Barking is the peculiar prerogative of Dog-dom. By many, an animal that makes an incessant yelping, disturbing his master and annoying his neighbors, is considered a first rate watch dog. This is certainly a false criterion : a baseless conclusion. An animal that is really good, will not be annoyed by the distant yelling of ill-bred mongrels, neither will he be excited by every form that crosses within his gaze, nor will he exercise his voice unless he have some cause of suspecting a trespass on his domain.
When a dog barks without sufficient cause, he should invariably be checked. Should he persist in making unnecessary noises of any kind, you should wait concealed, somewhere near him, so as to catch him in the act, and punish him accordingly, to the tune of ;' In, Sir." A few light and timely corrections will suffice to silence him, and impose on him a salutary dread of your presence, and should he occasionally forget himself, a simple " In Sir" will take a wonderful effect on him. On the other hand, he should be excited to vigilance in the right direction, and should be praised in all lawful efforts to ward off the attacks of the invader. He should have the extent of his range clearly pointed out to him, and be also discouraged in any attempt to pass the boundaries of his stewardship. It is well to walk round the premises with him occasionally, and excite him at anything nearing his bounds, at the same time, peremptorily checking him, should he attempt to cross the barrier. He should not be allowed many acquaintances, neither should he be permitted to follow any but his master. A stranger may be employed to strike against the fence, or annoy him at his kennel. Should he appear listless, he should be urged to the attack. A bullock's or horse's head, or a large bone of meat may be given him, when he is chained, and should it fail to render him watchful, a stranger should poke it occasionally with a long pole. He should not however he allowed to gnaw his bone too near, when hungry. A hard bone is very wearing to the teeth of a hungry animal ; but I consider it" a benefit to a certain extent, if the animal be not too hard set with hunger, to injure his teeth.
If you wish him to seize every stranger he sees, you should make the effigy of a man and encourage him to fly at and tear it, and whilst you hold on to his chain, set him at any indi-viduals who may be willing to second your efforts in making him a "regular grabber." If he have any original grit, you may temper his disposition to any grade of severity : cither reducing it to a lower standard, by introducing him to society, accustoming him to strangers, keeping him always unchained, checking him in his barks, snaps and growls, feeding him on a farinaceous or vegetable diet, allowing him to accompany a variety of persons, placing him in a situation where there is a great deal of passing ; in fine, you may, by constant checks and tyrannous severity subdue his hyena-temperament, till he becomes scared at the rustling of a leaf, or the creak of a shutter. It must then be left to your own judgment, to mould him to your will, to direct, moderate or excite his instinctive and reasoning developments. In the selection of a full grown guard-dog, whose character is already formed, of course, you must be somewhat governed by the position and extent of the premises, to be committed to his charge, and the nature of the services to be required of him. If you prefer raising one from a puppy, I should recommend a Newfoundland, St. Bernard, or a cross between the two, as calculated to make the best family-dogs, which from being generally admired by every one and less liable to ill-usage, are noble and frank in their deportment, free from treachery, less ferocious, yet more powerful and imposing than canines of minor growth.
They are in the habit of holding without tearing, watching without yelping, and with a slight knowledge of the world, readily distinguishing the man of business from the sneaking beggar, welcoming legitimate visitors,yet denying admission to suspicious invaders.
In spite of all risk and trouble, I decidedly prefer raising my own dog, as I then know exactly what he is. Should he not equal my anticipations, I should attribute it to my own neglect, provided he were the offspring of undoubtedly good stock. There may be exceptions, though it has not hitherto been my misfortune to encounter one.