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.
Whether for public or private coursing, the greyhound should not be suffered to course a hare until he is nearly at maturity; but as the bitches come to their growth before the dog3, they may be entered earlier than the latter. About the tenth month is the best time for forward bitches, and the twelfth or fourteenth for dogs. If therefore a greyhound is to be allowed to see a hare or two at Wis age, he or she must be bred early in the year, in order to have a brace late in the spring, so as to be ready for the next season. Some people invariably prefer keeping them on to the autumn, and for private coursing there is no reason whatever for beginning so early; but public coursers begin to run their dogs in puppy stakes in the month of October, prior to which there is so little time after the summer is passed, that they prefer beginning in the spring if their dogs are old enough, and if they are not they will not be fit to bring out in October.
Before being entered the dogs must be taught to lead quietly, as they cannot be brought on to the ground loose; if not previously accustomed to it, they knock about and tear themselves dreadfully, and moreover will not go quietly in slips. As soon therefore as the ground is soft, after they arc six or eight months old, they should have a neck strap put on, and should be led about for a short time daily, until they follow quietly. Some puppies are very violent, and fight against the strap for a long time, but by a little tact they soon give in, and follow their leader without resistance. The coursing-field is the best school for this purpose, as the puppies have something to engage their attention, and until they will bear their straps without pulling against them, their education in this respect is not complete. A dog pulling in slips will do himself so much harm as often to cause the loss of a course, and therefore every precaution should be taken to avoid this fault. The leader should never pull against the puppy steadily, but the moment he finds him beginning to hang forward, give him a severe cheek with the strap, and repeat it as often as necessary.
It is a very common defect, but never ought to occur with proper man-agament; though when once established the habit is very difficult to break. Two or three days' leading on the coursing-field will serve to make any puppies handy to lead if properly managed, and they may then be put in slips with perfect safety.
The condition of the puppy at the time of entering, be two often neglected. It should be known that a fat over-fed puppy without previous exercise may be seriously injured even by a short course, which, moreover, can never be assured under any circumstances, as the hare will sometimes run in a different direction to that which is expected.
A sapling, as the young greyhound is called to the end of the first season after he is whelped, should never be trained like an old one, as the work is too severe, and his frame is not calculated to bear it, but he may be reduced in flesh by light feeding, and allowed to gallop at liberty for two or three hours a day. With these precautions, he will be fit to encounter any hare in a short course, which is all that should ever be permitted.
Whether an old assistant or a young one shall be put down with a sapling is a subject which admits of some discussion. If the former, the young dog has small chance of getting to work at all, and if the latter, he may have so little assistance as to be greatly distressed. Few people like to put down an honest old dog with a sapling, and a cunning one soon teaches the tricks which he himself displays. Sometimes young dogs have great difficulty in killing, and want the encouragement afforded by blood; in such cases a good killer may be desirable, but with no other object could I ever put down an old dog with a sapling. Before they are going to run in a stake, an old dog of known speed should be put in slips with the puppy, in order to arrive at a knowledge of the powers of the latter; but this is with a view to a trial, and not as part of the entering of the greyhound. When a sapling his run enough hares to know his work, and has killed a hare, or been present at the death of one, he may be put by as properly entered; and the number required will average about five or six - more or less according to the capability of the particular animal, which will generally depend upon his breed.
The deerhound is entered at his game on the same principles as the greyhound. It is always better to slip him with an older companion, but beyond this precaution everything must be left to his natural sagacity. As his nose is to be brought into play, and as he may possibly cross the scent of hares or other game, he must be made steady from all "riot," and, if possible, should be taken up, in couples, to the death of a deer once or twice and "blooded," -o as to make him understand the nature of the scent. His instinctive fondness for it will, however, generally serve him withbut this, but the precaution is a good one, and may save some trouble and risk. He will not do much in aid of his older companion in hunting the animal he is slipped at, but when "at bay" he is soon encouraged by example to go in and afford his help, and this is the time when a second deerhound is chiefly wanted.