"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 39:  November 12, 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 III
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  A Valentine for Osama
=>  The Atheist and the Marine

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Gang!

What a week! Had to have a little “procedure” on Tuesday. About three months ago, I got what I thought was a pimple on my eyelid. I didn't worry about it too much since I didn't have any photo shoots for GQ magazine planned anytime soon. However, this thing grew and grew and grew. To the point where it looked like I was growing a second head. (I called it “mini me”) Anyway, being the cheap arse I am, I decided to let the VA doctors deal with it.

So the eye surgeon looks at it and tells me it's sitting on a nerve so giving me a local anesthetic won't help. He suggests we reschedule to a time when I can be gassed and have someone to drive me home. Of course Mr. Macho here says, “No way! Lets just get it done.” Well, needless to say, it felt like they used a cinder block and butter knife to remove my little buddy from my face.

So, what does that have to do with this issue? Nothing! I'm just whining. So, if I sound a little off this week, I'm merely grieving the loss of my little friend.

I'm skipping the "Breed of the Week" article this week mainly because I feel like crap. However, it will be back next week. Actually, I am excited about next week's issue as it hits on a subject that just really gets me going. I threw in an extra joke for you this week though.

Couple of things for everyone this week.

Canadian officials in Ontario are working hard to push through aggressive Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). I have said it before and I will say it again, regardless of what you think about specific breeds, BSL doesn't work. It costs tax payers thousands with no effect. Let these geniuses know we, as responsible dog owners, aren't going to put up with it.

Go to: canadianvoiceforanimals.org/PitBull_Ontario.html and sign their petition. You may not think it affects you because you aren't in Ontario. Keep in mind that every time another city passes such legislation, others decide to give it a go. The next one could be your town.

Next, Avon is giving ten cents to breast cancer research every time someone goes to the link below and “pulls the rope.” Take a couple of seconds to go over and give it a yank. It's free and you'll feel good.


Finally, the Paws for Change 2005 Rescue Dog Calendar is ready and can be ordered today. I want to thank everyone who entered their dogs in the competition. It was tough judging the winners as there were so many fantastic submissions.

Now I'm sure I don't have to tell you that these calendars make a great Christmas gift for the dog lover on your Christmas list. Not only will you be giving them something they can use all year, you will get the warm and fuzzies from knowing all the proceeds go to helping local shelters with their programs and teaching humane, responsible education to kids. Go have a look and order a bunch. They're really cool.


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

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



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[Question repeated for Part III]


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 III

Community Involvement

Since starting this series, I have heard from many people who have told me stories about dogs in their neighborhood that run wild, terrorizing everyone. My first question to them has been, “So, what did you do about it?”

I am quite certain, if you saw a man hiding in the bushes outside a school, you would call the police in order to keep your community safe. Why is it then, people seem so reluctant to call Animal Control or the police when a potentially dangerous dog is at large and unattended? You can file a report with Animal Control, talk to the owner or even send an anonymous letter to them telling your concerns. You could even slip them my URL. ;-)

I never like to see a dog in the pound, but if it is between that and the safety of my family… see ya later doggie. Just as we are responsible for our own dogs, we are responsible for the safety of our community. If any dog has become a safety concern for our communities we are all responsible for being a part of the solution.

Calm and Cool

I had a celebrity client not long ago whose large dog was extremely aggressive and it didn't appear to be triggered by any one particular thing. The first day I met with them at their house, it was a bit of a carnival. There was a small film crew present and about a dozen other guests milling about.

The dog was sitting on his owner's boat behind the house. There was a sizable boat dock attached to the grounds. I was getting a little impatient, wanting to get started, so I walked down onto the dock and positioned myself so the dog had a clear escape route. I was still about fifty feet from the dog.

I started talking in a barely audible “baby voice” I knew the dog could hear, but not the spectators up on the lawn. In less than two minutes, the dog jumped off the boat and charged. I had no pepper spray or stick available. I had to keep my cool.

I took a non-aggressive stance and the dog stopped dead in its tracks, about ten feet from me. His owner then called the dog up to him and then sent the dog back to the boat. As the dog passed me on the way to the boat, he showed me a bit of teeth. I simply maintained my non-aggressive position and he went back to the craft.

I will admit, I did go to the bathroom afterwards and checked my britches for the undesirable. I was scared when the dog charged, but knew if I didn't stay calm, I was screwed. The most important thing I can say on this subject is, keep your cool.


I have been amazed by the number of people who have told me they think they need to stare down a dog or use a loud, aggressive voice when faced with a potentially dangerous dog. The fact is, this is the best way to ensure you get bit. Additionally, you should never “puff up,” scream, wave your arms or try to scare the dog off. If they were scared, they probably wouldn't be attacking out of the blue.

The Stance

So what exactly is standing in a non-aggressive manner? It is simply a matter of positioning our body in a manner a dog will understand we don't present a threat. Pretty simple. It's intended to be used when a dog has focused on you by way of a bark, growl or initial charge.

