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.
1. To avoid breaking fence - " Ware fence."
2. To come back from chasing cats, poultry, hares, etc. - "Ware chase."
3. To come to heel, and remain there - "To heel," or "HeeL" 4 To gallop forward - "Hold up."
5. To lie down - "Down," or "Down charge."
6. To abstain from taking food placed near, equally applied to running in to birds - "Toho."
When these orders are cheerfully and instantly complied with by the puppy, it will be time to take him into the field, but not until then. Many breakers during this period accustom their dogs to the report of the gun, by firing a pistol occasionally while they are a short distance off, and in a way so as not to alarm them. This is all very well, and may prevent all danger of a dog becoming "shy of the gun;" but with a well-bred puppy, properly reared, and not confined so much as to make him shy in other respects, such a fault will seldom occur. Nevertheless, as it does sometimes show itself, from some cause or other, the above precaution, as it costs little trouble or expense, is not to be objected to. It is also advantageous to accustom the dog to drop when the pistol is discharged, and, if he is of high courage, he may be drilled to this so effectually that he never forgets it. By the aid of a "check cord," wherever the dog be, when the pistol is discharged, he is suddenly brought up and made to drop with the command "Down charge;" and in process of time he associates one with the other, so that whenever he hears a gun he drops in an instant Timid dogs may however be made shy in this way, and unless the puppy is evidently of high courage, it is a dangerous expedient to resort to; as, instead of making the dog, it may mar him forever.
Next comes the teaching to "range," which is about the most difficult part of breaking. Many sportsmen who have shot all their lives are not aware of the extent to which this may be, and indeed ought to be, carried; and are quite content if their dogs "potter" about where they like, and find game anyhow. But the real lover of the dog, who understands his capabilities, knows that for perfect ranging the whole field ought to be beaten systematically, and in such a way as to reach all parts in succession - the dog being always as near to the gun as is consistent with the nature of the ground, the walking powers of the man, and the degree of wildness of the game. All these varying points of detail in the management of the dog while beating his ground will, however, be considered more in detail hereafter; so that at present, taking it for granted that what I have assumed is the real desideratum, we will proceed to inquire how this mode of ranging is best taught. It must be understood that what we want is, - first, that the puppy should hunt freely, which soon comes if he is well bred; secondly, that he should range only where he is ordered, and that he should always be on the look-out for his mas-ter's hand or whistle to direct him.
This also is greatly dependent on breed, some dogs being naturally wilful, while others from their birth are dependent upon their master, and readily do what they are desired. Thirdly, great pains must be taken to keep the puppy from depending upon any other dog and following him in his line, and also from "pottering," or dwelling on "the foot-scent," which, again, is a great deal owing to defective blood. Now, then, how are these points to be attained? By a reference to the an-nexed diagram, the principle upon which two dogs should beat their ground is laid down; the dotted line representing the beat of one, and the plain line that of the other dog. But, with a raw puppy, it is useless to expect him to go off to the right while his fellow proceeds to the left, as they afterwards must do if they perform their duty properly. But, taking an old dog into a field with the puppy, the former is started off with the ordinary words "Hold up" in either line laid down, which, being properly broken, he proceeds to follow out, accompanied by the puppy, who does not at all understand what he is about Presently the old dog "finds," and very probably the young one goes on and puts up the birds, to the intense disgust of his elder companion! but to his own great delight, as shown by his appreciation of the scent, and by chasing his game until out of sight At the present stage of breaking, the puppy should by no means be checked for this, as he knows no better, and the great object is to give him zest for the work, not to make him dislike it; so that, even if he runs in to half a dozen pairs of birds, it will do him no harm, however jealous it may make the old dog.
As soon, however, as the young one seems decidedly inclined to go to work by himself, take up the old dog, and hunt the young one until he is thoroughly tired or until he begins to point. At first, when he comes upon a scent, he will stop in a hesitating way, then draw rapidly up and flush his birds, chasing them as before; but gradually, as he tires, he gains steadiness, and, after a time, he assumes the firm attitude of the true pointer or setter, though this is seldom shown in perfection for the first two or three days. Let it be clearly understood, that the present lesson is solely with a view to teach the range; steadiness in the point, being at first quite subordinate to this quality, although, in well-bred dogs, it may often be taught at the same time. Hundreds of puppies are irretrievably spoiled by attempting, to begin with teaching them to stand, when, by undue hardship and severity, their relish for hunting or beating the ground is destroyed; and they are never made to do this part of the work well, although their noses are good enough when they come upon game, and they stand for a week if allowed to do so. Keep to the one object until the puppy will beat his ground as shown in the diagram, at first single-handed, and then crossing it with another dog.
It seldom answers to use two together until steadiness at "the point" is attained, as there are few old dogs which will beat their ground properly, together, when they find that they are worked with a young one which is constantly flushing his birds or committing some other faux pas. For these reasons it is better to work the young ones at first singly, that is, as soon as they will work; and then - after they range freely and work to the hand and whistle, turning to the right or left, forwards or backwards, at the slightest wave of the hand, and when they also begin to poiot - it is time enough to "hunt them double."
Fig. 48. - PLAN OF QUARTERING GROUND.