Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dog Training Tips From Long Ago



This is a re post from last holiday season.  With the holidays upon us, some of us enjoy looking back. 

The following is an excerpt from Oliver Hartley's book, "Hunting Dogs," copyright 1909.  The book is now public domain and was released in November 2010 by the Gutenburg Project.


TRAINING — RANDOM SUGGESTIONS FROM MANY SOURCES.

Summing up we find much pointed and valuable information relating to the training of dogs omitted thru lack of space. From this we present a chapter of "nuggets" in paragraph form, which will no doubt prove interesting and beneficial to those interested in training hunting dogs. Here are a few things not to do:
Don't allow your dogs to run into every farmyard as you pass along the road.
Don't allow them to be used with which to run stock.
Don't let them get into the habit of running other dogs.
Don't let them run house-cats.
Don't teach him to be called by shooting.
Don't, when out hunting, keep urging him all the time.
Don't let every one have him to hunt with or he will soon be everybody's dog.
Don't allow them to come into the house and get into every pan and kettle, if your wife is good-natured.
Don't correct him by pulling his ears, for a fox dog needs his hearing.
Don't feed but twice a day, and don't stint him on his feed before starting on a race.
Don't allow him to run loose when you are not using him.

Did you ever try using a sheep bell on a still trailer on windy, stormy nights? It's a such bells on sheep and disregard them until the dog but 'coon usually become accustomed to sheep bells on sheep and disregards them until the dog gets too close for them to escape. Then, where not accustomed to the bell, their curiosity overcomes their fear. The best pair of 'coon dogs I ever owned was Sport, a fox hound and collie, half and half, a slow semi-mute trailer, and Simon, a full blood fox terrier, a fast mute trailer. I used a bell on Sport. This and his occasional barks on the trail kept the attention of the 'coon while Simon cut across lots and invariably took him unawares.
I have learned at considerable expense that the best at most any price is the cheapest. If you want a good, cheap 'coon dog, get a half pup collie and half fox hound. Never give him a taste of nor let him see a rabbit, teach him a few tricks (to make him pay for his meals), such as jumping over a stick, then a pole, then a fence. This is to teach him to obey every word.
Never scold or whip him, gain his confidence, teach him to speak for bits of meat so when the time comes to hunt 'coon you can get him to bark up; get him to catch and carry and he will often catch an opossum or maybe a mink or 'coon and kill it when away from you, and if you teach him to bring everything (rats, woodchucks) home to you, he will do the same in the woods after night. Never let him get whipped by another dog or woodchuck, 'coon or even a big rat. Always help him kill or whip everything he jumps on to or that jumps on to him. A defeat will discourage him.
When your young dog is ready for a night hunt in the woods or cornfield, choose the best and most favorable night for the first trip. Feed no meat nor milk for 24 hours previous to the first or any subsequent trip, for that matter, for the best dogs, full of meat or milk, cannot do good work on the most favorable night. Feed him a good dinner of vegetables, but no supper until you return from the hunt, then give him anything. Choose a dark and cloudy night, the darker the better, not too still, as usually on very still nights the atmosphere is heavy and smoke settles to the earth, so likewise does the scent of the 'coon trail, and many a fine dog has been condemned for failing to locate his 'coon when started under such a condition as this.

Do not return home and leave your hounds in the woods, rather walk a mile or two to catch them and they will be in better shape to hunt the next day than if you had allowed them to run all night.

I notice so many of the boys in telling of their 'coon hunting say when Old Jack or Trailer, or whatever his name might be, strikes a trail they follow him as fast as they can run until out of wind, then as soon as he barks treed, they go to him on the double quick, over logs, brush, barb wire fences, thru brier patches, swamps and so on. Now, this may be all right, I am not condemning any one else's method of hunting, but just want to exchange ideas. When my dog strikes a trail or I have reason to think there is anything doing, I just wait right where I am until they tree or come back to me. If they bark treed, I just take my time and if I know of a way around that will save going thru some thicket or up some very steep hill, I just go around and save those hardships. And another thing I never do is whoop and hallo at my dogs when they are working. I think that has spoiled many a good dog, and never run to a dog as soon as he barks up, but give him time to think it over and circle the tree a few times; then, when he settles down again you can go to him and depend upon the 'coon being there.


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