As soon as you realize you're the focus of an aggressive dog's attention immediately stop and turn your body at a 45 degree angle to the dog. Tilt your head slightly away from the dog and look at the ground. Be sure you can still see the dog in your peripheral vision. Stand absolutely still.

This position will be viewed as a submissive and non-threatening stance and dramatically reduce the chance the dog will actually bite. They may continue to growl and bark but continue to stay motionless unless you are certain the dog is sure to attack. More often than not, the dog will become bored and move on. Remember, stop, turn, drop your eyes and freeze.

Now if you have a dog with you, you have to add an additional step. This is the “secure the dog” step. This is done by reining the dog in close to your body and physically turning and holding their head so they can't stare down the other dog. Speak softly to your dog and try to keep them calm. If it is a toy or miniature breed, then pick them up and hold them.

If your dog and the attacking dog decide to mix it up, let it run its course and keep your wits. There is a way one person can separate fighting dogs, but is dangerous and better left to the professionals. The best thing you can do is keep your cool and call for help.

Useful Tools

When I became a cop, I used to worry about my sisters' and mother's safety. It's a crazy world and I used to tell them get pepper spray, a stick, something that would allow them to protect themselves in a pinch.

These same items can keep you safe when a dog is attacking. Now, I'm not talking about a dog that's just growling, circling or eyeballing you. I am talking about a dog that has started to charge and is less than five to ten feet from you with no sign of stopping.

Pepper spray has been proven to be extremely effective against attacking dogs. It can disable them for several minutes and has no long lasting ill effects except with dogs that may have an allergy to peppers. When I was pepper spray certified while I was an officer I had to be sprayed. Believe me, it sucks! Aim for the “between the eyes area” and test your sprayer once you buy it to be sure of how it projects.

A stick can also be helpful when faced with the determined aggressive dog. Now despite what you may think, it is not to beat the beast over the head. It is to “feed” into the dog's mouth and give them something to bite other than you.

It should be at least 24 inches (.6 meters) and be a soft wood like pine. Try to keep it in your hand, so if they try to spit it out, you can re-feed it if they attempt to bite again. Most dogs will hold fast and allow you to at least make a break for cover.

Common Sense

This is a big area I think is missed in bite prevention. I have touched on it in previous weeks but let's be real here. If you don't know a dog WELL, treat it with respect. Realize it is not yours and it's also not a stuffed animal. Dogs can have all the insecurities of people and I am more than positive they hate to have “Aunt Mable” come and pinch their cheeks.

When we meet a new dog, or even go to someone else's house who has a dog remember, the dog isn't yours. If the owner says, “don't feed them, pet them, touch their ears or get in their face, then don't. I don't give a crap how “dog savvy” you are, don't do it. I don't; neither should you.

Listen, if we all don't get smart about dog bite prevention, soon we could be in a real mess. Educate yourselves and your family. Take the steps to stay safe and keep your kids safe. If we work together, BSL will not be a consideration.

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

In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.

~ Edward Hoagland ~

Mail Bag

Thanks for all the Anti-BSL writing you've done, very thorough and hopefully will get through all those ignorant thick skulls!

Thanks, take care,
Howard M.

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Joke of the Week

A Valentine for Osama

Little Melissa comes home from first grade and tells her father that they learned about the history of Valentine's Day. "Since Valentine's Day is for a Christian saint and we're Jewish," she asks, "will God get mad at me for giving someone a valentine?

Melissa's father thinks a bit, then says "No, I don't think God would get mad. Who do you want to give a valentine to?"

"Osama Bin Laden," she says.

"Why Osama Bin Laden," her father asks in shock.

"Well," she says, "I thought that if a little American Jewish girl could have enough love to give Osama a valentine, he might start to think that maybe we're not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit.

And if other kids saw what I did and sent valentines to Osama, he'd love everyone a lot. And then he'd start going all over the place to tell everyone how much he loved them and how he didn't hate anyone anymore."

Her father's heart swells and he looks at his daughter with newfound pride.

"Melissa, that's the most wonderful thing I've ever heard."

"I know," Melissa says, "and once that gets him out in the open, the Marines could blow the CRAP out of him!

The Atheist and the Marine

A college professor, an avowed Atheist, was teaching his class. He shocked several of his students when he flatly stated that there is no God, the expression, "One Nation Under God" was unconstitutional, and further, he was going to prove there is no God.

Addressing the ceiling he shouted: "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform.  I'll give you 15 minutes!"

The lecture room fell silent.  You could have heard a pin fall. Ten minutes went by.  Again he taunted God, saying, "Here I am, God. I'm still waiting."

His countdown got down to the last couple of minutes when a Marine just released from active duty and newly registered in the class walked up to the professor, hit him full force in the face, and sent him ass over teacups from his lofty platform. The professor was out cold! At first the students were shocked and babbled in confusion.

The young Marine took a seat in the front row and sat silent. The class fell silent ... waiting.

Eventually, the professor came to, shaken. He looked at the young Marine in the front row.  When he regained his senses and could speak he yelled, "What's the matter with you?  Why did you do that?"

"God was busy, so he sent me."

* 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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