This section is from the book "A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear, And Feed Them", by Leslie Williams. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear And Feed Them.
An indispensable adjunct in the rearing of valuable toy puppies, which, as a general rule, do far better in the house than in any stable or out-of-door premises, is one of Spratt's or Boulton and Paul's little houses and runs. As personal and vicarious experiences are all that any writer can adduce to support theory, I may be allowed to describe the procedure which has been found successful with my own puppies - born, bred, and reared in house and garden as they are.
Directly they leave the basket of their infancy (in which, par parenthese, I must say, I think them more delightful, helpless little soft morsels, than even when they begin to run about, show intelligence, and need feeding) they are introduced to one of these useful abodes, comprising a sleeping house, provided with a cosy blanket, freely washable and often changed, and a little wired-in run about 4 ft. by 2 ft. The bigger this the better, of course; and if it has a floor, as some have, pierced with small holes and draining into a removable tray to be kept full of earth, or sawdust, it will be well. Mine is a humbler affair, floorless, and stands on a piece of oilcloth, covered with a large sheet of brown paper, which can be daily renewed; yet it answers its purpose very well. In this, with outings two or three times a day, for variety, the puppies live until they are seven weeks old; the mother, loose about the house, visiting them at her inclination and sleeping with them. At between three and four weeks old they must be taught to lap, which is easy enough with some pups and difficult with others.
Warm, boiled milk should be the only addition to what the mother gives them until they are over a month old : it is a mistake to hurry puppies on to patent foods, bread and milk, and the like. Do not let them have a saucer and upset it, tumbling into it and getting themselves in a mess, to dry all sour and disagreeable, but hold their little heads one by one as they lap, for they will nod into the saucer and send the milk flying.
As soon as the puppies are strong on their legs, they need more exercise and fun than the run can allow them, and now is the time to take them off the carpets, which they will never respect in after life if they have been allowed to treat them evilly as elderly babies. It is not a bad plan to let them live in the kitchen from this time forth, various things being provisional. One is, that the presiding genius will see to their little meals under your supervision;that is, you feed them four times a day, and she or he undertakes to see that no one else does so. Another, that the kitchen opens into the, or a, garden, and that the puppies can run there in the sunshine, in warm weather, and so insensibly learn manners; yet another, that it is a warm, draught-less place, with a nice corner for their sleeping basket. Some folks, whose lower regions do not answer this description, or whose servants are not amenable, may have an occupied stable at command, where the puppies can have a loose box or stall. This plan I do not recommend, for toy pups do far better in constant human companionship; but it, or the alternative one of keeping them in a room with an oilcloth floor, are all that offer themselves, failing the desirable kitchen.
I have known toy pups do splendidly in a sunny little room, floored with cork carpet, provided with cosy sleeping boxes, and opening into a terrace-walk, where on al fine and sunny days they were allowed to play; but they were not too much left to themselves, and their apartment was carefully looked after, and brush and sawdust-pan kept going, just as, in my kitchen, the servants hasten to remove any unbecoming traces of their presence. This period, while toy pups are too young to be trained, too old for their mother to clean them up, and also so young as to require warmth and constant watching, is the troublesome one in their live's and the one in which so many of them die. Neglect, or dirty surroundings, are fatal to these little delicate atoms, which really call for the same attention we should give a baby; monotony - being kept shut up in one small room for hours or days - and lack of fresh air, carry off many; while sour milk, meals left about in odds and ends, irregular feeding, and lying to sleep in draughts, are all elements of danger.
We want to give them warmth and dryness, without stuffiness and overheating; we want to give them sweet, tempting, clean little meals, regularly, four times a day, just as much as they can eat eagerly and no more; we want to give them a cosy day-bed to go to sleep whenever they feel inclined - which will be often - and, lastly, to let them have all the fresh air and out-of-door sunshine they can get without fear of chill. Thus it is that summer puppies, born in the spring, with all the best weather before them, do so much better than those which have the critical teething period to pass through in winter time.
