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Choosing A Pet Dog
( Originally Published 1938 )
A Cocker Spaniel sits at the door of a shop. During the five minutes he waits for his master nods, calls, pats, and fingersnaps come from a score of passersby. These friendly attentions speak of an ancient relationship that is the heritage of mankind and dogs.
Of all the animals man has domesticated, the dog has won the highest place in affection and the most secure position in the home. It is the animal that most easily becomes a member of the family, understanding our moods, entering into our play periods, always willing to serve and always loyal. The dog is so thoroughly unselfish and gives himself so wholly to his master that he asks nothing in return but food and shelter, and the continued company of the person he loves.
Dogs lead the blind, furnish cheer and companionship to invalids, look after the baby, go hunting with their masters, perform as bodyguards, and serve as pals for everyone.
CHOOSING A DOG PET
Successful dog ownership carries responsibility. The dog Dog must must be fed and cared for properly according to the needs keep laws of his breed, and must be taught to be a well-behaved member of society. Dogs today are really members of our households, so they must observe the household rules.
Dogs that are city apartment pets need specialized advice on traffic dangers, on disregarding harmless sounds, and on the wisdom of eating food only from their own dish, etc. However, despite the ownership problems, it is well worth while from the pleasure viewpoint to possess and understand a dog. Family dogs are family members.
Yes, if you are about to get a dog, I suggest that it be a pup rather than a grown dog. Of course, there are arguments on both sides of the puppy versus dog question, but in my experience the puppy wins. A pup is so appealing and playful that you cheat yourself of part of the delight of owning a dog if you do not have it in its puppyhood. Very naturally, too, you want to train and develop your own dog.
Another advantage of buying a puppy rather than a grown dog is that in homes where there are little children there will be no problem of dog-fear in the child. A wobbly pup does not alarm a child, so the "youngsters" play together happily. Remember to teach your child how to care for the pup, how to feed it, groom it, and how NOT to manhandle it.
There are two main reasons for buying a grown dog instead of a puppy. One is that the owner escapes the risk of puppy ailments; the second that the owner avoids the early troubles of training and housebreaking.
1. Do you want your dog to be a workman? A hunter? Watch dog? Bodyguard?
2. How much space will the dog have to range in, both inside and outside your home? Will you, or some other member of the family, take it on a daily walk? How far?
3. Do you want a dog to be friendly with all persons, or would you rasher have him snub strangers?
4. Would an alert, gay dog please you, or do you want a quiet, sedate animal?
5. Are you willing to give your dog any special care his breed requires?
These questions are readily answerable. Particular breeds have been developed for centuries to do specific jobs: the hunter, the watch dog. The size of your home and the nature of its surroundings will guide you on the size your package of dog should be.
Most of the 70 to 100 pound, active breeds (setters, shepherds) are not adapted to apartment or small home life. Obviously a Scottie, Boston Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, or similar size dog, will be more comfortable in an apartment.
The best way to survey the field of recognized dog breeds to get a quick knowledge of their origins, working qualities, and general characteristics, is to study the groupings of the American Kennel Club. Here is the Club's standard list of modern breeds, grouped for adaptability to definite uses:
GROUP NO. 1-Sporting Dogs GRIFFON: Wirehaired-Pointing. POINTER: German Shorthaired. RETRIEVERS: Chesapeake Bay, Curly-Coated, Flat-Coated, Golden, Labrador.
SETTERS: English, Gordon, Irish.
SPANIELS: Brittany, Clumber, Cocker, English Springer, Field, Irish Water, Sussex, Welsh Springer.
GROUP NO. 2-Sporting Dogs
HOUNDS: Afghan Hound, Basset Hound, Beagle, Bloodhound, Borzoi, Dachshund, Deerhound (Scottish), Foxhound (American), Foxhound (English), Greyhound, Harrier, Norwegian Elkhound, Otterhound, Saluki, Whippet, Wolfhound (Irish), Wolfhound (Russian).
Here are the dogs the sportsman loves-the cheerful, keen-eyed, cunning dogs of field and marsh. The pointers, setters, and spaniels listed are the leading hunters of the world.
Our earliest picture showing dogs is a hunting scene found on the Tomb of Amten, in Egypt, which dates to the 4th Dynasty, or between 3500 and 4000 B. C. The dogs pictured are the sight-hound type. These hunting breeds are warmhearted, eager companions. Included among the sporting dogs are some of the oldest and most numerous breeds of the world. Such as the huge Irish Wolfhound that has been known hundreds and hundreds of years; the cheery little Cocker Spaniel that was the woodcock dog of England in early days; and the Dachshund that has been bred as a hunting dog for a long, long time.
