Source: Outdoor Sports and Games
Every boy should own a dog. He is the friend and companion of our
youth. For a boy to grow up without a dog is to be denied one of the
real joys of life.
Senator Vest once said: "The one absolute, unselfish friend that a man
can have in this selfish world; the one that never deserts him, the
one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. He will
sleep on the cold ground where the wintry winds blow and the snow
drives fiercely if only he can be near his master's side. He will kiss
the hand that has no food to offer, he will guard the sleep of his
pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert he
The breed makes but little difference so long as the dog is
intelligent and kind. Mixed breeds and mongrel dogs are often the most
intelligent. A thoroughbred dog will give us more satisfaction
possibly than a mongrel because he will make a better appearance. But
at the same time, he is far more likely to be stolen. There are so
many breeds to select from that it is almost impossible to give much
advice. As a rule, the dog we shall like is the one we can get. The
very heavy dogs such as Saint Bernards, mastiffs and great Danes are
clumsy and will require outside quarters, as they are too bulky to
have in the house. On the other hand the small toy breeds such as
Pomeranians, black and tans and King Charles spaniels and pugs, are
too delicate to be a real boy's dog. A list from which you may safely
select a dog would be bull terriers, Airedale terriers, Scotch
terriers, Irish terriers, cocker spaniels, pointers and setters,
either Irish or English. This is by no means a complete list. I prefer
a setter because my first dog, "Old Ben," was a setter, and he shared
in most of my fun from the earliest recollections that I have. When he
died I lost a true friend. It was the first real sorrow I ever had.
A dog should not sleep in the same room with his owner, but should
have a warm dry kennel and be taught to regard it as his home.
Do not make the mistake of overfeeding a dog. He does not need three
meals a day. One is sufficient, about nine in the morning, when he
should have all he wants to eat. If you insist on a second meal give
him a dog biscuit or a bone to gnaw on in the evening.
Keep your dog free from fleas, in spite of what David Harum says that
"a reasonable amount of fleas is good for a dog, because it keeps him
from brooding over being a dog." A thorough bath with carbolic soap
and water will rid a dog of fleas, but this treatment should be
repeated at weekly intervals to kill the eggs which hatch in the
Fresh insect powder or Scotch snuff if dusted thoroughly in a dog's
coat will cause fleas to leave. This treatment should be done out of
doors. A good plan is to place the dog on a sheet or piece of white
paper and work the powder well into the hair, especially around his
neck and behind the ears. Be careful not to injure his eyes.
A dog will soon recognize his master, and there is no quicker way to
show that you are his master than to enforce obedience when you
attempt to make him mind. Whether a whipping is necessary depends on
the dog. With most dogs a good scolding will be sufficient. Never whip
a dog when you are angry and never overdo the matter. It is possible
to "break a dog's spirit," which simply means to make him afraid of
you. A dog so frightened is ruined until you regain his confidence, a
very difficult thing to do. Never cuff a dog with your hand. Always
use a whip or switch. Let the whipping be a definite ceremony with a
plain object in view.
Some dogs will prove to be headstrong and others will try to do
whatever their master wants. There is an amazing difference in dogs
and their intelligence seems to have no limits.
A dog must never be allowed to annoy our neighbours or friends. One of
the most annoying habits that a dog cultivates is that of running out
and barking at passing carriages or people. A few lessons in
discipline early in life will break him of this habit, but once
acquired it is practically unbreakable.
Another very annoying habit is that of allowing a dog to put his paws
on us. We may not mind it when we are dressed in old clothes but
friends or callers are possibly not so considerate.
Nearly every bad habit that a dog learns is usually the fault of the
owner rather than of the dog. The training of a dog should be done as
a puppy. Therefore we must secure our dog as young as possible.
In training hunting dogs the first step is called "yard-breaking."
With ordinary dogs a thorough course in yard-breaking by teaching the
simple command is all that will be necessary. First of all, teach your
dog to lie down and come to you at call. The usual word for the former
is "charge." A dog can be taught this in a very short time. Take him
by the neck and back, and at the word, force him to lie down. Do not
use any other words, or even pet him. Simply impress on his mind that
when he hears "charge" it means lie down. As a rule a puppy is taught
to come by snapping the fingers or by making a noise with the lips
similar to that by which we urge a horse. It is almost natural to say
"Come here." After a puppy learns to follow us at the command "heel
in" and to run ahead when we say "go on," we must also teach him to
come when we whistle. Most boys can make a whistle with the fingers
sufficiently penetrating to call a dog for a long distance but a small
metal whistle to carry in the pocket is the best way.
After a dog has acquired the simple lessons of training we shall find
that he learns to understand us and to do our wishes very quickly.
There should be a complete understanding between a dog and his owner.
He will know our ways and we shall know his.
I have hunted in Virginia with a dog so intelligent that merely by
watching him his master could tell whether he was on the trail of a
rabbit, wild turkey, or deer. For each kind of game he had a different
manner of barking and what is more remarkable, he was a thoroughly
broken quail dog with the best "nose" or scent I have ever known and
of course did not bark under these circumstances. Such a dog would be
a mystery to any one who did not know his ways.
This dog "Old Doc" would hunt with any one on quail, but if the
hunter did not succeed in killing game the dog would soon show his
disapproval in every way, sulk along behind, and if the poor shooting
continued, finally leave for home. A friend who took him out told me,
"First I missed the birds and then I missed the dog." He had left in
No matter what breed our dog is we shall surely become greatly
attached to him and almost look upon him as a friend rather than as an
animal. A boy should never encourage a dog to fight. It is a cruel,
unmanly thing and one that a real dog lover will never do. Dog
fighting is a form of brutality second only to tying tin cans and
other things to a dog's tail for the "fun" of seeing him run. I once
saw a poor beast lose his tail as a result of this brutal joke. Some
one had tied a string tightly around his tail and the dog ran until
completely exhausted. He then kept out of sight for a few days. In the
meantime the string caused his tail to become fearfully sore and
finally to fall off. Can any one see a joke in this?
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