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“When I frown, they hang their most dejected heads,
Like fearful sheephounds; show 'em a crust of bread,
a portion of tough matter only by repeated vertical bites ; but if he has much labour with the substance, and his hunger urges him to eat it, he may be seen shifting his head, now higher at one side and then higher at the other alternately, in order to bring the whole under his teeth ; and he also flings his head upwards and downwards, and gives a snap, so that the lower jaw may bite with a momentum, while the substance to be divided rests against the teeth of the upper jaw.
296. Why may it be inferred that the habits of the shepherd's dog are the result of instruction rather than instinct ?
Because the actions of these dogs appear to be governed by an intelligence nearly allied to human reason; and what is much too artificial, and too greatly opposed to the nature of the animal, is to be attributed to instruction.
297. Very different propensities are found in various breeds of dogs, and they are always such as are particularly suited to the purposes to which each of these breeds has long been and is still applied. No one can suppose that nature has given to these several varieties of the same species such very different instinctive propensities, and that each of these breeds should possess those that are best suited for the uses to which they are respectively applied. It certainly seems more probable that these 'breeds, having been long treated as they now are, and applied to the same uses, should have acquired habits by experience and instruction which, in course of time, have become hereditary. In short, that by far the greater part of the propensities that are generally supposed to be instinctive, are not implanted in animals by nature, but are the result of long experience, acquired and accumulated through many generations, so as in course of time to assume the character of instinct.
298. How may dogs be taught to distinguish playing cards, and to pick them out from the pack correctly as they are named ?
The dog is taught to do this by frequently offering him food on a card he is unacquainted with, after which they send him to find it out from the rest, and he never mistakes. The habit of profiting by that discovery and receiving caresses enables him by degrees to grow acquainted with each particular card.
“ So true, so brave, a lamb at home,
A lion in the chase."
299. Why do dogs betray fear when a person who has a lame and stooping gait approaches ?
Because the action which the lame person uses in walking has a close resemblance to the attitude of a person stooping to pick up a stone.
300. Why does a dog generally turn round three or four times before he lies down to sleep?
It is supposed that this singular and almost invariable practice is one of the dog's natural instincts, altered or modified to his domesticated life ; for, when in a wild state, he takes up his night's quarters in a field of tall withered grass or among reeds or rushes, thus wheeling round he separates the vegetation in the spot where he is to lie, and forms a bed with overhanging curtains all round for his protection and warmth.
301. Why should the treatment of dogs be regulated more by moral than by brute force ?
Because the nervous system in this creature is largely developed, exerting an influence over all his actions and giving character to the species. The brain of the dog is seldom in repose ; even when asleep the twitching of the legs, and the suppressed sounds, inform us that the dog is dreaming. No animal is more actuated by the power of imagination. To diseases of cerebral or spinal character it is more liable that any other domesticated animal. Its very bark is symbolical of temperament, and its mode of attack energetically declares the excitability of its nature. The most fearful of all diseases to which it is exposed (rabies) is essentially of a nervous character. Delirium usually precedes its death, and nervous excitability is the common accompaniment of most of its disorders. This peculiar temperament of the animal at once suggests how much may be done by gentle treatment; while on the other hand it makes known to us the fact that words spoken to a dog in a harsh and unkind tone, and the infliction of blows or kicks, may occasion indescribable pain.
“ The dog, loud barking, 'mid the glittering rocks,
Hunts, where his master points, the intercepted frocks."-WORDSWORTH.
302. Why have dogs and cats great difficulty in masticating vegetable substances ?
Because, being carnivorous animals, their teeth and the motion of their jaws is ill-adapted to the mastication of vegetable substances, which they sometimes eat when domesticated.
303. As even those carnivorous animals which are best adapted for living upon vegetable food, and live most upon it, have no grinding motion of the jaws, they divide vegetable substances with much more difficulty than those races which have the grinding motion and the short teeth, or true molars; and, as the number of comparatively flattened teeth diminishes, the difficulty increases. One case of this gradation may be seen in the domestic dog and cat. The dog is the less carnivorous of the two, and as he uses the mouth only in the capture and killing of his prey, he has much more powerful and varied action of the neck. He can divide a portion of tough vegetable matter, as for instance a crust of bread, only by repeated vertical bites; but if he has much labour with the substance, and his hunger is strong enough to induce him to eat it, he may be seen shifting his head, now higher at the one side, then higher at the other, alternately, in order to bring the whole under his teeth, and he also flings the head upwards or downwards, and gives a snap, so that the lower jaw may bite with a momentum, while the substance to be divided rests against the teeth of the upper jaw. The cat has a great deal more trouble in this imperfect mastication, as she cannot snap and derive advantage from the momentum of the jaw as the dog does; thus with her the division of hard vegetable food, so as to prepare it for the stomach, is no easy matter.
“ The dog,” says Mr. Youatt, “is the only animal that is capable of disinterested affection. He is the only one that regards the human being as his companion, and follows him as his friend; the only one that seems to possess a natural desire to be useful to him, and from a spontaneous impulse attaches himself to man. We take the bridle from the mouth of the horse, and turn him free into the pasture, and he testifies his joy in his partially recovered liberty. We exact from the dog the service that is required of him, and he still follows us. He solicits to be continued as our companion and our friend. Many an expressive action tells us how much he is pleased and thankful. He shares our abundance, and he is content with the scantiest and most humble fare. He loves us while living, and has been known to pine away on the grave of his master.”
