The Scotch collie dog will make the best friend of all the dogs in the canine race, writes a collie admirer. Of all useful animals God gave to man what can excel the dog, at least with the stockmen; in affection no other dog can compare with him, he is a dog that every farmer needs. He has almost human intelligence, a pure bred collie can always be depended upon in sunshine or adversity. He can do his work in a manner that should put the average boy to shame. The pure bred Scotch Collies are of a kind and affectionate disposition and they become strongly attached to their master. There can be no friend more honest and enduring than the noble, willing and obedient thoroughbred Scotch Collie. As a devoted friend and faithful companion he has no equal in the canine race, he will guard the household and property day and night. The Scotch Collies are very watchful and always on the alert, while their intelligence is really marvelous.
At one year old they are able to perform full duty herding sheep, cattle and other stock, attending them all day when necessary, keeping them together and where they belong and driving off all strange intruders. They learn to know their master’s animals from others in a very short time, and a well-trained dog will gather them home and put each into its right stall. They have a dainty carriage and fine style, profuse silky hair of various colors. Others incline to the conviction that practical purposes have been lost sight of in breeding, and that appearances have been sought to such an extent that the present day pure bred collies lack some of the attributes of intelligence and hardihood that made the collie famous. In view of this fact it is quite likely that for general purposes and certainly for hunting purposes, a dash of alien blood is advantageous.
The crossed collie, or the well-known shepherd dog, so common to the farm, are very often used with success in all forms of night hunting. There are some who go so far as to maintain that the shepherd or a cross of shepherd and fox hound are ideal for coon, rabbit and squirrel hunting.
The use of these dogs as sheep herders has deteriorated in this country, although they are still bred for practical purposes with marked success in parts of England.
HOW TO TRAIN A COLLIE.
The best way to make a start is to get a pure-bred puppy from a good working strain. To gain the best results and secure the full worth of a Collie as a stock dog, I would say, take him as a little puppy.
There are many reasons why we favor the little puppy to the dog nearly or quite grown. Most collies are sensitive and suspicious and of fine temperament and this characteristic often makes them appear rather more cowardly than brave. A Collie that has been properly cared for and considerably handled during his puppyhood up to maturity should have plenty of courage. A puppy should never be permitted to have a place of refuge where he can run away and hide on hearing a slight noise or unusual disturbance of any kind, or at the sight of a stranger.
If he is kept under conditions where he can see all that may be going on, and in that way become familiar with active life, learning that noises and strange persons do not harm him, he will develop plenty of courage, without which there is but little hope of great usefulness.
First, teach him his name, and to come when you call him. Teach him to mind but always by kind methods. Let him love and trust you, gaining his affection by gentle treatment. He should be accustomed to the collar and chain when young, though it is much better to keep him in the yard than confined by a chain while he is growing. Teach him one thing at a time — to lie down and remain in that position until excused; to follow at your will, and stop at the word, to come in at once at command, and to turn to the right or left.
All these lessons can be easily managed by use of a small cord and always using the appropriate word with emphasis. He should always be made to keep at your heels when out for a walk with you. In that way, after telling him to go to heel whenever he tries to run away, he will understand the word better when he goes with you to drive the cattle for the first time.
Let him keep back of the stock with you, while you drive the cattle to and from the field or pasture without undertaking to teach him, for as he learns by observation, he must have the example made plain. He will quickly show a desire to help and then you may take advantage of this act, encouraging him to help you, and after he has been with you a time or two, he will soon become a driver at the heel. Give him plenty of practice, and when he becomes a good driver at the heel, taking a positive interest in his work, he can then be. easily taught to turn the cattle to the right or left, to head them off, stop them or go alone into the distant fields and bring the cattle to the stable.
He should never be allowed to drive the cattle fast for if once allowed to run them, he will become careless and develop a disposition to worry them.
Do not weary him with over-commanding nor notice every little mistake which unnoticed may not occur again. If you gain his affection and do not forget to tell him that he has been a good dog when he has done well for you, he will learn fast for he has a wonderful memory and never forgets the things he has learned to do. Thus we are amply repaid for the care and time used in making the lesson plain.
I might say a few words about feeding the puppy, as he should have good food when young. The first few months he should be fed on bread and milk, never giving him any meat at any time, and as he grows older, give him the bread dry and the milk as a drink. A comfortable sleeping place should also be given him. The best place is in the house or stable and he should be kept in at night at all times of the year.
You will find that a well looked after Collie is a valuable and life-long friend and helper.
Hunting dogs: Describes in a practical manner the training, handling, treatment, breeds, etc., best adapted for night hunting as well as gun dogs for daylight sport
by Oliver Hartley