This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
"My benches are made of inch pine, cut into widths of three inches, and nailed half an inch apart to two transverse pieces, to which hinges arc fixed to connect the bench with a board six inches wide, fastened firmly to the wall about a foot from the ground. In front is a piece of board about three inches in width, to keep the straw from drawing off with the hounds. To prevent the hounds from creeping under, I nail two long laths the length of the bench across in front of the legs, which are hung with hinges in front of the bench, so that when the bench is hooked back they fall down and hang flat. By having the six-inch boar J between the hinges and the wall, it prevents the former from being strained when the bench is hooked back with straw upon it."
Fig. 41. - bench for a kennel. - a a folds to b b, c c folds to d d, e, hook to fasten bench back.
In some establishments there is a separate kennel for the young founds, with a grass yard attached, for their own use, and it is certainly very advantageous; but with a little management the buildings above recommended will be sufficient, and with a saving of considerable expense. The hounds during the hunting season will not require it at all, as they should be walked out several tunes a day into a paddock or field, and should not be allowed to lie about anywhere but on their benches.
In the rear of the kennels there should be a covered passage into which the doors of the middle kennel can open, and leading to the feeding-house, which stands under the same roof as the boiling-house, only separated from it by a partition. This passage should be so constructed as to make a foot-bath for the hounds as they pass through after hunting, the bricks being gradually sloped from each end to the center, where it should be a foot deep, with a plugged drain in the lowest part, to let the hot liquor or water off into a drain. On each side of this passage there should be a paved court with a small lodging-house at each end; one for lame hounds, and the other for those which are sick.
Fig. 42. - ventilating shaft. - a, b, c, d, the four divisions of shaft e, f, board for distributing down current.
The ventilation of the rooms composing the lodgings of the hounds must be carefully attended to, and for this purpose the shaft shown at fig. 42 is especially well adapted. It resembles in external appearance that usually placed above well-constructed stables, etc.; but there is this important internal alteration, that the square is divided perpendicularly into four triangular tubes, one of which is sure to be presented to the wind from whatever quarter of the compass it is blowing, while the opposite one allows the foul air to escape, to make room for that descending through the first-named tube. When this is once constructed, it only remains to lead a metal tube from each of these four compartments to every one of the lodging-rooms, which will thus be as effectually ventilated as if each had an apparatus to itself. To carry this out well, the lodging-rooms should be in a block, and then there will be a corner of each meeting in a common center, above which the ventilator should be placed with the arrangement of tubes above described.
The kennel management of hounds is a much more difficult and important affair than is generally supposed, as upon its proper performance, in great measure, depends the obedience of the pack in the field. Sometimes it is entirely committed to the care of the feeder, but every huntsman who knows his business will take as much pains with his hounds in kennel as out, and though he will not, of course, prepare the food, yet he will take care to superintend it, and will always "draw" his hounds himself, for no one else can possibly know how to feed them. During the season, this duty must of necessity devolve on the feeder or kennel-man on the hunting days, but the huntsman should always carry it out himself whenever he can. Hounds can not be too fond of their huntsman, and though "cupboard love" is not to be encouraged in man, yet it is at the bottom of most of that which is exhibited by the dog, however much it may appear to take a higher range when once it has been properly developed.
The regular daily kennel discipline is as follows: With the four lodging-rooms doscribed there should always be two dry and clean in the early morning, having been washed the day before. Into these the general pack should be turned, as soon as the doors are opened, or, if the morning is not wet, directly after a short airing in the paddock. The feeder then sweeps out the room in which they have slept, and afterwards mops it clean, drying the floor as much as possible, so that by ten or eleven o'clock it is fit for the hounds to re-enter. The men then get their breakfast, and directly afterwards the hounds are taken out to exercise, or the hunting hounds to their regular day's work. If the form:r, they are brought back to kennel at eleven o'clock, fed, and returned to their regular lodging-room, or in some kennels they are still kept in a separate room during the day and night, always taking care that they are not turned into a room while the floor is damp, and that strict cleanliness is practised nevertheless. The hour of feeding is generally fixed for eleven o'clock, but for the day before hunting it should be an hour or two later, varying with the distance they have to travel.
Water should be constantly provided, taking care that the troughs are raised above the hight at which dogs can pass their urine into it, which they will otherwise be constantly doing. As before remarked, iron troughs are the best After feeding, the hounds should remain quiet for the rest of the day. 6nly stir them in removing them from their day-room to their night-room, if two are allowed, which, I think, is an excellent practice.
The food of hounds is composed of meal flavored with broth, to which more or less flesh is added, or with scraps as a substitute when flesh cannot be obtained. The relative value of the various meals is described at page 201, but I may here remark that old oatmeal is the recognized food of hounds, though corn meal is an excellent substitute. After boiling the flesh until the meat readily leaves the bones, take all out with a pitchfork, and put it to cool, skim all the fat off the broth, and fill up with water to the proper quantity; next mix the meal carefully with cold water, and then pour this into the hot broth, keeping it constantly stirred until it thickens; after which it is to be boiled very gently until it has been on the fire for half an hour, continuing the stirring to prevent its burning. Lastly, draw the fire, and ladle out the stuff into the coolers, where it remains until it has set, when it acquires the name with the solidity of "puddings." There should always be two qualities made, one better than the other for the more delicate hounds, which must be apportioned by the huntsman properly among them.
This may be reduced with cold broth, when wanted, to any degree of thinness; and the meat, being cut or torn up, is mixed with it.
In feeding the hounds, the huntsman, having the troughs supplied with the different qualities of food, orders the door to be thrown open which communicates with the lodging-room; then, having the hounds under proper control, they all wait until each is called by name, the huntsman pronouncing each name in a decided tone, and generally summoning two or three couple at a time, one after the other. When these have had what he considers sufficient, they are dismissed and others called in their turn; the gross feeders being kept to the last, when the best and most nourishing part has been eaten. By thus accustoming hounds in kennel to wait their proper turn, and to come when called, a control is obtained out of doors which could never be accomplished in any other way. Once a week, on a non-hunting day in the winter, and every three or four days in the summer, some green food, or potatoes or turnips, should be boiled with the puddings. They serve to cool the hounds very considerably. If this is attended to, very little physic is required, except from accidental causes.
A regular dressing and physicing is practised in some kennels, the former to keep the skin free from vermin and eruptions, and the latter with the same view, but also to cool the blood. This is by no means necessary, if great care is taken with regard to cleanliness, feeding, and exercise; and in the royal kennels neither one nor the other is practised, excepting when disease actually appears, and not as a preventive measure. When it is considered desirable to adopt either or both, directions for their use will be found given in the next Book.