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Dog Training: Avoiding Poisoned Food
( Originally Published 1943 )
The dog's weakest member of the body is his stomach-weak in its power to resist temptation because eating is much of a dog's delight in living. Many dogs come to an untimely and painful end by eating poisoned food placed in the dog's way by some fiend or maniac, who has a body like a human being's but a soul as foul as a rotten cabbage; he is spoken of as the dog poisoner. When himself dead, he descends to the burning regions below, even the denizens of hell shun him.
A well fed or properly fed dog is not inclined to eat food found at random or in strange places. Therefore, the first part of the training is to feed the dog properly and at regular hours.
Avoid giving him morsels and tidbits while you are eating; do not let his pleading eyes conquer you; he is only pretending that he is starving to death. The most eloquent actor in the world is your dog, his paunch almost bursting, looking up at you at the table with pleading eyes that say he is faint from want of food.
Feed him always at the same spot and out of the same dish and at the same hour. Thus he learns to Iook for his food only at this particular spot and at a set time each day. If possible, the same person should give him his food.
Place some food, without his knowledge, far away from his eating place and at a time other than his eating hour, preferably soon before it. Walk with him near the food; carry a light whip or rolled newspaper behind your back.
Stop at the spot where the food has been placed Of course, he will smell at it and perhaps start to eat it. Command "no" sharply and let him feel the whip or rolled newspaper lightly if he persists.
Walk back and forth several times with the dog not on the lead. Repeat the reproof to him each time if necessary.
Some trainers offer the food to the dog and when he takes it in his mouth, strike him with a whip. I can not understand the wisdom of this method; the dog should always take what his master offers and do it quickly and with safety; to deceive him and then punish him for his trust, is to do him an injustice and also to cause him to doubt the wisdom of obedience in the future.
After a few days of passing by the food as mentioned, drop the meat at the same spot, preferably in an alley or on other ground than your own. Walk with the dog to the spot; then command him to stay. You walk away; hide yourself in a spot where you can watch him.
He likely will look about to observe whether you are watching; as he starts to take the food, rush out, command "no" and let him feel the whip sharply.
After a week of this daily temptation, try him with a stranger. The stranger offers him a piece of meat. You stand nearby and as the dog reaches for it, command "no" and crack the whip. Next, let the stranger take him away and to a place near where you are hiding. As the stranger offers the food and as he reaches for it, leap forward, command "no" and let him feel the whip sharply.
The final step in the training is to scatter meat or other food in various places, and on your own ground and on other ground. Walk with your dog loose by your side. As he attempts to take any pieces, command "no" and let him feel the whip sharply on his back.
Put your dog thru his training early and zealously for it may mean saving him from a horrible, painful death later, perhaps while you look on helpless.