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Practical Management

Many people are deterred from keeping dogs by the belief that the

hobby is expensive and that it entails a profitless amount of trouble

and anxiety; but to the true dog-lover the anxiety and trouble are far

outbalanced by the pleasures of possession, and as to the expense,

that is a matter which can be regulated at will. A luxuriously

appointed kennel of valuable dogs, who are pampered into sickness,

may, indeed, becom
a serious drain upon the owner's banking account,

but if managed on business principles the occupation is capable of

yielding a very respectable income. One does not wish to see

dog-keeping turned into a profession, and there seems to be something

mean in making money by our pets; but the process of drafting is

necessary when the kennel is overstocked, and buying and selling are

among the interesting accessories of the game, second only to the

pleasurable excitement of submitting one's favourites to the judgment

of the show-ring. The delights of breeding and rearing should be their

own reward, as they usually are, yet something more than mere

pin-money can be made by the alert amateur who possesses a kennel of

acknowledged merit, and who knows how to turn it to account. A

champion ought easily to earn his own living: some are a source of

handsome revenue.

Occasionally one hears of very high prices being paid for dogs

acknowledged to be perfect specimens of their breed. For the St.

Bernard Sir Belvidere sixteen hundred pounds were offered. Plinlimmon

was sold for a thousand, the same sum that was paid for the Bulldog

Rodney Stone. For the Collies Southport Perfection and Ormskirk

Emerald Mr. Megson paid a thousand sovereigns each. Size is no

criterion of a dog's market value; Mrs. Ashton Cross is said to have

refused two thousand pounds for her celebrated Pekinese Chu-Erh, and

there are many lap-dogs now living that could not be purchased for

that high price. These are sums which only a competent judge with a

long purse would dream of paying for an animal whose tenure of active

life can hardly be more than eight or ten years, and already the dog's

value must have been attested by his success in competition. It

requires an expert eye to perceive the potentialities of a puppy, and

there is always an element of speculative risk for both buyer and

seller. Many a dog that has been sold for a song has grown to be a

famous champion. At Cruft's show in 1905 the Bulldog Mahomet was

offered for ten pounds. No one was bold enough to buy him, yet

eighteen months afterwards he was sold and considered cheap at a

thousand. Uncertainty adds zest to a hobby that is in itself engaging.

Thanks to the influence of the Kennel Club and the institution of dog

shows, which have encouraged the improvement of distinct breeds, there

are fewer nondescript mongrels in our midst than there were a

generation or so ago. A fuller knowledge has done much to increase the

pride which the British people take in their canine companions, and

our present population of dogs has never been equalled for good

quality in any other age or any other land.

The beginner cannot easily go wrong or be seriously cheated, but it is

well when making a first purchase to take the advice of an expert and

to be very certain of the dog's pedigree, age, temper, and condition.

The approved method of buying a dog is to select one advertised for

sale in the weekly journals devoted to the dog. A better way still, if

a dog of distinguished pedigree is desired, is to apply direct to a

well-known owner of the required breed, or to visit one of the great

annual shows, such as Cruft's, Manchester, The Ladies' Kennel

Association, The Kennel Club (Crystal Palace, in October), The

Scottish Kennel Club, or Birmingham, and there choose the dog from the

benches, buying him at his catalogue price.

In determining the choice of a breed it is to be remembered that some

are better watchdogs than others, some more docile, some safer with

children. The size of the breed should be relative to the accommodation

available. To have a St. Bernard or a Great Dane galumphing about a

small house is an inconvenience, and sporting dogs which require

constant exercise and freedom are not suited to the confined life of a

Bloomsbury flat. Nor are the long-haired breeds at their best

draggling round in the wet, muddy streets of a city. For town life the

clean-legged Terrier, the Bulldog, the Pug, and the Schipperke are to

be preferred. Bitches are cleaner in the house and more tractable than

dogs. The idea that they are more trouble than dogs is a fallacy. The

difficulty arises only twice in a twelvemonth for a few days, and if

you are watchful there need be no misadventure.

If only one dog, or two or three of the smaller kinds, be kept, there

is no imperative need for an outdoor kennel, although all dogs are the

better for life in the open air. The house-dog may be fed with

meat-scraps from the kitchen served as an evening meal, with rodnim or

a dry biscuit for breakfast. The duty of feeding him should be in the

hands of one person only. When it is everybody's and nobody's duty he

is apt to be neglected at one time and overfed at another. Regularity

of feeding is one of the secrets of successful dog-keeping. It ought

also to be one person's duty to see that he has frequent access to the

yard or garden, that he gets plenty of clean drinking water, plenty of

outdoor exercise, and a comfortable bed.

For the toy and delicate breeds it is a good plan to have a dog-room

set apart, with a suitable cage or basket-kennel for each dog.

Even delicate Toy dogs, however, ought not to be permanently lodged

within doors, and the dog-room is only complete when it has as an

annexe a grass plot for playground and free exercise. Next to

wholesome and regular food, fresh air and sunshine are the prime

necessaries of healthy condition. Weakness and disease come more

frequently from injudicious feeding and housing than from any other

cause. Among the free and ownerless pariah dogs of the East disease

is almost unknown.

