"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume I - Issue 7:  November 14, 2003
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  To Snip, or Not to Snip?
=>  Today's Quote
=>  Breed of the Week
=>  The Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  The Dog That Snored

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Everyone!

I won't drag on too long here as I would prefer everyone get to this week's article. As I mentioned last week, the biggest dog-purchasing season is on our doorstep. I wanted to get out some information so everyone, whether you already have a dog, or are planning to get one soon, can take the right steps to make it a successful venture.

I also would like to commend the United States Postal Service, (USPS) or should I say their customers. A while back, the USPS issued a limited run commemorative stamp called the Spay - Neuter stamp. It not only sold out, but is the second largest selling stamp in USPS history. Elvis got first ... go figure. Proceeds go to Spay/Neuter education. Very cool.

Have a great week everyone, and keep the letters and comments coming.



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To Snip, or Not to Snip?

This weeks article requires you to have either your dog where you can see him or a picture nearby. If this is not possible, I want you to picture your loving pooch's face in your mind. I'll give you a second ...

Now think about the love they have provided you, the silly way they do the things they do and the way they serve you as a companion and confidant. Can you see it? Are you feeling the love?

Now consider, that by the law of averages one of your loving dog's siblings, who is probably very much like your own, will be destroyed for no better reason than no one cared enough to save him. Methods used: gunshot, gas chamber lethal injection, the captive bolt method. (The captive bolt method requires a dog be placed in a stand where their head is locked in place. They then have a 86mm bolt "fired" into their head.)

Now look down at your beloved dogs. It could have been them.

Each year in the United States, over 1.5 million dogs are destroyed by government agencies. That would be like killing the entire population of Hawaii and then some. This doesn't count stray dogs that have been hit by cars or shot by farmers. This number is absolutely staggering to me.

With this in mind, I am often puzzled when people ask me if they should spay or neuter their dog. On the other hand, I too have heard all the myths about whether someone should wait until a dog is older to spay or neuter and the health and mental related problems the procedure can cause. Today, we're going to dispel some of those myths.

Myth #1  Puppies are too delicate to undergo surgical procedures and more likely to develop complications.

False. The truth is puppies heal much faster than adult dogs and require less surgical preparation. Adult dogs need to be restricted from food for 8-12 hours prior to surgery, whereas puppies require only a 2 hour restriction.

The anesthesia is by gas, and vital signs are monitored to ensure the dog is not suffering from stress during the procedure. Lower body fat ratios and bleeding in puppies make the procedure faster, easier and shortens post-operative recovery.

Myth #2  If I get my dog neutered when they are young, it will affect the health and size of my dog.

False. A while back, a study was conducted at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine which determinedthere are no difference in immune function, growth rates and final size, or urinary tract function and disease rates in juvenile versus adult spay/neuter cases. In fact, you will extend the life of your dog as they will not be susceptible to many of the fatal illnesses that kill older dogs like ovarian and uteran cancer, and testicular cancer.

Myth #3  Getting dogs fixed when they are young will make them lazy and affect their adult behavior.

False. Studies have shown that no undesirable behavioral conditions develop as a result of early spay/neuter. Additionally, undesirable behaviors such as urine marking, aggression, and roaming are much less likely to develop in dogs that were fixed as puppies. There are also absolutely no links between dog laziness and spay/neutering.

Myth #4  Dogs do not feel "complete" unless they have had a litter of pups.

False. Often in wild dog pack, less than half of the pack members are ever allowed to breed. The idea that one is not "complete" is a human emotional thought and not a factor of dog mentality.

Now that we've established there is no medical or emotional reason for not fixing your dog let's just look at a couple of "convenience" factors.

When a female dog goes into heat, she has only one thing in mind. Getting a little lovin'. They become incredible escape artists intent on finding their lover boy to meet their instinctual needs. Very often they run from their house and are picked up by the pound, hit by a car or injured by over zealous mates. Either way, the outcome can be very costly and could mean the death of your beloved family member.

When an unfixed male gets the scent of a female in heat, he too seems to loose his mind like a sailor fresh back from six months at sea. You run into the same issues as the female, but males also experience a few other hazards.

Male dogs become extremely aggressive towards other males when a female in heat is present. Dogs who have never been aggressive have been known to maime and even kill a competing male. They can also become aggressive towards people who try to interfere with the process. Either way, a lawsuit could be the end result.

Quite honestly, it's pretty simple. We have more dogs being born each year than we can care for. There are no medical or emotional drawbacks to the procedure, and, in fact, it will extend the life of your dog. You won't have to worry about being a contributing factor to the pet overpopulation problem.

Okay, look at your dogs again. Don't they deserve it?

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
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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.


We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.

~ M. Facklam ~


American Pit Bull Terrier

If ever there was a breed that got a bad rap, it is the American Pit Bull Terrier. (PB) Their mere name conjures up images of dog fighters and unprovoked attacks on innocent people out for their daily walks. While I will admit, the PB has committed such offenses so has the poodle and nearly every other breed under the sun.