GROUP NO. 3-Working Dogs
Alaskan Malamute, Belgian Sheepdog, Bouvier des Flandres, Boxer, Briard, Bull-Mastiff, Collie (Rough), Collie (Smooth), Doberman Pinscher, Eskimo, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Kuvasz, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Rottweiler, Samoyede, Schnauzer (Giant), Shetland Sheepdog, Siberian Huskie, St. Bernard, Welsh Corgi-Cardigan, Welsh Corgi-Pembroke. These working dogs include most of the giants of dogdom. They are known for their courage, their fidelity, their tireless energy, and their guarding instinct. Some of them are extremely powerful dogs, which may be used as watchdogs or police aids. The German Shepherd (commonly and wrongly called "the police dog" as though it were a separate breed used for that purpose only) is now being trained as a guide for blind people. The Doberman Pinscher is also employed as a police aid. In this remarkable group are the stalwart northern breeds, the Samoyede, guardian of reindeer herds; and the Alaskan Malamute, the hardy, invincible sled-dog of the Arctic.
Here, too, are the dogs that excel in herding-the drover's dogs: the Collie, the Shetland Sheepdog, the Old English Sheepdog. Most of the herding dogs come from old breeds, since sheep herding is one of man's oldest occupations. They have keen intelligence, and steadfast natures.
GROUP NO. 4-Terriers
Airedale, Bedlington, Border, Bullterrier, Cairn Terrier, Dandie Dinmont, Fox Terrier (Smooth and Wire), Irish Terrier, Kerry Blue, Lakeland Terrier, Lhassa, Schnauzer (Miniature), Schnauzer (Standard), Scottish, Sealyham, Skye, Welsh, West Highland White Terrier.
Do you recognize most of the dogs in this group? The friendly Terriers are numerous because several members of this breed have been riding the crest of popularity in the United States for many years. Popular leaders are the distinctive, independent little Scottie; the perky, playboy Wirehaired Terrier; the Irish Terrier (little "daredevil") ; and the game, intelligent Airedale which is a national favorite in the United States.
Breeds in this group have a sporting background. Many of them like to "mix it" with vermin-tackle a woodchuck or dig into a rabbit burrow. I know two Smooth-haired Fox Terriers who are always looking for a chance to dig out a mole, find a woodchuck they can fight, or get into a scrap with a skunk. That's typical of the terrier. He has pluck, is full of courage, dares to sail into almost anything, and is quick in his movements.
The Sealyham Terrier is a clear example of breeding to meet a certain requirement of the terrier's work. The Sealyham has been used for many years in England to hunt badgers. In order to dig and get into small openings underground, the Sealyham has been bred with short legs, and powerful shoulder and leg muscles. The terriers make delightful companions. They are extremely affectionate, intelligent, amusing, and devoted.
GROUP NO. 5-Toys
Chihuahua, English Toy Spaniel, Griffon (Brussels), Italian Greyhound, Japanese Spaniel, Maltese, Mexican Hairless, Papillon, Pekingese, Pinscher (Miniature), Pomeranian, Pug, Toy Manchester Terrier, Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier.
Compact bits of energy, quaintness, and high intelligence, the Toy breeds make excellent companions for the fancier who wants a novel dog. Most of these breeds are extremely old, and there are several positive and surprising dog personalities among the Toys. A few of the Toys are quaint miniatures of standard breeds.
The Chihuahua (two to four pounds preferred adult weight) is regarded by its fanciers as one of the most alert and intelligent dogs in existence. Lovers of the Brussels Griffon (seven pounds) believe that its super intelligence causes it to be supersensitive. This scrap of dog has a gay carriage, and the short upturned face called a "speaking countenance." The popular Pekingese is another good example of the Toys-the Peke came originally from China, and is a convinced aristocrat. Another curious Toy dog personality is the Pomeranian, which takes its name from the state of Pomerania in Germany.
GROUP NO. 6-Non-Sporting
Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, French Bulldog, Keeshonden, Poodle, Schipperke.
In this non-sporting group are some of the most distinctive breeds in the world of dogs. They may not know how to hunt or herd, or do other useful tasks, but they do know how to be delightful, refreshing companions. They are the dogs that ramble in city parks-the dogs whose bright faces peer from car windows-the dogs who find content in just loving their masters.
Some of these breeds have backgrounds that give clues to their characteristics. For example, the alert little Schipperke has been the "barge dog" in Belgium for many years. He is lively, inquisitive, enjoys looking after things around the house, and makes a jolly companion. The Chow is a breed of great age that comes from China-rugged, aloof, dignified. His origin is unknown, but being the only dog with a blue-black tongue, he is believed to be one of the basic breeds. The Chow Chow is now a fashionable pet that lives at ease-but for many centuries he was the chief sporting dog of China.
