"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume II - Issue 42:  December 3, 2004
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...
Internet Toy Drive
Listen to:
"Children are the Very
Heart of Christmas"

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=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Life with the Chongqing Dog
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Breed of the Week - Alaskan Malamute
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Zen for Those Who Take Life too Seriously

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Gang!

Okay, who was as dumb as me and attempted to do their Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving? You would think I would know better by now as every year I say “never again.” As usual though, I chose to go be part of the cattle call standing in line before the stores opened so I could save a few measly dollars. Not next year! (right!)

The Paws for Change calendar is still available and we have quite a few orders. Time for Christmas is drawing near and these things make a wonderful and unique gift for the dog lover in your life or just a treat for yourself. Lets face it, we all need a calendar so why not get one that helps the furkids. Go check them out at:


Recently, I heard about a couple of unique programs going on in two different prisons. One is in California and the other is in Kansas. In these programs, inmates are teamed up with dogs that are scheduled to be euthanized at local shelters. The prisoners, under the guidance of professional trainers, train and socialize the dogs, which are then adopted to forever homes. They are completely self-sufficient and cost the taxpayer nothing.

The great thing about these programs is not only that the dogs are “pardoned” until they are able to find new homes, but also the affect it has had on the prisoners involved. Prison violence is down among participants. The prisoners are calmer, less rebellious to prison staff and many, who were previously in opposing gangs, now interact more as colleagues than enemies.

In one of the programs (I wasn't able to confirm in the other), of individuals who have participated in the program and later been released back into society, none have been repeat offenders. Anyone familiar with repeat offender statistics will tell you that's a pretty amazing statistic.

You have heard me talk about the studies showing the healing affects dogs have on people with critical illnesses, depression and elderly in assisted care facilities. This is why so many medical facilities allow therapy dogs into their buildings.

Why does this seem to work with these inmates? Maybe, for some, it's the first time they have ever felt the unconditional love a dog can give. It could be the inmates can relate to these dogs since they were locked up like they are. I'm not sure what the reason, and I really don't care.

If these dogs can help reform even half the program participants while being saved from death themselves at the same time, I don't care why it works. I just hope more prisons explore the possibility of initiating similar programs. It's a win-win for everyone.

This week, I am featuring the Alaskan Malamute. The picture included in the article was supplied by the Idaho Alaskan Malamute Rescue. They are currently in desperate need of volunteers to help with their existing dogs. Additionally, they may have to move their shelter soon due to the land being sold by the owner. It will cost quite a bit to move and they really could use the help.

Please go to www.iamr.org to see how you can help. You can also contact Sherry Sutton at sherry@iamr.org for additional information or to inquire about one of their dogs.

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

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



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Hey Christopher,

I was really interested when you talked about the Chongqing coming to the US and have been excited about possibly getting one in the future. I know you mentioned a while back they had arrived in the States but I haven't heard you mention much about them since.

Are they living up to your expectations? What's their temperament like? How are they adjusting to the new environment, diet etc? Would really like to have an update on their progress.

Karen V.

Life with the Chongqing Dog

When I was first approached about the Chongqing Dog (CQD) project in 2002, I have to admit I was pretty excited, and also honored, about participating. I was also a little skeptical about being involved. There have been many rare breed dogs brought into the States only to prove to be a disappointment or not live up to their claims.

You have to keep in mind that dog ownership in China is a fairly new concept for the average citizen. Until about thirty years ago, few people in cities owned dogs in the way we do here in the Western world. There is limited veterinary care, pet supplies etc. These types of limitations made the process a little daunting.

So, we went to work with the club in China, which I am sure you can imagine, was a bit difficult at times due to the language barrier. In the year and a half we were evaluating the breed and preparing for the arrival of the first pair, there were literally hundreds of long correspondences back and forth.

We reviewed their breeding program. Remember, in the 1700 years we know this dog has been around definitively, the CQD has bred by way of natural selection until about twenty years ago. Despite their breeding experience, the club members in China did a fine job establishing their breeding program. I guess I shouldn't be surprised as many of their board members are extremely intelligent and their goal is preservation of the breed.

Well, I guess I should make a long story short and just cut to the arrival of Da Tou and Mei Zhu, the first CQD's outside Chongqing, China.

At the beginning of July this year, Da Tou (Day Toe), an eight month old male, and Mei Zhu (May Ju), a six month old female, arrived here to me from China. Considering they had been traveling for nearly two days, they were in pretty good shape.

Just like their previous owners and I, the dogs and I suffered briefly as the result of a language barrier, but that was relatively easy to overcome. Within two days, they had settled in well to their new home and becoming comfortable with the crazy blonde guy running around behind them.

They went to the vet on day three and were given a clean bill of health. Their hips and eyes were checked and their final vaccinations were given. They seemed great in all but one area. Nutrition.

Nutritionally, they were lacking. This could have been due to the stress of travel and the changes they experienced through shipping, we really don't know. The up side is it was easily handled by putting them on a healthy diet and some doggie vitamins.

After approximately ten days with me, Da Tou went to live with our Health and Wellness Director of Paws for Change, Kyla Sims. At his new home, he got to meet her cat and dog, an Akita named Sasha. Despite China's claims of them being aloof with other dogs and animals, we haven't experienced this. After minimal socialization, Da Tou has been fine, not only with Kyla's pets, but also all the dogs at the dog park.

