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dered into English, meant that he would rather flog a fault out of a headstrong dog than have the trouble of humouring and encouraging a timid one,-a true keeper, who spoke according to his lights! Both sorts of dogs, the headstrong and the timid-what this gentle man preferred, and what he did not can be easily broken if you begin them at the right time, and use them the right way.

A perfect retriever, full of dash and a quick worker, a dog that goes out at a gallop and comes back at a gallop, keen and persevering, and absolutely steady at heel till told to go, is worth quite fifty guineas. How few change hands at such a figure, and how seldom one meets with such an animal! Are, then, retrievers almost impossible to break? I say emphatically, No. Retrievers are singularly docile and tractable, easy to teach and eager for instruction, and the reason one meets with so few good ones and so many bad, is simply that their preliminary education-that education, I mean, which should begin when the dog is very young-has been to all intents and purposes absolutely neglected.

In the early days of the Volunteer movement, now over thirty years ago, crack rifle-shots began to crop up all over the country. Grocers' apprentices, bank clerks, and men of all trades and professions, all were fired with enthusiasm; most paid diligent attention to their instructors, and many came to the front; and I have heard it said-I believe with a considerable amount of truththat a "coming man could be picked out before ever he had fired his rifle that is, that a capable instructor could decide, by the aptitude of the pupil and his steadi

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ness at drill, who was likely to make a good shot and who was not. So it is, and more so, with a retriever. A capable breaker ought to be able to decide how a young dog will turn out, and diagnose his future long before he has seen a bird fall on the heather or the stubble. But the vast majority of keepers do not recognise this. They seem to think little nothing can be done till the shooting season comes round. Then, when "the Twelfth " does arrive, they have other duties to perform. Gentlemen want shooting, not dogbreaking, and when they see headstrong dogs running in, and timid ones running home, they not unnaturally lose their temper. Still, few blame the keeper. It is "that brute of a dog." "How did that young dog turn out?" I have asked I am afraid to say how often. "Well, sir, the family was only at the Lodge for six weeks last year, and the weather was so bad that there wasn't much shooting;" or, "The season was the very worst for partridges I ever remember; there was scarcely a bird in the country," were the sort of answers I used to receive in fact, the most valuable time in the dog's life had been completely wasted, whilst puppies of the same litter that I had kept myself, and that I had had under instruction at most two days a week, were already capital workers. That some keepers can break dogs, and break them well, I do not deny; but 95 per cent-I honestly believe I am within the mark when I say so-break them on totally erroneous principles. They take months to accomplish what may be done in days, and although they eventually reach the goal, it is by a most circuitous route, beset with difficulties of their own creation, the outcome of


either laziness or ignorance, or of both combined. Mr Bevan in his excellent work says that if broken too quickly, a retriever is sure to be wanting in perseverance. The question is, What is too quickly In my opinion, a puppy thoroughly well grounded and properly handled -say from the age of seven or eight months should prove of use and do some fair work the very first day he is shot over, and be brought gradually to something like perfection at the end of his first season. This is not too much to expect. To attempt, on the other hand, to bring a young dog on fast by at once showing him a lot of shooting; to take him, absolutely devoid of proper grounding, as a friend of mine did to a very big drive where hundreds of grouse were killed, and tie him up in a butt, that he might get "a good doing his first day," is about as great a mistake as one could make-in fact, a more unwise course could scarcely be followed. To think that this would steady him or teach him anything is absurd. He is unduly excited, and unduly restrained; and you are more apt to break his heart than anything else by such treatment. Far better take him out alone and shoot two or three birds over him.

First lessons should never be long, and young dogs should never be kept at work more than an hour or two at a stretch. Even if he has been well grounded and is ready for work, giving him a good doing" is a fatal error. As he gets tired, so he gets care

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less, drops his birds, lays them down, and rolls on them, or commits some other fault. If he waits till told to go, seeks for, and fetches back at once even a brace of birds, he has had a capital lesson, and earned his dinner. Hunting men who indulge in the luxury of a second horse are accustomed to send "the young one" home early-a most sensible plan to follow. The same tactics should be pursued with young retrievers. Have two out, or four if you have them - not all at once, it is needless to say; but if you have enough shooting, let your men meet you with a fresh dog every hour or two. A long day, as I have just said, tires a young dog, and makes him careless: a short lesson improves him, and makes him keener for another; moreover, all your dogs get regular exercise and continuous instruction. How much better that than to tire a dog out and leave him fretting in his kennel for two or three days afterwards-for, tired though he be, he still will fret! Besides, you cannot cram all your instruction into a dog, any more than you can into a human being, at once; and it stands to reason that your pupil will learn infinitely more by having five brace of birds shot over him every day for six days, than thirty brace in one day.

