Dogs when kept in training for a great time if given excessive work, and especially fast work, are liable to become "stale" and lack "fire" at the critical time; yet without hard work the fire is merely a flash, - it cannot be depended upon to last through a series of long and punishing courses. Nice judgment is therefore required lest by overwork a dog be overdone and he become "stale," or that owing to incomplete training and a lack of sufficient work his wind be not in the best possible condition.

But this, like many other difficulties which confront the practical courser, need not trouble the conditioner of show dogs. They will be able to stand more chain work than he is likely to give them. And he knows that those important factors of success in the field - stamina and good wind - cannot be tested in the judge's ring, therefore his efforts will be directed to having his dogs hard in flesh, large and prominent in muscle and as good as possible in coat. He will also bear in mind that road work hardens the pads; and as good feet in this breed count for much before a capable judge he will see to it that nearly all the exercise is taken on hard ground.

The dogs may be permitted to extend themselves for short distances every day. This will do good, for it will bring into play muscles which should not be permitted to be idle. Coursing the hare, however, is not allowable as a means of either training or conditioning for shows. And a dog in a half-trained condition if slipped on a good, strong hare would likely be injured rather than benefited in condition, and his courage might meet a severe shock. But a dog that is "fit" might be given a hare once in a while, yet only very seldom, for with frequent coursing most dogs become "cunning," and when asked to do their best in competition will not respond.

Greyhounds, like other dogs, vary considerably in muscular development and firmness of flesh. Some are as hard by nature and without training or conditioning as others which have undergone a most thorough preparation; and the rule for this breed is a good, stimulating and solid diet, with plenty of work that they may be able to carry their food without the blood getting into a bad condition.

Feed at, say, six p.m. Brush and hand rub for an hour or more daily. Give ample kennel room; let the same be thoroughly dry, well ventilated and free from draughts, and these dogs should show up hard in flesh, fine in coat, prominent in muscle, bright in eye and high in spirits.

Deerhounds also do well on slow work, and a walk or an easy jog behind a team for ten or fifteen miles every day for six weeks will develop muscle and health more efficiently than faster work, and without the danger which attends it where the subject is or has been recently out of condition. They may be made right for the show bench in the same way as greyhounds, but as their coats ought to be hard the hand rubbing must be dispensed with except as a means of developing the thighs; and brushing sufficient to keep their coats and skins clean is all that is necessary.

Obviously the matter of exercising is one that requires knowledge, judgment and care. It will certainly be necessary to understand the natures of dogs thoroughly, the peculiar work for which they were constructed, their limits of endurance, etc., and to study them intelligently, for the purpose of determining where they are weak and need development. Then, and then only, in many instances can exercise be judiciously applied.

It is well to advert here to the belief which is widely entertained that dogs can be conditioned quite as well by medicine as by hygienic methods; and that the utter absurdity of this view may appear at once the physiological effects of the drugs commonly used will be briefly considered.

Arsenic, the most popular agent for this purpose, is both a tonic and a deadly poison, and while in nicely adjusted doses and in selected subjects that absolutely require such a tonic, and whose peculiarities of organism are perfectly understood, it might do no harm, and might possibly do good, still it is singularly prone in every instance to impair the vitality. But only men who are skilled in the use of drugs and have an intimate knowledge of anatomy and physiology can locate the danger line, and even they must sometimes pass over it because of failure to recognize idiosyncrasies. And if such men are liable to fail surely the average layman is not at all likely to succeed.

But even when administered understandingly it is far from being suitable for conditioning dogs, for although they seem to fatten after taking it for several weeks the rounding out is not occasioned by a healthy deposit of fat, but is largely due to pufiness of certain tissues, or what is commonly called bloating. This seeming improvement can be kept up for a long time if the doses of the poison are steadily increased, provided always the dog is much at rest. But submit him to a railway journey and the disturbing influence of a show, and he will shrink rapidly from the first day - his spurious fat melting as it were and ere he is home again he will not only be back to his old form but thinner than when the use of the drug was commenced.

Iron is another agent often used in preparing for shows. And as it is one of the first that the average layman resorts to when he feels he needs a spur it is not surprising that he assumes it to be suitable for his dog. But the value of iron as a general tonic is very greatly over-estimated; and given indiscriminately, as it often is, the proportion of harmful and good results is not less than ten to one; while many morbid conditions of the system in which it was once supposed to be of high remedial value are now known to yield much more quickly and easily to other drugs. Again, there are an immense number of preparations of iron, the most of which have their special purposes and act well in certain classes of cases, whereas if used in others they are quite sure to do harm.

This runs counter to the popular belief that if iron fails to do good it can do no harm, but that is without foundation, for when wrongly used the digestive organs are made to suffer and other functions are more or less disturbed. Considering all of which, iron should be kept on the shelf with arsenic while one is conditioning his dog.

Yet another drug often resorted to when preparing dogs for shows is quinine, which is supposed to have special action on the appetite. This, also, has its place among remedial agents, but as an appetizer it is of doubtful value except in occasional cases; and as a matter of fact a medicinal appetizer of any sort is rarely needed, for whenever the desire for food abates there is a cause which should be removed, and that gone the appetite will return without the aid of drugs.

What has been said of arsenic, iron and quinine in the main holds good with other tonics, individually and collectively, singly and combined, as "conditioners," for only dogs that are sick actually require them, and no sick dog nor one convalescing should be sent to a show.

The moral of all this is, that where form is lacking the only proper course to take to overcome the fault is to resort to hygienic and dietetic means, and he who is denied the opportunities to apply them when they are needed should keep his dog at home.

Exhibiting Preparatory Work Part 3 52