This section is from the book "Sporting Dogs. Their Points And Management In Health, And Disease", by Frank Townend Barton. Also available from Amazon: Sporting Dogs; Their Points and Management in Health and Disease.
" Having progressed thus far, the dog should next be taught to find a man hidden in a ditch or up a tree. Candidly, this is a somewhat difficult undertaking, and it is not every night-dog which becomes clever in this particular. Instruct the man to secrete himself in a ditch at the opposite side of the field; be careful to give the dog the wind, and in nine cases out of ten it will be noticed that he gazes as if looking for someone. Now move towards the hidden person and encourage the animal onward. As both near the ditch the dog will strongly detect the scent of his quarry, and at this point the hidden man should make a slight movement for the purpose of attracting the animal's attention. This action should be repeated until discovery takes place, and, if the dog can thus be taught to use his nose, he quickly becomes an adept at finding concealed poachers.
" When this is asserted, it is not meant that a man may be despatched with a few minutes' grace, and if the dog is put upon the trail the man will be followed; some bull-mastiff's may become clever enough to foot a man, but recent trials have proved that even bloodhounds have to possess the best of blood and training before they will unerringly hunt a man under these conditions.
" Another important thing a night-dog should be taught is to at once leave a man he has thrown down and start after another of the gang when the keepers have arrived on the scene and laid hands on the first man. Suppose a party of watchers drop across half-a-dozen poachers, who all promptly take to their heels on seeing that the opposing side are a match for them; the chances are the poachers get a good start, and are nearly certain to escape, if the dog is not competent to play his part. If he is capable, promptly slipped, and closely followed, he will soon bring one to book; he should then be taken off and encouraged to serve another likewise, and so on, until all have been arrested.
" To train the dog to do this, two men should start at one time, both being armed with sticks. Instruct the two to keep together, and when they are well on the run slip the dog and follow him as before directed. When the animal gets close the men must separate, and he will confine his attentions to one; immediately the man he first attacks is down, despatch the dog after the second, who should be making good pace away, while his companion stands perfectly still. At first, the dog will plainly manifest that he prefers to stay and worry the one he has succeeded in defeating rather than seek for fresh glories, but persevere with him until he does renew the chase without the least hesitation. You will succeed better in this if the second man is not allowed to get too far away, and it will be advisable for him to wave his stick and otherwise try to attract attention and invite attack. When the dog recognises what is required of him, increase the distance between first and second man, or let each run in an opposite direction. It is very necessary that a dog should be taught to respect friends, that is, to attack only those at whom he is set, and then at no other time but when he is encouraged to do so. If he fails to learn this, he is as likely as not to go at one of the watchers who happens to move or otherwise attract notice.
" When a dog has been sufficiently tried to prove that he is in every way game, it is advisable to allow the man upon whom he has been exercising his powers to sit near and endeavour to make friends with his four-legged opponent. All dogs will not consent to do the agreeable to this extent, but the majority will generally settle down and be quiet when they clearly understand that such behaviour is expected. It is very necessary that a dog should learn to recognise when the battle is over, and that having duly fulfilled his part he must be quiet, for it would be awkward, to say the least, if a keeper has to struggle with the animal to take him off a captured poacher, and then the rascal takes advantage of the exhaustion of both keeper and dog to escape.
" A night-dog should not under any circumstances be tried on a person who may at some future time have to accompany the animal while out watching. If so, the dog is nearly certain to go for this person when released for a scrimmage with poachers. Several instances like this have occurred, and in certain of them the dog had not been tried on the watcher he attacked since a puppy. This proves that they do not easily forget the identity of an opponent.
" There is one other thing a dog should learn, and, having acquired cleverness at it in addition to the lessons mentioned previously, the animal may be regarded as a perfect night-dog. When lying out with a party of watchers he must not be allowed to get into the habit of curling himself up and going to sleep like a fat pig. He must be taught to listen for the coming of poachers, as it is only natural that he should detect their approach by both sound and smell long before their advent on the scene is palpable to human senses. Some dogs do this naturally, and the remainder only need encouragement to render them proficient watchers. If a young dog displays a tendency to fall asleep when out, arrange for a man to come on the scene just about the time the animal will be settled down. This individual should move as cautiously as he can, go straight to the dog, and have a good rough round or two with him. Repeat the dose at intervals, and the dog will soon take to watching attentively, expecting every sound to announce the appearance of an antagonist.
" Never permit a night-dog to chase game or rabbits; if he is allowed to do this the movements made by them at night will monopolise his attention, and the watchers will never be sure whether he is pricking up his ears at a rabbit rustling in the dead leaves or at the approach of poachers; when released for a chase or scrimmage he will be likely to direct his attention towards the less noble game.
" Opinions vary as to the weight a night-dog should attain, but a small dog, however persevering he may be, cannot be so effective as one which has the qualities of being large, game, and active. Suppose a dog, of 50 or 60 lbs. weight only, were to jump at a man, the latter could not be knocked down. A clever poacher would wait his opportunity, catch the animal in his arms, and throw him over an adjacent wall or fence, well aware that the dog could not jump back. A night-dog; should not be less than 80 lbs., and if he is 100 lbs., strong and active, so much the better. He ought to be able to jump a gate with ease and to get over ground at a good pace. For colour a brindle is to be preferred, not being so plainly visible at night as a red, fawn, or even black dog.
" When a perfect dog has been bought or trained, every care should be taken that the animal is used properly. He should only be slipped at a man when absolutely necessary, and then must be securely muzzled. If a scrimmage becomes desperate and develops into a fight for life, the watchers must use their own discretion as to allowing their dog freedom to bite ; if his muzzle be taken off, the man he attacks will surely be marked in such a way that he will be easily identified. To slip a night-dog at lads trespassing after mushrooms, blackberries, etc., is the height of wanton folly, as the lads may be injured or terrified to a serious degree. Remember, it is best not to loose the dog at all if a man can be captured without his help, and he should be muzzled except in extreme cases. If a poacher who has had his clothes torn and been bitten simply because he ran away is brought before magistrates, he may excite the pity of the latter, although he heartily deserves condemnation from his judges ; besides, a civil action for damages may ensue.
" It is entirely through forgetfulness of these rules that so many gentlemen object to night-dogs being used on their estates. But, if an animal of this kind is regarded in its proper light, and its use not abused, its mere presence will do more to deter poaching than the employment of half-a-dozen extra hands".