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Hunting Dogs

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<SPAN name="C03"></SPAN> <h3>CHAPTER III.<br> TRAINING THE HUNTING DOG.</h3> <p>In training hounds, one should remember that they will always have a hobby for the first game they learn to hunt; therefore, we should be careful to start them first at the right kind as for instance: If you desire to have an all around hound that will hunt coon, fox and rabbit and to hunt each game well, and in order to succeed you must break him in on coon first, then when he knows the "A, B, C," of Mr. Coon, you can break him on foxes and then on rabbits in the day time and when you will hunt coon he will pay no attention to the fox or rabbit even if he would see one in front of him, providing there are coons in that bush.</p> <p>If you desire to have a true deer hound, train him first on deer, then on foxes, but you must in all cases train them well on one kind before you start on another; therefore, a hound thus trained will always hunt deer in preference to fox. The same would exist if the dog was first trained on the fox.</p> <p>Some people claim that it takes from three to five years to train a hound right. Well, this is not always the case. Young hounds twelve to fifteen months old are often taken from the city into the bush and in three days would hunt deer as well as other dogs of five and six years' training. The reason for this is that these dogs take as naturally to hunting as ducks do to water. These dogs are born with the hunting instinct in them and being very intelligent, will start at once to beat a bush as well as an old timer, as soon as they have seen the game once they will remember it all their life and you can train them to hunt any kind whether it is a bear, deer, fox, etc.</p> <p>Of a necessity in treating on the general subject of training hunting dogs, some suggestions are applicable to all kinds, while others have individual bearing. Under the subject of this chapter will be given subdivisions relating to specific training for specific hunting in so far as required.</p> <p>There are some fundamental lessons that all hunting dogs should be taught to do and some things which he is not to do.</p> <p>Let him begin to follow you when he is three or four months old; take him through herds of sheep and cattle, and if he starts after them, scold him; if he continues chasing them, whip him. I do not believe in whipping where it can be avoided, but if compelled to, do not take a club or a No. 10 boot, but a switch; and I never correct a dog by pulling his ears for fear of hurting his hearing, as a dog that is hard of hearing is not an A No. 1 dog. Never set your dog on stock of any kind nor allow him to run after other dogs or house-cats.</p> <SPAN name="pic041"></SPAN> <h5><ANTIMG src="images/041.jpg" alt="The Fox Hound is a Composite Animal."><br>The Fox Hound is a Composite Animal.</h5> <p>By the time he is four months old, he will likely begin to run rabbits, but some do not commence until older. Let him run them as it will teach him to trail and harden his muscles, and, should you have more than one, it will teach them to depend on each other, and they will soon learn to go to other dogs when they start a trail or pick up a loss. If you have a fox or coon hide to drag or a pet to lead, it will not do any harm, though I do not think it of much value as they soon learn to associate your tracks with those of the fox or coon, and I greatly prefer letting them run rabbits as a mode of training them.</p> <p>By the time they are eight months old, take them out with a slow dog that runs and barks a great deal, both trailing and running, and as soon as the fox is running, let your pup go, but do not let him go until the old dog has passed with the fox. Should you let him go meeting the old dog he may take the back track, but if you wait until the old dog has passed your pup, he will come in behind, and, if he is bred right, will go in and stay as long as he can find a trail to follow.</p> <p>If he should come out after a short run, keep him until the fox is tired; then let him go again, and if he still continues to come out after a few times, don't fool with him, but try him for something else. If your pup has been in good trim, and has come out three times on fair trials, there is very little chance of making a fox dog out of him.</p> <p>I have had pups of this kind which I kept until they were two years old; have bought pet foxes, and let them catch and kill them, but never yet made a runner out of a dog that it was not born in.</p> <SPAN name="pic043"></SPAN> <h5><ANTIMG src="images/043.jpg" alt="Fox Hounds. Graduates From the Training School."><br>Fox Hounds. &mdash; Graduates From the Training School.