Dog Manual


The Correction Of Bad Habits


The innumerable requests received from dog owners asking about the best method of correcting bad habits have prompted me to explain my experiences along this line, in the hope that they may prove of some definite advantage to all concerned.

CHASING AUTOMOBILES, BICYCLES, ETC.

Many a dog has paid with his life for the dangerous habit of chasing everything that moves. There is no real trick in curing this habit quickly, only a little patience and conscientious work will do it.

Several dog owners brought to me pets which they claimed had acquired the auto chasing habit, but from the moment I began systematic training as described in Lessons 1—12, I had not the slightest trouble with them. This success. I attribute especially to HEELING ON THE LEASH because, whenever I cross the street, regardless of whether or not an automobile is approaching, I invariably stop and induce the dog to take the SIT position. When he has executed this correctly, I then proceed to cross the thoroughfare.

After a little practise, the dog will stop as soon as he reaches the curb even without the leash or in HEELING FREE. Bolting is nothing more than a lack of obedience, because the dog has been given the command HEEL and therefore he must HEEL. If he tries to run away, even after an automobile, it is a sign that he does not understand the command in which case the heeling will have to be practised more in places where there is the necessary temptation of passing cars.

The same applies to the chasing of bicycles. Practise in the face of temptation is the only cure for this habit and if punishment is unavoidable, get the chainette into action the moment the dog shows the slightest sign of disobedience by bolting after bicycles, cars, etc.

For some hunting dogs I have utilized a special device of my own invention, a bunch of small chains to which, at the end of each chain, a small ball of lead is attached. Usually five chains will do the trick. The bundle is fastened to the collar as soon as the dog starts running without command, the balls hitting his legs and forcing him to stop to avoid self-inflicted punishment. My pupils have reported that this works even for dogs that chase cars and bicycles.

Also, I have cured dogs of chasing chickens, cows, goats and cats by fastening the long leash to the training collar, after which I tempt the dog by the sight of any one of these animals.   In such cases, it is necessary that every command be avoided, but the moment the dog makes the attempt to chase, a sharp NO is given, nothing else. As a rule the dog will ignore the order and rush right up to the animal, but the chase ends suddenly in a double somersault because the end of the long leash in the guide's hand stops the culprit as soon as he reaches the end of the rope. Perhaps this appears a trifle drastic. However, it has never had any bad effect on the dog for the simple reason that the moment he is called to HEEL, he is praised even though he comes with his tail between his legs.

THE STEALING OF FOOD

Many are the requests that come to me about correcting the bad habit of stealing. Only recently I received word that a large dog had "beat the family to it" by stealing a full-sized turkey prepared and ready for serving. Despite the fact that the dog was provided regularly with the best obtainable food, he took every advantage to steal which presented itself. He stole only when left alone, and as he was not alone very often, he could not have resorted to stealing on the basis of loneliness. Unfortunately, the dog's master did the worst possible thing. He called the culprit to him and administered a beating with the inevitable result: the dog refused to come for several days, though up to then he had been a most obedient animal.
 
It is natural that the dog should consider everything within reach as his property, whether it be real estate or things edible. The real estate of course is his to guard; the food, his to eat.

Now to break a dog of stealing food is not as difficult as it appears; the most successful method, I have found, a leading into temptation. On the table I place a good sized piece of fine, juicy steak attached, with several strands of string, to three, four or five tin cans. The meat I place so that it is bound to attract the dog's attention when he is left alone. Then I leave the room, close the door and remain outside awaiting events. In just a few minutes I hear the inevitable clatter of falling tin cans! Now is the time for action. Usually the dog is so concerned by the sudden racket that he loses all appetite for the steak, and the sight of his irate master causes him to look for the farthest corner he can reach. Here is an opportunity to use a stick or a whip, but not to beat him!

Go to the dog. Do not call him to you. In your left hand, hold the meat and command DOWN. Drop the meat in front of the dog, then grab him by the collar so he cannot run away. Now go ahead with the beating, striking the ground, never the dog, with the whip close beside him, several times, as you say SHAME in a dis- gusted voice. Then release him, and once released, all is over.

Repeat this the next day, and we will notice that a longer time elapses before the noise of the "crime" becomes audible, if there is to be any noise at all. As a rule it requires only one or two experiences of this kind to keep a dog strictly away from the bait.

PICKING UP FOOD FOUND ON THE GROUND

One of the most deplorable faults a dog can develop is the picking up of food found on the ground. Because of it, many dogs are the victims of poisoning, and many veterinary bills result from an otherwise unaccountable "stomach trouble." Sometimes, too, vets are wrongly blamed for not curing a dog because the origin of the gastric disturbance is unknown. Uncounted cases of stomach upset arc brought on by picking up food that is in bad condition.

