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always putting your hand under dog. Moreover, even if you can the jaw and keeping it there, get it, a bird looks rather mean telling him to "hold it.” Make and dishevelled after rough treathim wheel and turn with you as ment; but rabbits may be rebefore, your great aim being to trieved by two or three dogs, and see that he carries the thing pro- dragged through hedges and across perly, comes right up to you when ditches with impunity. As Tate you tell him to "come on with it" Sullivan said of the "ould famior “fetch it," and holds it till you lies,” they “keep their looks to the tell him to "give it up."1 The last." lesson should on no account be Whenever the dog gets to where prolonged beyond a few minutes, you know the rabbit is, call to him and the puppy should not be re- or whistle instantly. Do not let warded till be carries the object him linger if you can help it. back to the house, or to his kennel, “Why, you don't give him time to as the case may be ; for he should pick the beast up,” said a friend be made to do this, teaching him to me when we were watching a that what he retrieves is of value trial together. “No dog of mine, (Bevan) and is never thrown away. if he gets up to his prey, will The lesson may be varied later on come back without it,” was my by throwing the object into thick reply, and back came the dog at a grass or any sort of cover, which gallop. Many sportsmen — and will make the puppy put down good sportsmen too—will not let his head and use his nose, or over
their retrievers carry ground-game a fence to see that he holds to it till they are in their second or under more difficult surroundings; third season, believing that it but your main object at this stage, makes them wild and inclined to as I have just said, is to see that chase. This I never could underhe retrieves quickly and cleanly, stand. If you have confidence in and always "to hand.”
yourself, the more temptation you I generally finish this part of put in the way of a young dog the a puppy's education by making better, and hares and rabbits are him retrieve a rabbit or two. It the very things you require to enlarges his ideas, and gives him a steady him. I am convinced that foretaste of what is to come. Ac- Henry Michie, if you put him on custom him to carry it first, then his mettle, and he had to work drag it across a field for a con- against time, would take a dog, siderable distance, and let him without a cord, among any numfind it by means of his nose. ber of the quadrupeds in question A rabbit is the best thing to use, in three weeks after the animal had for several reasons : you cannot been intrusted to him. I mean, of get a partridge or pheasant at any course, if it had not been handledtime of the year; but the bunny, and spoilt—by some one previously. like the poor, is always with us, Your pupil is now, let us supand he is particularly odoriferous, pose, perfect in this part of his which is encouraging to a young education. He stays at heel with
1 It is useful to increase the length of the cord and give him more freedom, and eventually, of course, to dispense with it altogether.
2 For fourteen years in the employ of Mr Lloyd Price, and incomparably the best breaker and the most humane I ever saw-master of his work in every detail, careful to a fault, and ready with a reason for everything he does.
out a slip, retrieves without a fault, and off he would bound the minute and does not fear the gun. “The he got leave, understanding the Twelfth” has arrived, and you take whole situation. No. Steadiness him out on active service. A care- is of more importance, to begin less or over-confident man has now with, than retrieving. Of course an excellent opportunity of undo- you must put the pupil on a cord ing in one short half-hour, or very for the first few lessons. When much less, the work of many weeks. a bird falls walk him up to it, The dog up to date may be nearly cautioning him the whole way; perfect, but he has never had the pick it up yourself and put it in temptation he will be exposed to his mouth, make him follow you to-day. He has never seen a covey with it, keeping him in his place of grouse get up at his feet or à as of old, and giving him great hare bound off in front of him. praise when he does well. The He has never heard shot after shot bird, of course, will be strange to fired in rapid succession, or pos- him, and he may not take hold at sibly been accustomed to any one's first readily, especially if it be company but your own; still I alive; and feeling he has now got repeat that, under a competent hold of something worth carrying, man, he ought to do well the first he may show reluctance to give it day. Ignorant breakers are always up when told: but if you have in a hurry to make their pupils brought him up properly, I will retrieve, and even should the bird undertake to say he will, before he fall within 20 yards, and lie ex- has seen a dozen birds shot, receive posed to view, they send them for them as readily, carry them as it. Do not fall into this error. well, and give them up as freely The use of a retriever, roughly as he did the article he was accusspeaking, is to find birds that you tomed to in his more boyish days. cannot find yourself, and an intel- How soon you may dispense with ligent dog will soon understand the cord and free him depends this. Many a time I have walked entirely on circumstances. Some forward to pick up a bird in the dogs are much more headstrong heather, only to find that it wasn't and excitable than others, and where I thought it was. Either I must be treated accordingly; but had marked the place badly or the one thing is certain, you can never bird had run. "Where is it, my be too careful with a young one. man? I can't find it," I would If you have more guns out than say to the dog. “Let me try,” he usual, and anticipate more firing, would reply with eyes and tail, or if in cover-shooting you are sent
1 I have a young bitch just now, a very dashing and persevering worker, and steady beyond almost anything I have seen in so young a dog. When a bird falls she is so far from running in that she turns round at once and stands looking up in my face asking for permission to go. In that position she will remain as long as you like till she gets the word ; then, reversing herself on her own axis, she is off like the wind. She has also a beautiful mouth, and used, when “at walk,” to retrieve the ducks incautiously straying from the burn-side, very much at first to the indignation, but eventually to the amusement, of the proprietor,and I am almost inclined to think of the ducks. One bird, to my certain knowledge, was retrieved three times, and when released from a somewhat embarrassing position would give herself a good shake and walk off, “no' a preen the waur," with that graceful gait which is the distinguishing characteristic of this domestic fowl.
