"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume I - Issue 10:  December 5, 2003
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Is It For You Or Your Dog?
=>  Today's Quote
=>  Breed of the Week
=>  Recommended Stuff
=>  Why Dogs are Better than Women

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Christopher's Drool

Hi Everyone!

Well, the rain here is progressing to snow here in the Sierra's of Northern California and I'm freezing my butt off! Not only that, but the “flat-landers,” as we like to call them here on the hill, are driving up the mountain for their weekends at the ski resorts, like maniacs. Then they look confused as the tow truck pulls their SUV's from out of the ravines unable to register the idea that snow on the roads can be dangerous.

With that in mind, I figured it was time to send out a few tips for keeping our dogs safe in the cold weather. We winterize our cars, pull out our sweaters and need to prepare our dogs just as much, if not more. After all, unless your dog is using the toilet, sooner or later they are going to have to go out in the elements.

Grooming is essential during the cold weather. Be sure you remove all the dead hair from the coat of your dog to prevent it from absorbing excess moisture. If your dog has a “specialty” cut, let it grow out for the winter. Keep the nails cut short to improve traction on the ice and slippery surfaces. You also want to ensure you clean any snow that is stuck to the dog when they come inside being sure to check in the “arm” pits

There are several products you can buy for inclement weather as well. Most can be found at your local pet store. Sweaters are a good way to keep your dog warm in the snow, however keep in mind that many sweaters are designed for fashion rather than warmth. Make sure they have a cold weather rating on the tag, and, they cover the hind-quarters as well.

Dog booties should also be purchased for a couple of reasons. One, they keep their feet warm. Two, they can prevent the pads from cracking due to the cold. Three, they will provide additional traction on slippery surfaces. They come in all types with different soles dependent upon your needs. For me, the booties are every bit, if not more important than a sweater.

Well, that's it for now. Keep the questions and letters coming and let me know what you think. Have a great week. I'm outta here.



Dog Chewing the Sofa?  Puppy Eating Your Shoes?

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Is It For You Or Your Dog?

Technology is wonderful, isn't it? Our computers run faster, our cars are more efficient, we can make telephone calls from our car, yard, or even the portable toilet at the County Fair. Meals that use to take an hour can be done in minutes. We pay our bills, do our banking and shop online. We have supplements that that make us more alert, relieve anxiety and increase energy.

These are excellent ways for all of us to get more things done in less time, and I, for one, appreciate them. Lord knows there doesn't seem to be enough time in my day, and I'm sure many of yours, to get all the things done we need to do in a day. Our world has become fast paced and results oriented, with everyone wanting everything NOW!

Just as technology and efficiency systems have invaded the human world, so has it entered the world of our dogs. There are a multitude of devices, supplements, training methods and therapies all designed for the behavioral well being of our dogs ... Or are they?

Over the last several months, I've been looking into several of these methods of training and products. I've talked to and listen to the reasons people use these methods as well as investigating their safety and effectiveness. I've found many that appear to be excellent tools for modifying your dog's behavior. I've seen some that are nothing more than cruel.

The key word here is tool. No product or training method in the world is going to replace a dog's instincts, pack mentality and protocol. It's a nice idea, but the truth of the matter is that technology has not reached that point, and I don't see it doing so in my lifetime.

Whenever I speak with a new client who is using a particular method or product exclusively to modify their dog's behavior, I tend to hear the same resounding theme. Convenience for the dog owner. This is concerning, as convenience for the owner doesn't always equal what's best instinctually or mentally for the dog. Let me give you a an example ...

Crate Training. Dogs need to be trained to go into a crate for safety and travel. A crate should not be something you have to fight to put your dog in to go to the vet or travel on a plane. They need to be comfortable entering one freely. A crate should not be used as a babysitter, or to avoid destruction of property. You might be surprised at how many people use them for just that purpose.

There are also a multitude of products that are designed to help dog anxiety and or hyperactivity. Some are designed by pharmaceutical companies, and others are made from all natural organic materials. Again, these are great tools to help modify behavior, but they don't address the reason for the behavior, nor do they provide a long-term fix.

Dogs do the things they do because of instinct, life experience, breeding or as a result of learned behavior. They are not destructive, nervous, aggressive or loud by nature. There's always a reason dogs exhibit the behaviors they do. It's up to us, as owners, to determine why and take the steps necessary to properly direct the behaviors.

This process can take time, which is contradictory to how we as humans like to live our fast paced lives. Lets face it, it's faster and easier to lock the dog in the garage when we go out than it is to train the dog not to eat the furniture. It's easier to medicate the dog, rather than help them to work through their anxiety. Heck, we can even zap them with a little electricity in the neck. That will get you some results. It will be at your dog's expense, but hey, the sofa is safe.

Whenever we begin to modify our dogs' behavior, or simply start the training of a new dog, we must look at the big picture. What are the family pack dynamics? Who is the Alpha? What changes have been made to the environment around the time the dog began to act out? What type of schedule is the dog going to be on and/or have there been changes to the existing schedule? Until our dogs are able to verbally express why they do what they do, we have to ask ourselves these questions.

