Raising a Dog

In this 1923 Dog World article, the editors explain what they feel a prospective dog owner should look for when getting a dog and how to care for your new dog.

From the Archives of Dog World: Enjoy this all-access pass to dog history from the pages of the longest published dog magazine. This content remains in its original form and reflects the language and views of its time. Health and behavior information evolves and only the most current advice should be followed.

As a housedog goes, the larger dog breeds are not the best and as a general rule the long-haired ones are not chosen. The advice for a prospective dog owner is to procure one of the medium size with a smooth, short coat. Dark dogs are better than light.

The question is often asked to what sex makes the best for the average home. Each has an advantage and a disadvantage but to my findings the female dog is far superior to the male in nearly every respect. They are quicker to learn and also behave much better on the lead and remain nearer to the home when given yard liberty. Then too, if convenient, your dog may maintain her keeping by an occasional litter of puppies, if the owner so wishes.

The age at which to buy a dog is also a matter worthy of thought. If the individual is already grown, his training is set and while it is possible to retain, the affection seems not as genuine as a dog raised from puppy-blood. Most people buy puppies but unless the owner is extremely patient and understands his charge, poor training is often the result.

After purchasing your dog from a reliable kennel, the little fellow is shipped to you. It is at this point that your future companion is made or ruined.  The puppy, a cute little imp, is brought into the kitchen and the crate opened, he is given much attention for the first day or so, without much thought given to the future. An example of improper reception is to rump and fuss with him, give him the liberty of the house where later he is forbidden to go. The best course of procedure is as follows: – when taken from his crate a very little petting will be sufficient, give him a little food, warm milk is excellent, and prepare for him to fall asleep, where he is always to remain. Now, watch your charge and at the first indication place him outside, watch him closely and as soon as his duty is complete, let him in.

Soon he will wish to sleep, therefore put him in his quarters and upon awakening put him out doors. Many owners make the mistake of putting him out too soon or calling him in after too long a time. When housebreaking, it must be firmly established in the dog’s mind that messing in-doors is forbidden and he is put out for that purpose and not to play.

Many trainers teach their dogs to speak but have found that if the house-clean habit is established the dog will use its head to let you know that it wishes to be let out. “A well trained puppy will be a well behaved dog” is an often repeated fact.

The more experience I have with the canine race the more firmly I believe that the dog has power of concentrated thought. Also, certain individuals show traits of character that human beings possess. One dog I owned showed stubbornness, willful disobedience, and temper, but with considerable perseverance and patience they were overcome and at the time of sale he had fourteen tricks under his hide, all without the use of a whip, but with strong talk and force. Another dog I have can be made to slink into the corner and whine as if whipped by a contemptible tone of voice.

The above examples are just given to show what system will work on one will utterly ruin the other; so find the character of your dog and treat accordingly, but do not break his will or you will have a slinking coward on your hands.

When corporal punishment is necessary it must be administered at the time of the act, and a good way to do so is with a folded newspaper or a thin lath. There are only a few things that a dog can do that require a whip licking: chicken-eating, night-howling, heel nipping of strangers, and snapping.

Always speak firmly giving only short commands that are easily understood. When he is doing the act that is expected, repeating helps to establish the same in mind. A dog should be awarded with food or affection on the completion of the task.

The dog is one animal that is willing to please, gives a thousand dollars worth of affection for a ten cent bone. As a general rule, if the master would do and give to his dog as the dog is willing to do for his master there would be a far better class of dogs and people.

In review, get a medium-sized, short, dark-haired dog with an alert mind. Buy him from a reliable party when young, and teach him the right things from the start. Above all, never loose the grip on yourself nor let the dog get away without going through with what is expected of him, if he knows what is required. Much can be written on this wonderful friend of man’s, but in closing I wish to say that it is surprising how little help a really smart house dog requires to fill all the requirements of his owner.

Excerpted from Dog World magazine, October 1923, Vol. VIII, No. 10. For back issues of Dog World, click here.

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Dogs · Lifestyle