A toy puppy grows more quickly than, for instance, a terrier, and, of course, is adult far sooner than a big dog; the short-haired varieties, again, coming to maturity sooner than the long-coated ones. A Yorkshire terrier is adult at a year, but does not get his full beauty of coat until he is two years old, or thereabouts. A toy Schipperke is, so to speak, grown-up at ten or eleven months, but goes on thickening and improving in shape, and probably increasing and hardening in coat for another year at lest. A Pom's jacket gets grander at each moult until he is three years old. As a general rule it may be laid down that the dog is a puppy no longer at ten months, when his teething is almost always entirely completed. This same teething is a tiresome process, comprising the change of the first set of wee ivories for the permanent forty-two which are to carry the owner through life. Nearly every puppy suffers more or less in the process, some from fits, some from skin irritation, some from colds in the head and eyes, some from general feverishness; but the troubles are ephemeral, and generally subside between whiles, returning as each big tooth is cut.
What makes the worst trouble is when the first teeth are severally not shed, but remain in situ, a second tooth forcing itself up at one side of the lingering intruder. This condition is pretty sure to mean teething fits, of which more anon. Dentition begins about the fourth month, and once safely over, the dog may be considered well reared.
POMERANIAN PUPPY. At the ugly age.
Distemper, that is, the two diseases usually so described, are a bugbear, but it is enough to say that no puppy ought to have them. If he does, it is because some one has allowed him to get the contagion, by accident or carelessness; left to himself, he could not indulge in it, for it is not, cannot be, spontaneous.
Small skin troubles, such as puppy pox, in which the skin in the under parts of the body is red, and small pustules form and suppurate, after the manner of chicken pox - though puppy pox is not catching - often affect the strongest puppies; and a pup which "teeths with a rash" is generally thought by breeders to be one which, if in the way of contagion, will not take "distemper" very badly, if at all, though whether there is any foundation for this opinion I cannot undertake to say. Personally, my puppies never have distemper, simply because they never have a chance; but where other dogs from the house are going to and fro to shows they are almost certain, sooner or later, to bring it home to the babies. Some day we shall have a crusade for stamping these horrible diseases out, or discover prophylactics, no doubt; at present they must be looked upon as ill-luck which may never come our way. The training of puppies to the house is a task which is most easily accomplished by bringing them in from the kitchens, or wherever they live in a general way, to some sitting-room for a short time daily, and by degrees teaching them that each offence is instantly followed by dismissal to the garden, or out of doors.
Beating little dogs is useless and unkind, but a mild scolding may be given and the infant be carried out by the scruff of its neck. The great thing is to make this sequel invariable, as dogs have a great sense of justice, and soon learn that they have done wrong in this case; whereas, if they are allowed to do a thing three times and beaten for it on the fourth occasion they quite fail to understand the reason of the rebuke.
Some breeds of toys are much easier to teach than others; personally, I have found Poms comparatively difficult dogs to train to the house, and black-and-tan terriers are seldom altogether reliable; while fawn pugs are generally averse to going out of doors in wet or very cold weather; but patience and perseverance will do it in almost all cases. On the other hand, some little dogs take to the house at once, and give no trouble at all from the very first. A dog just off a journey, or strange to a place, is not generally well-behaved just at first, so that the buyer of a puppy, warranted trained, ought to give it a little law before deciding that its education is not properly complete. I am sometimes asked if there is not some magical preparation which cures dogs of untidy habits, but am compelled to own that, in the present state of our knowledge, such a thing not only does not exist, but does not seem likely to be discovered ! Small puppies, under three or five months, are physically incapable of resisting any impulse, therefore it is quite useless to attempt to train them too soon. Comparison between the sexes in this matter is sometimes made; some preferring males as house dogs, and others females.
I fancy there is not the least difference, and certainly, given a promising and intelligent individual, a little boy pup is as easy to teach manners to as a little girl, and per contra. Much depends upon character; here and there we find some toy dogs which have mean, cringing spirits, and these are generally the ones which won't go out in rain. They may be vulgarly described as "sneaks" and I would not keep a dog of this description. Mere timidity is a different thing altogether, and can be eradicated by kindness and judicious petting. The "sneak" is no companion, and should not be bred from. It will not follow well out of doors, is seldom a good mother, and is apt to transmit its faults of disposition to its offspring.