Once we know the reason for the behavior, then we can decide on a direction to take to correct it. The critical thing at this point is that we choose a methods and tools that will best address the dogs needs and instincts, and not our own convenience. This is the only way to achieve lasting results, and it will cost you less in the long run.

If our dogs are experiencing behavioral issues there's only one way to approach the problem. Understanding and effort. If we don't understand the reason the dogs are behaving the way they do, how are we going to be able to make sure we are redirecting the behavior in a manner that is best for the dog? If we aren't willing to put in a little effort, we are not living up to our obligation to our dog.

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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Dogs need to sniff the ground; it's how they keep abreast of current events. The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking dog news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued in the next yard.

~ Dave Barry ~




The Vizsla, pronounced "Vee-shla," is a beautiful, streamlined hunting dog with an exquisite gold-tan coat. This Hungarian hunting dog is a direct descendent of the Transylvanian Hound and the Turkish Yellow dog, which is now extinct. The German Shorthaired Pointer has also been added to the mix.

This is a medium sized hunting dog that requires extensive exercise and a firm steady hand. As with most hunting dogs, they are very confident, somewhat willful and can easily be distracted from the task at hand. They are also known for being extremely loving, and gentle, with great patience for children, making them an ideal family dog.

Their muscles are sleek, well developed and cover the entire body. The head is well defined much like a model out of a Calvin Kline ad and has a distinct part in the muscles on the top of the skull. The jaw line is equally well defined and the muzzle is long and tapers at the end.

The Vizsla's ears are quite long and set to the outer side of the skull. As a result of their length special care should be taken to keep the ears clean, and avoid ear infections. Their necks are broad, strong and taper smoothly into the shoulders much liker a prize-fighter. To meet standard, their tails are to be docked to 2/3 the original length, but you all know how I feel about that.

Their eyes are normally a similar color to their coat but can also be brown. Ideally, you want the eyes to compliment the coat. Their teeth should be an almost exaggerated porcelain white that meet in a tight scissor bite. The gums should be thick and bright pink.

The Vizsla needs to have extensive socialization early on to prevent any type of neurotic behavior. This is pretty standard in most hunting dogs as they were not designed to be left sitting in the house inactive. As a result I would not recommend them for an apartment or a house with a small yard. These active guys need to expend energy in order to prevent destructive behavior. If you do take one into a setting with limited space, be prepared to spend a lot of time exercising them.

Since the Vizsla is not as widely known and bred as other breeds, it's important you do your research before committing to purchase this breed. Look for a breeder whose line is calm, confident and responsive to human interaction. You also want to see how well the parents respond to loud noise as the breed can sometime be sensitive to sound.

The breed is relatively healthy and does not have many genetic issues, with the exception of a tendency to develop hip dysplasia. This is a breeding issue more than anything and it is recommended you have the breeder provide some sort of hip certification from a veterinarian. They range in weight from 40 – 62 ponds (18-28 kg.) and range in height from 20 – 28 inches (51 – 68 cm.) at the withers. Their life expectancy is from 13 to 16 years of age.

This smooth, short-haired coat is easy to keep in peak condition. Brush with a firm bristle brush, and dry shampoo occasionally. Bathe with mild soap only when necessary. The nails should be kept trimmed. These dogs are known to be average shedders.

This breed nearly became extinct after Russia took over Hungary after World War II. Many Hungarians were fearful that the Russians would kill off the breed, as they were known as a sign of royalty. Several Hungarians smuggled the dogs out of the country to Europe and the United States. As a result, the breed has been built up again and done so in a rather conscientious manner, which is proven, by the limited number of genetic issues the breed has today.

Their name means, "pointer" which is well suited since they are exceptional retrievers, trackers and pointers as result of their fantastic noses. They make wonderful hunting dogs for small game and birds. They have two "sister" breeds. One is the Wirehaired Vizsla and the other is the Long Haired Vizsla. The long-haired version is quite rare and there is no registry for the breed.

The Vizsla is an excellent choice for a family companion, hunting dog or competitive obedience dog. They will do well with other animals they're raised with, and are not known to be aggressive towards other people or animals, as a general rule. If you're looking for a dog for these qualities, the Vizsla is a sure bet.

Breed requested and photo provided by Sue and Chuck Defiore.

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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Why Dogs are Better than Women

 1.  A dog does not shop.

 2.  The later you are, the happier a dog is to see you.

 3.  A dog never expects flowers on Valentine's Day.

 4.  A dog does not get mad at you if you pet another dog.

 5.  A dog does not care about the previous dogs in your life.

 6.  A dog will not get mad at you if you forget its birthday.

 7.  A dog never expects you to telephone.

 8.  A dog limits its time in the bathroom to a quick drink.

 9.  A dog loves you when you leave your clothes on the floor.

10.  A dog's parents will never visit you.

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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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