Here is another ancient working breed that leads a comparatively idle life in the 20th century-the Dalmatian, popularly known as the English Coach dog. In the 18th century, coaching Dalmatians were common on the long dusty highways of Europe. The speedy, clever dogs cleared the path for Tally Ho, coached under the front axles or rear axles of the great, lumbering four-wheelers and diligences, or ran at the difficult post under carriage poles, between the leading horses and the wheelers. The modern Dalmatian is kept as a pet and guard dog. He is quiet, sensible, and colorful.
The Bulldog is an interesting breed in the non-sporting group, although the "sour-mug," as he is affectionately called by some fanciers, may give the impression of being mean, actually he is a kindly, dignified dog. Originally this dog was used in the old English sport of bull-baiting.
The Poodle is another distinctive breed in the non-sporting group. He is considered one of the most intelligent dogs known. In France, the Poodle is used as a retriever and as a traveling circus dog.
The Boston Terrier is an all-American breed of non-sporting dog, which is the result of a cross between the English Bulldog and the white English terrier, followed by inbreeding. This gay, sturdy, handsome little dog is racing with the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle for the title of "most popular pet dog in the United States."
Although not a fighting dog, the Boston has plenty of courage and he makes a dandy watchdog. He is most famous for his amiable, pleasant disposition, and his flair for companionship, which have gained him the name of THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN.
Mutts, pure-breds, or crossbreds will all give you their bravery and devotion if you let them. Crystal pure strain or uncertain ancestry will be equally willing to protect you if you have earned love.
Theoretically then, the mongrel that costs little will be a satisfactory pet---certainly many cross-bred dogs are clever, alert fellows-BUT, there is a big difference. There's wisdom and good judgment in choosing a dog from a pure-bred strain: you know what you are getting. When you buy an automobile you expect to know what's under the hood; similarly, when you shop for a pure-bred puppy you can look at the record of its ancestors and know what to expect when the dog grows.
A pedigree is an insurance policy, a guarantee of a definite type of doggy appearance and performance. Pure breeding is not just a talking point for kennel owners, nor a plan to make dogs fancier in appearance and more expensive; it is an endeavor to produce better, smarter dogs-consistently. A pedigreed dog is the result of many years of careful selection and breeding. Such a dog represents an effort at concentrating all the good traits of its ancestors.
Another sound reason for choosing a dog with a pedigree is that you, the owner, will be proud of your dog's good breeding, and with an eye to the investment you have in him, will give him better care. So, the entire idea of pedigree works to make your dog a more valuable and more pleasant member of your household.
Imagine your new pup's confusion when he first sees about him a forest of furniture legs. You probably brought him from a kennel where his short existence had been ordered and understandable. Around him there were other dogs, pup smells, dog noises, and a genial atmosphere redolent of cedar shavings. Now he sits on a hard floor and smells furniture polish. His young mind is flooded by new sensations; he will have to puzzle them out before he understands his new life. At present he needs encouragement; he's afraid and worried. If you were suddenly dropped in the middle of an African war dance with no interpreter handy, you would feel as your pup probably feels when he first comes to live with you.
The sensible thing to do is to let the little fellow explore his new home and get acquainted with it through his sensitive nose. When the puppy arrives, follow this routine:
Start his tour of the house; don't have all the family meet him at once, because he must not be excited or fondled too much. Give the pup some time alone. I f he seems hungry, offer him a small pan of warm milk.
Let the pup explore in his own muddled way. I f you start him out in the kitchen he can't damage the floor covering if he forgets himself in his first fluster. Later guide him through the other rooms. But-just one escort to point out the sights.
Remember the youngster has probably never known fear before coming to live with you. Stair steps, a slippery floor, swinging doors, rattling papers, running feet, music, shouts, are things that may frighten and shock him. So during his first tour try not to scare him.
You will want to fondle your new pup, but don't do it. Handling is dangerous for him. Don't be surprised if he cries at night; he will be lonesome and homesick. Usually a new puppy complains just two or three nights, after that he feels at home, and sleeps quietly.
You will be amused at first when the seemingly helpless pup usurps the softest chair in the house for a bed. This is just an early display of doggy sense: the chair is softer than the floor, and is up out of draughts.
Take the pup from the chair and show him his own bed.
If he is an apartment dweller, locate it in the bathroom or kitchen. A basket or box, lined with shredded newspapers, will make a suitable bed. Use a box with sides too high for the pup to crawl out at night. Dogs are naturally clean animals; they do not like to soil their beds. If you confine the pup to his sleeping place at night he cannot soil anything in the room, and you are giving him his first lesson in housebreaking.
Of course, the little fellow must be taken out-doors the last thing at night and as early as possible in the morning.