</h5> <p>Should your pup go in and stay, don't run him too often unless he is near a year old. Never take him out unless he is well fed, and in good shape to run. After a race or two let him go as soon as the trail is struck, and after a few races, catch the old dog, after the fox is going, and see what the pup will do alone. Then take them out on a good day, let the old dog pick up the trail, and after the pups have started, catch the old dog and let the pups go alone, and if they trail, start and run that fox to a finish, that is all the pedigree they will ever need.</p> <p>When you turn your dog loose, don't run and yell and get him so excited that he doesn't know what to do, just unbuckle his collar and let him go. If he does not understand going into a race, it will not help matters to excite him, just walk to where the fox has passed and he will likely take the trail, and will know better what to do the next time.</p> <p>When your dogs are running and happen to lose the trail near you, do not run and call, trying to help them get started, for if let alone they are far more apt to pick it up and go on in good shape; by getting them excited and running wild the chase would likely end right there.</p> <p>My rule is this: Whenever I pull a dog's collar, he must look out for No. 1 without my going to show him.</p> <p>Should you not have an old dog to help train your pup, you can train him alone, but it is more trouble.</p> <p>If you have snow, lead your dog until you find a fox trail, then follow it, still leading your dog; if there happens to be considerable scent in the trail, he may want to follow it, if so turn him loose, but follow him up and help him to start his fox. If there is no scent in the trail, lead your dog until you start the fox, then let him go and let him work for himself.</p> <p>Should you have neither snow nor trained dog, you will have more trouble, but I have made No. 1 dogs without either.</p> <p>If you know where foxes stay, go there, turn your dog loose, and he will start to running rabbits; this will scare the fox up and your dog will likely cross its track; if he is a born fox dog, he will leave the rabbit for the fox every time. You may have to make several trips, but after you get one race, your dog will be looking for a fox chase, and will soon take a cold fox trail in preference to a rabbit.</p> <p>After you have trained your dog to running foxes or coon, you will wish to break him of running rabbits; this is generally an easy matter, for a genuine dog prefers the fox or coon and some will quit it of their own accord. If not, try scolding him when he starts a rabbit. If that fails, whip him, but where foxes are plentiful, you will seldom have to do this.</p> <p>My pups are accustomed to the crack of a 22 rifle, as I shoot near them while young, so never have any gun-shy dogs.</p> <p>There is just as much in feeding a running dog, as a running horse. Some say a light feed just before starting and I have heard some say, don't feed at all. Now for a grey fox, it does not make so much difference, as the chase will only last an hour or two, and sometimes not ten minutes, but where it comes to an old red fox, &mdash; one that you start Saturday night and return just in time to accompany your wife to church next morning, it is quite different.</p> <p>A dog to do his best should be used to running. He should have a few days' rest, and if his feet are sore, grease once each day with salty grease. At least three days before the race, drop all sloppy food and give rye or corn-bread with scraps from the butcher shop mixed in before baking. Feed liberally twice each day and if your race promises to be a hard one, feed extra before starting, some food that will give the greatest amount of strength, with the least possible bulk. Then arrange to give your dog a good heavy feed as soon as he returns home, and he will be ready for the next race sooner than if compelled to go to rest hungry.</p> <p>Before closing, I will say something more with regard to breeding: &mdash; We often see where someone has pure bred Walker, Williams, Redbone or Buckfield Blues. Now to my understanding, these are strains of dogs, bred by southern fox hunters, 50 or 75 years ago, and to keep them pure, there must have been a lot of inbreeding, a thing I do not approve of. Now why would it not have been better for Mr. Walker to have selected one of his very best bitches and bred her to one of Mr. Williams' best dogs, then called the pups the "American Fox Hounds" &mdash; as grand a dog as ever put his nose to a trail?</p> <SPAN name="pic048"></SPAN> <h5><ANTIMG src="images/048.jpg" alt="Typical Coon Hounds."><br>Typical Coon Hounds.</h5> <hr>
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