Any lesson inculcating obedience and self-control is always useful; and before a retriever's education

properly so-called- begins, he should be taught to lie down when

1 Apropos of this, when shooting in Buckinghamshire not long ago, I was explaining to my host that the dog I had with me had never been out before. Shortly thereafter, a very old lame beater hobbled up to me, and asked me if he had heard aright. "Yes, my man," I said, "this is his first day." He looked at me very steadily, shook his venerable head mournfully, and hobbled off again, doubtless saying to himself, "Well, he's a respectable-looking man, but Lord, what a liar! "

you hold up your hand or say "down," and remain lying while you walk or run away from him till you beckon him up by a wave of your arm. Two or three lessons of ten minutes each will teach him to lie down. Put him in position, and check him when he offers to get up, praise him when he is still, gradually increase the distance you walk from him, go out of his sight, come back and reward him when you find him in his place. Should he follow without leave, chide him, take him back, put him down again firmly, and caution him. Do not keep him in position too long at first, and above all things never make him lie down when he gallops back to you.1 A dog should bound back to his master with his head as high as he can carry it-as he ought to have it when retrieving "to hand." Dogs are always in a great state of excitement when let out in the morning, and the more dogs you have the greater the excitement. If you make them all lie down while you talk to your keeper or put off the time in any other way for a couple of minutes, walk away slowly for fifty yards, beckon them up, instantly checking them and making them "come back" when they get in front, it is an excellent lesson to begin the day with. Needless to say, a young dog should be taught to swim and enter the

water freely, or he may be found wanting when you wish him to fetch a bird from loch or river. He should not be thrown in, and if the weather is cold he should be well dried before being put back in his kennel. Throw a piece of biscuit into the water close to him at first; then from shallow water into deeper, and he will find himself off his legs and swimming before he knows where he is. A retriever should be an "all-round" dog in the widest acceptation of the term. He should behave himself like a gentleman in the house, he should enter a dogcart, boat, train, or

motor-car with equa

nimity; he should run in couples, answer to whistle, enter his kennel instantly when told, and do many other things of more or less importance, which the exercise of a little patience and common-sense will teach him; and not the least useful lesson he can learn is to look on sheep without excitement, even when they suddenly take fright and bolt in all directions, this part of his education being perfected by taking him into an enclosure in the lambing season. You need not, when you do So, be the least solicitous for the safety of the lambs. It is your dog you must take care of; for should he show an inclination either for lamb or mutton, the ewes will soon settle the question, and establish

1 I recollect on one occasion being out with three puppies, teaching them the art of lying down. The lesson was being given in a park, and I had with me an old favourite to set a good example and make things easier. I had just succeeded in inducing all four to lie down and remain quiet, when an invalid lady came suddenly in sight from behind a clump of trees about a hundred yards distant. In an instant the dogs were on their legs-I had not time to realise how many and were off in her direction, barking furiously. Fearing she might be frightened, I made after them as hard as I could, calling on them to come back. Although a little boisterous, they were very friendly, and when I got up, blowing like a grampus, the only thing she said was, "Oh! do look at that dog. Turning round, there I saw the old one lying where I had told him to lie. Notwithstanding three dogs and his master bolting incontinently, he had not moved one yard.

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a funk which, in nine cases out of ten, is permanent.1 How to make him come to heel or to his proper place is treated of later on; and how to handle him so as to put him at once beyond the possibility of being gun-shy" is of vital importance. A gun-shy dog, it goes without saying, is useless to a sportsman. The very mention of the word carries consternation with it. The wretched animal proved to be suffering from this vice, or disease, or whatever you please to call it, is straightway doomed to destruction; and were he the handsomest and best-tempered dog in the kennel, the sentence is ruthlessly carried out without loss of time; and so apprehensive are the purchasing public of being "let in," that advertisements akin to the following, which appeared in the 'Field' quite recently, are occasionally met with. Condensed it runs as follows: "Messrs Warner, Sheppard, & Wade will sell 'Bang,'' Rex,' 'Don,""&c., naming seven pointers. "All are steady and reliable dogs, and have been heavily shot over. 'Box,' a firstrate no-slip retriever. All above are warranted not gun-shy." What would be thought, I wonder, of an advertisement describing a hunter as "a very fine fencer and temperate, suitable for an elderly gentleman, has been broken." Yet the latter advertisement is no more ridiculous than the former. How dogs that are afraid of the gun can be described as heavily shot over and perfect no-slip retrievers passes my comprehension. If the adver