A few anecdotes of this faithful animal will be interesting :-
TYKE THE FIRE DOG. 304. A few years ago the public were amused with an account given in a newspaper of a dog which possessed the strange funcy of attending all the fires that occurred in “ That instinct suggests for them everywhere what is most for their safety, and makes them many tiines sagacious above our apprehension.”—MOORE.
the metropolis. The discovery of this predilection was made by a gentleman residing a few miles from town, who was called up in the middle of the night by the intelligence that the premises adjoining his house of business were on fire. “ The removal of my books and papers,” said he, in telling the story, “of course claimed my attention; yet, notwithstanding this, and the bustle which prevailed, my eyc every now and then rested on a dog which, during the hottest progress of the conflagration, I could not help noticing running about, and apparently taking a deep interest in what was going on; contriving to keep himself out of everybody's way, and yet always present amidst the thickest of the stir. When the fire was got under, and I had leisure to look about me, I again observed the dog, which, with the firemen, appeared to be resting from duty, and was led to make some inquiries respecting him. Is this your dog, my friend ?' said I to a fireman. “No, Sir, answered he ; it does not belong to me, or to any one in particular. We call him the firemen's dog.' • The firemen's dog!' I replied. “Why so; has he ro master ?' 'No, Sir,' rejoined the fireman, he calls none of us master, though we are all of us willing enough to give him a night's lodgings and a pennyworth of meat. But he won't stay long with any of us. His delight is to be at all the fires in London ; and, far or near, we generally find him on the road as we are going along, and sometimes, if it is out of town, we give him a lift. I don't think there has been a fire for these two or three years past which he has not been at.'
“ This communication was so extraordinary that I found it difficult to believe the story until it was confirmed by the concurrent testimony of several other firemen. None of them, however, were able to give any account of the early habits of the dog, or to offer any explanation of the circumstances which led to this singular propensity."
“ Some time afterwards I was again called up in the night to a fire in the village in which I resided (Camberwell, in Surrey), and to my surprise here I again met with the firemen's dog,' still alive and well, pursuing, with the same apparent interest and satisfaction, the exhibition of that which seldom fails to bring with it disaster and misfortune, oftentimes loss of life and ruin. Still he called no man master, disdained to receive bed or board from the same hand more than a night or two at a time, nor could the firemen trace out his resting-place."
Such was the account of this interesting animal, as it appeared in the newspapers, to which were shortly afterwards appended several circumstances communicated by a firemen at one of the police offices. A magistrate having asked him whether it was a fact that the dog was present at most of the fires that occurred in the metropolis, the fireman replied that he never knew “Tyke," as he was called, to be absent from a fire upon any occasion that he (the fireman) attended himself. The magistrate said the dog must have an extraordinary predilection for fires. He then asked what length of time he had been known to possess that propensity. The fireman replied that he knew Tyke for the last nine years; and, although he was getting old, yet the moment the engines were about, Tyke was to be seen as active as ever, running off in the direction of the fire. The magistrate inquired whether the dog liked any particular fireman. The fireman replied that Tyke liked one fire
“ But bold Tydides to the rescue goes,
A single warrior 'midst a host of foes.”—POPE,
fireman as well as another. He had no particular favourites, but passed his time amongst them; sometimes going to the house of one, and then to another, and off to a third when he was tired. Day or night, it was all the same to him; if a fire broke out, there was he in the midst of the bustle, running from one engine to: another, anxiously looking after the firemen; and, although pressed upon by crowds, yet, from his dexterity, he always escaped accidents, only now and then getting a ducking from the engines, which he rather liked than otherwise. The magistrate said that Tyke was a most extraordinary animal; and, having expressed a wish to see him, he was shortly afterwards exhibited at the office, and some other peculiarities respecting him were related. There was nothing at all particular in the appearance of the dog. He was a rough-looking, small animal, of the terrier breed, and seemed to be in excellent condition-no doubt from the care taken of him by the firemen belonging to the different companies. There was some difficulty experienced in bringing him to the office, as he did not much relish going any distance from where the firemen are to be found, except in cases of attending with them at a conflagration, and then distance was of no consequence. It was found necessary to use stratagem for the purpose. A fireman commenced running ; Tyke, accustomed to follow upon such occasions, set out after him; but this person having slackened his pace on the way, the sagacious animal, knowing there was no fire, turned back, and it was necessary to carry him to the office.*
The Author recently saw a fire-dog (but is not aware whether it is the same as described by Mr. Jesse in the above narrative, though he thinks not from the description); it wore a collar, bearing a suitable inscription, recording its feats in connexion with various fires. This dog would run up the steps of the fire-escapes, enter rooms, and, crouching along the floor, its head below the clouds of smoke, would find out persons lying in their beds in a half-suffocated state, and then, setting up a loud howl, would inform the firemen. At the time the Author saw it, the dog. suffered from falls, and wounds caused by the wheels of fire-escapes and engines passing over it. It was no longer able to ascend the steps of the fire-escape; but, whenever a door was opened, it rushed in and ascended the stairs, and explored every part of the house to which it could find access.
A PIECE OF MONEY SINGULARLY RESTORED BY A DOG TO HIS
305. A gentleman in Suffolk, on an excursion with his friend, was attended by a Newfoundland dog, which soon became the subject of conversation. The master, after a warm eulogium upon the perfection of his canine favourite, assured his companion that he would, upon receiving the order, return and fetch any article he should leave behind, from any distance. To confirm this assertion, a marked shilling was put under a large square stone by the side of the road, being first shown to the dog. The gentlemen then rode for three miles, when the dog
• Jesse's " Anecdotes of Dogs.”