Pet Dogs




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By Dan Beard

All dogs, whether intended for the field, for pets, or for companions, should be taught to follow at their master's heels at the command of "heel," to run ahead at the command of "hi on," and to drop at the command of "charge" or "down charge."  When your dog learns to obey these simple commands, it will be found an easy matter to extricate and keep your canine friend out of scrapes.  

Suppose you have a small but pugnacious dog and in your walk you meet a large, ugly-tempered brute much too powerful for your own dog to master in the fight that is certain to ensue unless by some command you can prevent it.  The strange dog will not obey you, but if give the order to "heel" to your own dog he will follow with his nose at your heels, and the enemy will seldom if ever attack a dog while so near his master.

Study the characteristics of your dog, and by taking advantage of its peculiarities it may be taught many amusing tricks.  I have a little dog called Monad, and whether his master walks, drives, sails, or rows Monad always accompanies him, even sitting in front of the sliding seat of a single shell boat for hours at a time, perfectly happy and apparently conscious of the attention he attracts from all people on the shore or in the passing boats; the latter he generally salutes with a bark.  Monad will, when requested to do so, close a door, sneeze, bark, or sit upon his haunches and rub his nose, besides numerous other amusing tricks.

One day Monad smelled of a lighted cigar; the smoke inhaled caused him to sneeze; this gave me an idea; lighting a match I held it toward him, at the same time repeating, "sneeze! sneeze, sir!"  The smoke made him sneeze, and after repeating the operation several times I held out an unlighted match and commanded him to sneeze; the dog sneezed at once.  It was then an easy step to make him sneeze at the word without the match.  Monad is now very proud of this accomplishment, and when desirous of "showing off" always commences by sneezing.

In much the same manner, I taught him to rub his nose by blowing in his face and repeating the words, "rub your nose."  The breath coming in contact with that sensitive organ apparently tickled it and he would rub it with his paws.  After one or two trials he learned to rub his little black nose in a very comical manner whenever commanded to do so.

By patting your leg with your hand and at the same time calling your dog, it will learn to come to you and place his fore paws against your leg.  If you take advantage of this and pat the door the next time with your hand, the dog will stand on its hind legs and rest its fore paws against the door.  

Reward him with a bit of meat or a caress, and then opening the door a few inches go through with the same performance, giving the command to close the door.  By degrees, as the dog learns, open the door wider, and without moving from your chair or position in the room give the command, "close the door, sir."  

The dog will by this time understand your meaning, and resting his fore paws against the panels, follow, the door until it closes with a bang.  Perhaps there is no simple trick that excite, more surprise than this.  A friend comes in and leaves the door open; you rise and greet your friend, ask him to be seated; then, as if for the first time noticing the fact of the door being open, speak to your dog; the latter closes the door and lies down against the fireside in a most methodical manner.  

The friend is thoroughly convinced that that particular dog has more sense than any other canine in the world, and ever after, when dogs are the topic of conversation, he will tell the story of the dog that shut the door.

In the same manner innumerable odd, amusing, or useful tricks may be taught, among the simplest of which are the ones which excite the most applause from spectators.  If your dog is fond of carrying a stick in is mouth, it will be an easy matter to make him carry a basket.  Take advantage of every peculiarity of your pet's character, encouraging and developing the good points, but keeping the bad traits subdued, and you will soon have an amusing and reasoning canine companion.

Never throw a dog into the water; it frightens him and makes the poor animal dread a bath.  Let the dog wade at first; then by throwing sticks or other objects a little further out each time, and commanding him to fetch, the dog will not only learn to swim after the object, but also learn to thoroughly enjoy the bath, and can even be taught to dive and jump off of high places.  There are dogs that will jump from an elevation twelve feet above the water.  

Always be firm but kind.  Teach your dog to have confidence in you, and you may place implicit trust in your canine friend, and be sure whatever misfortune befalls you, you will have a friend who, though he be a four-footed one, will never forsake you, but live and die for the master it has learned to love and trust.


American Boys Handy Book






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.