to a "hot corner," put him on the dog of bad habits, more especially if cord again for a few minutes to of long standing : still, much may
how he behaves himself. be done by bringing some intellect Moreover, you must remember to bear on the matter; and if the that many dogs get keener as they animal is a favourite, and a handget older, and that even in their • some one, it is at any rate worth second season they must be care- trying. The dog must simply be fully watched.
begun afresh; and patience and When a retriever, after a long kindness, coupled with occasional and trying hunt for a dead or correction, will work wonders. wounded bird, returns with it I have read many recipes for triumphantly in his mouth, he is curing hard-mouthed dogs. The —or at any rate ought to be best plan, if you have one, is to made much of and caressed. The present him to a friend. Such bird is taken from him and the generosity is its reward. incident is closed. When, on the There is nothing more provoking other hand, he fails to find the than to have your birds mangled, bird, he is uniformly-as far as and a perfect cure is seldom effectmy experience goes —allowed to ed. When a dog is hard-mouthed potter away or lag behind as long with ground-game only-I have as he pleases. He is then whistled had three or four of the sort-he up sharply, and heartily damned generally, according to my expefor having kept people waiting, rience, improves as he gets older. and in many instances he may con- It is certainly unpleasant to see sider himself fortunate to escape a retriever shake a hare or a rabbit with the condemnation only. Now, as a terrier does a rat; but do not the dog may have done as well, or be discouraged when he so conpossibly much better, in the latter ducts himself. Get him to come up case than in the former. He may with it as soon as possible, and take have hunted honestly for a bird it from him, and he will in all probsupposed to have fallen (some ability outgrow the habit. Should men's birds always do falì, al- he linger on the way, either to though they are not always found); shake or to play with what he is or the bird may have got up à fetching, a man should be sent bedrain, or there may be little or yond him with instructions to apno scent. Every hunt, successful proach him stealthily as if to catch or unsuccessful, should have a him. A whip may in some cases definite termination ; and the dog, be cracked, but not too aggreswhen he has done his best unsuc- sively, or the prey will be dropped cessfully, and when he is tiring altogether. A dog followed up in himself out in what appears a
this fashion will look round sushopeless effort, should be called piciously and make for his master, up, caressed, and told the bird has always preferring to give up to gone away.”
He will very soon him what he is carrying rather understand, accept what you say, than to any one else. I had a and fall contentedly into his place young bitch once very hard on again.