tisement means anything, it means presumably to satisfy those who look upon the failing as some hereditary taint latent in the canine race 2 -a taint of a most mysterious nature, ready to break out with complications at any time, like the influenza, and conclude that "Rab and his friends" I mean Bang, Rex, and Co.— having had many attacks, have outgrown the disease, and are not likely to have any more. "Shirley's dogs often turn out gun-shy,” said a friend to me when we were one day conversing on things canine. Now, no dogs out" gun-shy, whether they belong to Mr Shirley or to any one else; they are made gun-shy by the ignorance and imbecility of the keeper or breaker to whom they are intrusted for their education. A gun-shy dog is simply a timid dog mismanaged in breaking. The same dog would almost to a certainty be a whip-shy dog, or an umbrella-suddenly-opened-inhis-face-shy dog, to make rather a long adjective of it. two or three puppies were playing in a farmyard, and a pack of hounds came suddenly through, the servants cracking their whips after the stragglers like pistolshots, what would the puppies do? Bolt, every man of them-one to the stable, another to the byre, another among the ducks and geese. One, however, it might be, would stand his ground longer than the rest. Say, on the other hand, that the hounds were passing some fields away, with the

Say that

1 "Goad, I wudna wonder if he's rinnin' the sheep," I once overheard a Lowland keeper remark, whose dog had unaccountably disappeared; and "rinnin'" them he was with a vengeance, being about three-quarters of a mile away with a lot of "Cheviots" in front of him; and this man had had the dog under his charge from puppyhood in a country where there was little else than sheep! 2 When I advertised recently two puppies for sale, six weeks old, an individual wrote to ask if I would guarantee them not gun-shy!

same pistol-shots going off, what would the puppies do then? cock their ears all of them and trot a little nearer, led by the most courageous, to hear what the commotion was. Dogs and human beings are in no wise different from one another in some important particulars. Some are constitutionally bold, others timid, and the more timid a dog is, the greater the distance should be between him and the gun when he hears it for the first time, and when you propose to accustom him to the sound of it. If keepers appreciated this axiom, and would take a little trouble, a gun-shy dog would be a rara avis indeed; and I am bold enough to say that any dog can be put beyond the possibility of becoming gun-shy in half-a-dozen lessons of ten minutes each. Some keepers take a considerable amount of trouble in teaching their dogs to fetch and carry; but it never enters into their calculations that a puppy may fail in the most important particular, or that it is in their power to avert what possibly may happen on the twelfth of August, or the first of September. A young and rather timid dog is taken out, generally on a cord; a right and left, perhaps from more than one gun, is suddenly fired nearly over his back. The noise frightens him, the restraint of the cord makes matters worse, and he is thoroughly cowed. "Damn the brute, he's gun-shy," says some intelligent sportsman; "shoot him." "So he is," says Donald. "That is a peety; the very puppy the maister picket oot for hissel' -the best-looking o' the lot."

Neither he nor his master, when he draws him aside that evening and tells him with bated breath the result of the puppy's first day, has the slightest idea that any one

has been wanting in his duty. It is a dispensation of Providencethe puppy has "turned out" gunshy, and the beautiful young dog's first day is also his last.

Let us look now at the method adopted by those conversant with the "disease," to secure immunity from it. A writer in the 'Field' who signs his name, and is evidently a sportsman, gravely advocates the following course of instruction :—

"Having taught him this lessonto answer to whistle-take him one

day on to the lawn, and crack off a half-charged cartridge. If he bolts off to his kennel, try the whistle. Probably no effect: then simply follow him and chain him up whilst comforting his shattered nerves. If your pup is shy the first shot, try him again shortly, making much of him : he will soon come to."

I have read many recipes, but this fairly beats all. A surer way of ruining your dog could not be devised. You are simply recommended in cold blood to create the disease and then give yourself the task of curing it. If the puppy's nerves are "shattered," the harm is done, and he will fear the second discharge more than the first. You have now got a gun-shy dog, and though you may cure him, it will only be by the expenditure of an enormous amount of patience and perseverance.

Some keepers are in the habit of firing a pistol before feedingtime, the meaning of this manœuvre being that the dogs may associate the sound with something pleas ant, and in longing for their food, long for the noise that invariably announces it. The idea is not a particularly original one, and the success or otherwise of the system depends on the size of the pistol and the disposition of the dog. A large pistol would undoubtedly

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