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Exercise is necessary at all ages, but the fully developed dog may be confined for some little time without permanent injury, the formation of his feet and the texture of his bones and muscles being then finally settled. On the other hand, the puppy will grow according to the demands made upon his mechanism, and if the muscles are left idle they do not enlarge ; while the feet remain thin and weak, with the tendons and ligaments relaxed, so that they spread out like a human hand. Growing puppies should be provided with an area sufficiently large for them to play in, according to their size, and under cover up to the end of the third month ; after which, if they have a sheltered sleeping-place to run into, they will generally avoid heavy rain. Young puppies play sufficiently in a loose box or similar enclosure ; but, after the time specified above, they must either have their entire liberty, or be allowed the run of a larger space, the alternative being bad feet, defective development, and weak joints.
HOME REARING VERSUS WALKING.
When one or two puppies only are to be reared, they may be readily brought up at home, excepting in towns or other confined situations where due liberty and a proper amount of sun and air cannot be obtained. But where a larger number are to be reared, as in the case of hounds, greyhounds, pointers and setters, &c., there is a difficulty attending upon numbers, as a dozen or two of puppies about a house are not conducive to the neatness and beauty of the garden ; besides which, the collection together in masses of young dogs is prejudicial to their health. To avoid this evil, therefore, it is customary to send puppies out at three or four months of age to be kept by cottagers, butchers, small farmers, &c., at a weekly sum for each, which is called “walking" them. Young greyhounds may be reared in a large enclosure, which should be not less than thirty or forty feet long, with a lodginghouse at one end; but hounds do not take exercise 'enough in a confined space, and should invariably be sent out. It is only therefore in reference to the rearing of greyhounds that the two plans can be compared, or perhaps also with pointers and setters, if they are taken out to exercise after they are four or five months old.
The two plans have been extensively tried with the longtails, and in my own opinion the preference should be given to the home rearing if properly carried out, because it has all the advantages of the “walk” without those disadvantages attending upon it, in the shape of bad habits acquired in chasing poultry, rabbits, and often hares, during which the puppy learns to run cunning. One of the first symptoms of this vice is the waiting to cut off a corner, which is soon learnt if there is the necessity for it, and even in mutual play the puppy will often develop it. Hence I have seen a “walked ”greyhound, with his very first hare, show as much waiting as any old worn-out runner, evidently acquired
in his farm-yard education, or possibly from having been tempted after a hare or two by the sheep-dog belonging to the farm. Moreover, the home-reared puppy, being confined in a limited space during the greater part of his time, is inclined to gallop when first let out, and takes in this way more exercise than those brought up on the other plan; so that, after considering both methods, I have come to the conclusion that the home rearing is preferable on the whole, though there is no doubt that good dogs may be reared in either way.
The best plan is to fence off a long slip of turf; or, if a small walled enclosure can be procured, fence off about a yard or two all round, by which last plan an excellent gallop is secured, without the possibility of cutting corners, and with a very slight loss of ground. An admirable plan is to build four large sleeping-rooms in a square-block, and then all round this let there be a run two yards wide, which may be separated into four divisions, or thrown into one at will. If the latter, the puppies will exercise themselves well round and round the building, which is a practice they are very fond of; and, even if two or more lots are wanted to occupy the compartments, the whole can be thrown open to each lot in turn. When this plan is adopted the run should be paved, so that the expense is much greater than in the other mode, in which the natural soil is allowable, because the puppies are not kept on it long enough to stain it. (See page 226.)
THE FOOD OF PUPPIES AT HOME OR “AT WALK,” AND ITS
Whether at home or out, puppies require the same kind of food, and the more regularly this is given as to quantity and quality, as well as the times of feeding, the more healthy the puppy will be, and the faster he will grow. Many people consider milk to be by far the best article of food for growing puppies, and undoubtedly it is a good one, but it is not superior to a mixed diet of meal and animal food in proper proportions, and occasionally varied by the addition of green vegetables. Indeed, after three months, or at most four, puppies may be fed like grown dogs as to the quality of their food, requiring it however to be given them more frequently the younger they are. Up to six months they require it three times a day, at equal intervals, and after that age twice; for although there is a difference of opinion as to the propriety of feeding the adult once or twice a day, there is none about the puppy demanding a supply morning and evening. In all cases, they should be encouraged to empty themselves (by allowing a run, if they are confined to kennel) just before feeding, and for an hour or two afterwards they are best at rest. If milk is given, it may be thickened by boiling in it oatmeal or wheat-flour, or both together, or biscuits may be scalded and added to it; but no flesh is needed in addition, bones only being required to amuse the dog and to clean his teeth by gnawing them. With these any dog may be very well reared, but the plan is an expensive one, if the milk has any thing like the ordinary value attached to it, and if it has to be purchased, the cost is generally quite prohibitory of its employment.
Besides milk, the following articles are employed in feeding dogs, each of which will be separately considered, as to price and value. Of these, Indian meal is by far the best in proportion to its price (being quite equal to anything but the very best wheatflour, which is perhaps slightly more nourishing), and, being so much cheaper, is, on that account, to be preferred. It requires to be mixed with oatmeal, in about equal proportions, or less of the latter if the bowels are at all relaxed. The usual price of Indian meal is about 101. or 121. per ton, half that of wheat and the same as that of barley, to which it is greatly to be preferred, being far less heating, and producing muscle in larger proportion. Oatmeal is considerably dearer, though the grain itself is cheaper; but the quantity of meal obtained, owing to the amount of chaff, is so small, that when this is got rid of the meal is necessarily sold at a higher price, being from 121. to 181. per ton, according to the season. But a much larger bulk of thick stuff, commonly called “puddings,” is produced by oatmeal than can be obtained from any other meal in proportion to weight, the absorption of water being greater, and also varying in different qualities of oatmeal itself; so that, after all, this meal is not so expensive as it looks to be, when comparing an equal weight of it with barley or Indian meal. The real coarse Scotch oatmeal yields the greatest bulk of puddings, and is to be preferred on that account; besides which, it appears to agree best with dogs, and altogether is a very superior article; but in