For the kennels of our British-bred dogs, perhaps a southern or a

south-western aspect is the best, but wherever it is placed the kennel

must be sufficiently sheltered from rain and wind, and it ought to be

provided with a covered run in which the inmates may have full

liberty. An awning of some kind is necessary. Trees afford good

shelter from the sun-rays, but they harbour moisture, and damp must be

avoided at all costs. When only one outdoor dog is kept, a kennel can

be improvised out of a packing-case, supported on bricks above the

ground, with the entrance properly shielded from the weather. No dog

should be allowed to live in a kennel in which he cannot turn round at

full length. Properly constructed, portable, and well-ventilated

kennels for single dogs are not expensive and are greatly to be

preferred to any amateurish makeshift. A good one for a terrier need

not cost more than a pound. It is usually the single dog that suffers

most from imperfect accommodation. His kennel is generally too small

to admit of a good bed of straw, and if there is no railed-in run

attached he must needs be chained up. The dog that is kept on the

chain becomes dirty in his habits, unhappy, and savage. His chain is

often too short and is not provided with swivels to avert kinks. On a

sudden alarm, or on the appearance of a trespassing tabby, he will

often bound forward at the risk of dislocating his neck. The

yard-dog's chain ought always to be fitted with a stop link spring to

counteract the effect of the sudden jerk. The method may be employed

with advantage in the garden for several dogs, a separate rope being

used for each. Unfriendly dogs can thus be kept safely apart and still

be to some extent at liberty.

There is no obvious advantage in keeping a watch-dog on the chain

rather than in an enclosed compound, unless he is expected to go for a

possible burglar and attack him. A wire-netting enclosure can easily

be constructed at very little expense. For the more powerful dogs the

use of wrought-iron railings is advisable, and these can be procured

cheaply from Spratt's or Boulton and Paul's, fitted with gates and

with revolving troughs for feeding from the outside.

Opinions differ as to the best material for the flooring of kennels

and the paving of runs. Asphalte is suitable for either in mild

weather, but in summer it becomes uncomfortably hot for the feet,

unless it is partly composed of cork. Concrete has its advantages if

the surface can be kept dry. Flagstones are cold for winter, as also

are tiles and bricks. For terriers, who enjoy burrowing, earth is the

best ground for the run, and it can be kept free from dirt and buried

bones by a rake over in the morning, while tufts of grass left round

the margins supply the dogs' natural medicine. The movable sleeping

bench must, of course, be of wood, raised a few inches above the

floor, with a ledge to keep in the straw or other bedding. Wooden

floors are open to the objection that they absorb the urine; but dogs

should be taught not to foul their nest, and in any case a frequent

disinfecting with a solution of Pearson's or Jeyes' fluid should

obviate impurity, while fleas, which take refuge in the dust between

the planks, may be dismissed or kept away with a sprinkling of

paraffin. Whatever the flooring, scrupulous cleanliness in the kennel

is a prime necessity, and the inner walls should be frequently

limewashed. It is important, too, that no scraps of rejected food or

bones should be left lying about to become putrid or to tempt the

visits of rats, which bring fleas. If the dogs do not finish their

food when it is served to them, it should be removed until hunger

gives appetite for the next meal.

Many breeders of the large and thick-coated varieties, such as St.

Bernards, Newfoundlands, Old English Sheepdogs, and rough-haired

Collies, give their dogs nothing to lie upon but clean bare boards.

The coat is itself a sufficient cushion, but in winter weather straw

gives added warmth, and for short-haired dogs something soft, if it is

only a piece of carpet or a sack, is needed as a bed to protect the

hocks from abrasion.

With regard to feeding, this requires to be studied in relation to the

particular breed. One good meal a day, served by preference in the

evening, is sufficient for the adult if a dry dog-cake or a handful of

rodnim be given for breakfast, and perhaps a large bone to gnaw at.

Clean cold water must always be at hand in all weathers, and a drink

of milk coloured with tea is nourishing. Goat's milk is particularly

suitable for the dog: many owners keep goats on their premises to give

a constant supply. It is a mistake to suppose, as many persons do,

that meat diet provokes eczema and other skin troubles; the contrary

is the case. The dog is by nature a carnivorous animal, and wholesome

flesh, either cooked or raw, should be his staple food. Horseflesh,

which is frequently used in large establishments, is not so fully to

be relied upon as ordinary butcher meat. There is no serious objection

to bullocks' heads, sheeps' heads, bullocks' tripes and paunches and a

little liver given occasionally is an aperient food which most dogs

enjoy. But when it can be afforded, wholesome butcher's meat is

without question the proper food. Oatmeal porridge, rice, barley,

linseed meal, and bone meal ought only to be regarded as occasional

additions to the usual meat diet, and are not necessary when dog cakes

are regularly supplied. Well-boiled green vegetables, such as cabbage,

turnip-tops, and nettle-tops, are good mixed with the meat; potatoes

are questionable. Of the various advertised dog foods, many of which

are excellent, the choice may be left to those who are fond of

experiment, or who seek for convenient substitutes for the

old-fashioned and wholesome diet of the household. Sickly dogs require

invalid's treatment; but the best course is usually the simplest, and,

given a sound constitution to begin with, any dog ought to thrive if

he is only properly housed, carefully fed, and gets abundant exercise.