Da Tou's Birthday
Da Tou's Birthday

Mei Zhu stayed here with me. She too has done well with the other animals inside and out of the house. She has a particular affection for our bird, who she will allow to ride on her back and who sits with her when she sleeps. The only time she has a problem with the cat is if she sees the cat staring at the bird while it's in its cage. Then she just runs her off. “Don't mess with my bird!”

Mei Zhu and Bird
Mei Zhu and Bird

They are extremely athletic and high energy when outside. Almost like a terrier. They are showing amazing potential as competitive agility, working and service dogs. They are super intelligent, alert and very easy to train. They are great with kids, and I understand why they use them as babysitters in China. They are watchful of people they don't know when they come into the house but warm up quickly once they are introduced. In public, they have no aversion to people they don't know approaching them to pet.

Unlike most terriers, they are fairly inactive indoors and on the quiet side. The only time I hear from Mei is if someone is coming down the long road off the highway towards the house. Even then, it is usually a quick little grumble and a hard stare towards the door.

They love the water! Mei more than Da Tou, but both had lots of fun this summer playing in the lake behind my house. In fact, neither needed any encouragement to go out in the water and play. When they got tired, they simply went to a shallow area and laid down right in the water.

Do they meet my expectations? They have exceeded them. I have rarely seen a breed that shows as much potential in so many different areas at such a young age. Now, they are still young and we will have to see how they continue to develop. However, if they continue to go the way they are, the sky seems to be the limit!

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
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Quote of the Week

I never married, because there was no need. I have three pets at home, which answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog that growls every morning, a parrot that swears all afternoon, and a cat that comes home late every night.

~ Marie Corelli ~

Mail Bag


Thanks for the Dog Broker article. We were getting ready to buy a dog from one when your article came out. I asked them some of the questions you posed and suddenly they quit answering my calls and emails. Go figure. We have decided on a shelter dog instead. Thanks for the sound advice.



Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute, which has been around for over 2000 years, is a Nordic dog descended from the Arctic wolf. Originally used by an Alaskan tribe, the Mahlemuts, the breed was highly prized and often the tribes only form of transportation. They were often used to pull supplies and were used by Admiral Byrd's expedition to the North Pole.

The Malamute is primarily a sled dog although they do well in weight pulling, carting and search and rescue operations. They have a high working drive, sense of smell and direction. Their heavy coats make them the ideal dog for any type of application where extreme cold is an issue.

While at first glance they appear to be a fairly laid back dog, one must remember this is a high-energy working dog. They are very intelligent, loyal and good-natured dog that has a strong pack instinct. Therefore, while they will do well living outdoors, they need to have interaction with their family pack on a daily basis. Otherwise, they can become destructive.

I have found the breed relatively easy to train, and this is good, as they require obedience training and pack protocol from an early age. It is imperative when training this breed one not take too firm a stance. I have often found trainers and handlers of this breed take too firm an approach with this breed. This isn't necessary due to their high intelligence, sweet nature and desire to please their owner.

Socialization is a must from an early age due to their strong prey instinct and slightly aloof nature when it comes to the unknown. If raised and socialized with other animals, children and “strangers” from a young age, they will do fine in most family situations. Like most large breed dogs, children in the pack should be well mannered preferably over the age of ten. They tend to do well with dogs of the opposite sex.

The Malamute is a large, strong dog with a thick, coarse double coat and a fluffed tail held over the back. It is well built, with a solid body, wide head, and a proud sweet expression. Their ears are erect and small and the eyes are wolf like and dark. The eyes should not be blue.

Their coat ranges from one to three inches and comes wolf gray, wolf sable, black and white or red often with darker highlights. Their legs and muzzle are almost always white and their paws should be furry and their pads are extremely tough to protect them from the extremes of cold weather.

They're overall a very healthy breed. Like all large breed dogs they can be prone to hip dysplasia. Some can suffer from chondrodysplasia, dwarfism. Many clubs require OFA, CERF and CHD certification of both parents. They range in height from 21-26 inches (56-66 cm.) and weigh from 70-95 pounds. (32-43 kg.) They have a life expectancy of 11-15 years.

The Malamute is in no way suitable for apartment living as they are rather active indoors. They love the outdoors but need a tall secure fence to keep them secured in the yard. They like to roam their “territory” so don't be surprised to see them walking about quite a bit. Due to their coat, they do better in a cooler climate and should only be exercised in the cooler part of the day during summer months.

While this is a relatively clean dog that rarely requires bathing, they are massive shedders. This is really not a big issue if one is diligent with their grooming. A good brushing a couple of times a week will normally keep this at bay. About twice a year, their coat often comes out in large clumps, which will require a little more work.

The temperament, loyalty and noble look of this wonderful breed make them a great companion for most situations. A little care, love and attention and you will have a buddy for life. Few that have owned them would ever own anything else again.

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Joke of the Week

Zen for Those Who Take Life too Seriously

A day without sunshine is like night.

Honk if you love peace and quiet.

He who laughs last thinks slowest.

Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Support bacteria. It's the only culture some people have.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

OK, so what's the speed of dark?

How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

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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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