuned by people who know the breed. They are always willing to help match you with just the right dog, and give you tips along the way.

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Joke of the Week

Actual Business Signs

On an electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."

Outside a radiator repair shop: "Best place in town to take a leak."

In a non-smoking area: "If we see you smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."

On maternity room door: "Push, push, push."

On a front door: "Everyone on the premises is a vegetarian except the dog."

At an optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."

On a taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."

On a butcher's window: "Let me meat your needs."

On another butcher's window: "Pleased to meat you."

At a used car lot: "Second hand cars in first crash condition."

On a fence: "Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive."

At a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."

Outside a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We'll hear you coming."

Outside a hotel: "Help! We need inn-experienced people."

In a dry cleaner's store: "Drop your pants here."

In a vet's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"

On a music teacher's door: "Out Chopin."

At the electric company: "We would be delighted if you send in your bill. However, if you don't, you will be."

In a beauty shop: "Dye now!"

On the door of a computer store: "Out for a quick byte."

In a restaurant window: "Don't stand there be hungry, come in and get fed up."

Inside a bowling alley: "Please be quiet. We need to hear a pin drop."

On the door of a music library: "Bach in a minuet."

In the front yard of a funeral home: "Drive carefully, we'll wait."

In a counselor's office: "Growing old is mandatory. Growing wise is optional."

* Have a joke you'd like to submit 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 © 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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