Although it is not my intention to offer medical or feeding advice in this book, still I will go so far as to suggest that ill balanced feeding is the main reason why the dog often looks around him for something different. A dog needs, above all things, variety—he would not enjoy eating turkey every day any more than you or I. Picking up food that has been left lying about is usually caused by the lack of certain vitamins or necessary elements in the dog's diet. So instinctively he attempts to find the missing elements for himself by taking such food as he finds available. Unfortunately, his sense of smell is of great assistance to him in the quest for discarded and undesirable provender.

The only way to prevent trouble of this kind is to keep the dog under constant control, under continuous observation. No dog should ever be let out to shift for himself. He may be killed or injured by fast moving vehicles; he can come in contact with sick dogs, and he can get into fights with other dogs. Moreover, many a friendly dog has been stolen because, through a lack of control, the owner actually invites dog thieves to do their dirty work. Breaking the PICKING UP FOOD habit is connected with the usual temptation method. The dog must be caught in the act, and punished by means of the throwing chain. And when he has already experienced the discomfort caused by the chain, he will need only to hear its rattle to realize the punishment in store in case he misbehaves. Here I would like to give credit to one of my pupils who invented a very ingenious device to keep his dog from investigating garbage cans. Over the cover of the can and invisible to the dog, he connected a few throwing chains, so that the moment the dog managed to uncover the can, the chains came clattering down to his great surprise. As a result, this dog makes a wide detour whenever he sights a garbage receiver. A little careful thinking will lead to many original methods of breaking dogs of bad habits like the one with which this lesson is primarily concerned.

CONTINUOUS BARKING

While it is a sign of obedience when the dog BARKS ON COMMAND, still the dog which barks continuously without stopping is a nuisance to the neighbors and even to his owner. Continued barking, which of course, constitutes disobedience, is the result of giving a dog too much chance to do as he likes.

Observe a dog of this character and in him you will find a disinclination toward obedience in other exercises: observe the owner of such a dog and you will find laxity and even neglect. The dog always knows with whom he deals. He knows exactly who will let him "get away with it." Just a little hardening of the heart will serve to show him who is boss and every dog, even the most deplorably spoiled, will very soon realize that his master says what he means and means what he says when he issues the command OUT and hurls the throwing chain in cases of continued disobedience.

And how intensely annoying it is when, at the ring of the bell, the dog rushes to the door and makes conversation with the visitor impossible. This is the time for the command DOWN-STAY, the correct execution of which must be enforced even with the help of the throwing chain.
 
Dogs left alone for any length of time in the house often develop barking or howling habits to the discomfort of the neighbors. A dog must learn to remain in the house by gradually extended periods of absence on the part of the owner. In the great majority of cases, the howling is caused by loneliness especially in dogs that love companionship, and, it is perhaps needless to add, such howling is answered by other dogs, innocent of the start of the noise but nevertheless punished in the end for the sins of another. If only a neighbor would throw a stone, or a throwing chain against the house occupied by the first barking dog, the trouble would be stopped to the satisfaction of the neighbor, the owner and the dog.

SEPARATING FIGHTING DOGS

When two or more dogs accidentally get into a fight, we can see the absolute helplessness of the owner who tries to separate the battlers by hitting or kicking them. If this proves unsuccessful, as it usually does, attempts arc made to get hold of the dogs by their collars in order to pull them apart. This too avails nothing more than that the owner, perhaps more than one owner, is bitten sometimes even by their own dogs.

Methods of the sort are totally wrong. It must be realized, first and foremost, that a dog imbued with the excitement of battle, has only the destruction of his enemy in mind; that all commands, training rules, and love of master are over-ruled by this passion. Experts have advised sprinkling a solution of ammonia over the fighters' noses; they have suggested frightening the dogs with water! I have never seen dogs separated in this particular way because I know of no one who carries such solutions around with him.

There is just one way, to my knowledge, to separate fighting dogs and that is to take hold of the tail or the hindlegs and pull! As, ordinarily, it takes some time before dogs have a mouthful hold on each other, most of them can be separated in this manner without danger to dogs or master. As soon as the dog, even when in the highest pitch of excitement, feels some movement at his hindquarters, he will turn around to see what goes on there. He loses his hold on his opponent and the separation is effected. Provided the owner of the other dog is familiar with the same method, no serious harm will he done. And the spirit of sport should rule at once by forgetting the incident when it happens on the training field.