There is no denying the PB has a long history of pit fighting thus the name. However, it is a known fact their development extends from the desire to produce strong hunting and guard dogs. There is a common dispute as to when exactly they were developed, so I won't hop into that hornet's nest, but modern lines are now clearly defined through the kennel clubs that currently recognize the breed.

The PB ranges from 18-26 inches at the withers and weigh from 30-60 pounds in their classic form. Some weigh as much as 100 lbs, but they are generally mixed with other similar breeds to get this effect. Their tales, by standard, are not to be cropped but it is allowed to crop the ears.

The ears were originally cropped to prevent other dogs in the pits from having something that could be grabbed and give them an advantage while fighting. I prefer not to crop tails and ears of any dog unless medically necessary. Think about it. What if when we were born our parents decided we would look better without thumbs?

They have an extremely muscular build and a prominent hourglass figure. Their necks are full and nearly as wide as their head. Their thick barrel chest gives them a powerful body builder look that is impressive to say the least. They have a dense coat that comes in a multitude of colors and shades.

While they are known more for being fighting dogs, the PB has been utilized for nearly every category of working dog there is. In fact, one of the most impressive Narcotic Detection K-9's I've ever seen works for U.S. Customs in Brownsville, Texas. There's also a PB named Banddog Dread, which has earned more canine working titles than any other dog in history.

They are proficient hunters, herders, guard dogs, detector dogs and companions. Their natural desire to please their owner makes them a suitable choice for nearly all working dog categories. They are easily trained but require a physically strong handler as a result of their own power, but one must not be heavy handed.

These naturally protective dogs are not the man-eaters the media would like you to believe. Actually, their aggressive tendencies stream more towards other animals and dogs and not humans. Even this can be corrected with proper socialization when the PB is young just like any other breed with the same tendencies. When raised and socialized properly, they are actually love mongers who like nothing more than pleasing their families.

With all these accolades in mind, it's still a fact that the PB is not for everyone. In fact, they aren't for most people for a couple of reasons.

This breed needs extensive daily exercise in order to maintain proper mental and physical health. They were bred to work and this is what they want to do. Denying them the ability to expend energy and work their muscles will cause frustration and destructive behavior. Therefore, if you can't commit a solid hour to hour and a half a day for exercise, this would not be a good choice.

I also don't recommend them for families with small children or who are planning to have small children. This is not because of their "aggressiveness" but for the very same reason I don't recommend toy poodles to families with small children. It's not the dog, it's the kid.

Look at it like this. Little Johnny comes tearing out of his bedroom with a giant metal toy truck and trips over the sleeping dog. The dogs natural reaction is to snap. In the case of a poodle, it means a poodle pancake. In the case of the PB, it could mean a significant injury to the child.

While it is now illegal in most countries, dog fighting is still a multi-million dollar industry. As a result, one must use caution when purchasing this breed. I strongly recommend they only be bought from individuals who show them competitively in recognized, club sponsored shows or competitions. This will help to eliminate the chance of purchasing a dog that comes from fighting stock.

The PB can make a wonderful addition to your family if given the right training and social skills. They do however require a bigger time commitment than other breeds and this must be a strong consideration when selecting the breed. Given the time and attention they deserve, the American Pit Bull Terrier is truly a class act.

Breed requested by J. Johnson, Fort Worth, TX

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.


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The Dog That Snored!

A couple had a dog that snored. Annoyed because she can't sleep, the wife goes to the vet to see if he can help. The vet tells the woman to tie a ribbon around the dog's privates and he'll stop snoring.

"Yeah, right!" she says.

A few minutes after going to bed, the dog begins snoring as usual. The wife tosses and turns, unable to sleep. Muttering to herself, she goes to the closet and grabs a piece of ribbon and ties it carefully around the dog's privates. Sure enough, the dog stops snoring.

The woman is amazed!

Later that night, her husband returns home drunk from being out with his buddies. He climbs into bed, falls asleep, and begins snoring loudly.

The woman thinks maybe the ribbon will work on him. So she goes to the closet again, grabs a piece of ribbon, and ties it around her husband's privates.

Amazingly, it also works on him! The woman sleeps soundly.

Later, the husband wakes from a drunken stupor and stumbles into the bathroom. He stands in front of the toilet, glances in the mirror and sees a blue ribbon attached to his privates. He's very confused, and as he walks back into the bedroom, he sees a red ribbon attached to his dog's privates.

He shakes his head and looks at the dog and says, "I don't know where we were or what we did, but, by damn, we got First and Second Place!"

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Thank You For Reading!  Have a Terrific Week!

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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 Aust, Master Dog Trainer & Creator:
The Natural Cooperative Training System (NCTS) for Dogs
The Instinctual Development System (IDS) for Puppies


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