ground-game; so hard, indeed, was I have endeavoured — I hope she that on one occasion when I successfully—to show how a dog was taking a hare from her she begun early, and properly handled, seized it by the head and smashed can be made a useful retriever. It the bones with a very audible is infinitely more difficult to cure a crunch. Not one minute after
wards she brought me a winged gradually nearer. When a bird grouse alive without hurting a fell I encouraged her to retrieve feather, and in fact she never did it, sending the keeper some dishurt a bird all the time I had her. 1 tance forward with the gun. She
To cure a gun-shy dog is not an got keener and keener, and turned impossibility, but it requires a great out an excellent and dashing amount of tact and patience. I worker. got one from a keeper in Sussex The worst fault, perhaps, that a some years ago, his verdict on her retriever can commit is to "run being that she was gun-shy, and in." The animal puts up birds, nothing would induce her to re- demoralises other dogs, and leads trieve. I am quite sure a finer to coarse and profane language. specimen of the genus could not The owner is voted a public nuishave been found anywhere. She ance; and when every one is out was so timid, poor thing, that her of temper, he can only-like Welmode of progression was uniformly lington at Waterloo" pray for on her stomach. I was curious to the darkness." A dog that has see if anything could be made of run in persistently, and has reached her, and set myself the task of a certain age, is virtually "past effecting a cure. I easily taught praying for.” The idea of steadyher to retrieve-by force of ex- ing him should be abandoned, and ample—and very fond she became he should be constantly on of her lessons ; but she knew a slip. Still I have seen a good job gun-case whenever she saw it, and made of one when
years the instant I took the weapon out of age by Henry Michie. The and began to put it together she animal — she is still in my posbolted. She was, in fact, a typical session — when fourteen months specimen. I took her to Scotland old was a capital worker, and quite with me, and at the end of six steady without a slip. I was too days—not consecutive, they were confident with her, took her to a spread over nearly as many weeks grouse-drive-her first experience -I shot a grouse when she was at of driving, or of a “general action” my heel, sent her for it, and when -without even a bit of string in she was hunting shot another right my pocket, took the right of the over her back, and the only idea line, where not one bird came my in her head was to get the birds. way, and in less than five minutes Force of example again had a she was ruined. It is quite posgreat deal to do with the cure. I sible that had I killed a bird or let her go entirely free, taking a two, and she had seen them fall, well-broken dog with me. For the she might have remained quiet; but first day or two she was sometimes the continuous firing on the left 100 yards behind, but she came and my enforced inaction drove
1 As recently as three weeks ago, on the 9th of May, a young dog of mine did what-as evidence of a perfect mouth-I have never seen surpassed. I had him out at exercise with two others in a grass field when I noticed he had something in his mouth. What it was I could not at first discover. He rushed off with it at full speed, followed by his companions, lay down two or three times, and off again-as dogs will do-when they got up to him. Presently, on his coming a little nearer, I noticed something like a bird's head protruding from his jaws, and calling him up, I took a young thrush from his mouth perfectly uninjured. Notwithstanding the excitement of play and the efforts made by the other dogs to catch him, he had carried it perfectly tenderly without ever closing his mouth. her wild. She looked up in my with a rope of that length-pull face as if to say, “If you call this him instantly back hand over hand, sport I don't," and bolted out of giving him some sharp cuts with the butt. A wilder dog I never the whip. The severity of the saw, and instead of coming back punishment will depend on circunto her old form she got worse. I stances; but if such treatment gave her up as hopeless, but as she does not cure him, say, in three was a wonderfully handsome one, lessons, take my advice, and let and took second prize at the Agri- him be relegated to a slip for the cultural Hall, I kept her to breed full term of his natural life. In from. Michie, when he came into this case two lessons were suffimy service, was interested in her, cient. The bitch is now a beauti. but on hearing her history shook ful worker, and almost perfectly his head. Still he offered to do steady. Occasionally she will make his best, and knowing that his a bolt forward, but instantly comes breaking would never degenerate back when told, and although I into cruelty, I told him to take should certainly not guarantee her her in hand. He began her at as a perfectly broken dog, she the very beginning, but that was makes few mistakes. not sufficient, and he had to take Her history may serve to show to the plan of tying her to a tree what I have always asserted, that beside some rabbit-holes, ferreting easy as it is to make a dog it is the rabbits out, and shooting them easier to unmake one; that a in front of her, before she could be thoroughly capable man-I wonbrought to see the unregenerate der how many there are !—can state she was in. This is more
This is more successfully cope with apeffectual and more humane than parently hopeless case; and that using a spiked collar. The rope any one who sends a valuable should be, say, 12 yards long, and retriever “on trial” to people he as the dog should never be allowed knows nothing about, may as well to get hold of a rabbit during a tie the proverbial millstone about lesson, the holes should be outside the animal's neck and cast him the length of the rope. A wild into the sea. I would conclude dog is sure to run in when the by asserting most emphatically rabbit bolts : keep cautioning him, that he who spareth the rod loveth call to him “Come back" when he the dog, and if I can bring the disobeys, and when he is brought British sportsman to this way of up pretty sharp-which he will be thinking I have not written in vain.