The maintenance of your dog´s health depends on his ability to properly digest and absorb food material and to freely and thoroughly eliminate waste products. Nutritive material is either spent as energy or stored in his system as fat. If he accumulates fat rapidly, the dog´s system becomes sluggish. As a result, his ability to eliminate waste products becomes retarded and his digestion inactive.
He will then become susceptible to disease. To avoid this, your dog should have proper exercise. But providing opportunity for exercise is the hardest part of the care of apartment-house dog. The city street is most likely the only available place where the dog can exercise.
If you are to take the dog to the streets for exercise, he should be furnished with a harness or collar, a leader and a muzzle. A harness which fits over the shoulders and chest is much more comfortable than a collar, but not as safe. It´s suitable only for small dogs because the large, strong dogs, such as the collie, pull so hard that the harness, which fits over the shoulders like the collar on a horse, does not give sufficient ability to control the animal if he desires to get away.
For these larger dogs a collar fastened about the neck is much safer. As the dog pulls, the pressure of the collar on his throat tends to shut off his wind and forces him to slow up. The disadvantage of this is that the constant irritation caused by such pressure on a tender throat will induce a cough which oftentimes becomes chronic if the irritation continues. The collar and the harness both are not needed at the same time. They are not only a source of discomfort to the dog, but also very unbecoming, especially when they are out of proportion to the size of the animal and gaily bedecked with brass.
In New York and almost all large cities there are laws requiring the use of muzzles while the dog is on the street. Although this law is hard on the dog, it´s necessary and wise for the protection of the public. The real objective of the law is to control the spread of rabies which is disseminated by the bite of a rabid dog.
There are many dogs which, because they are naturally vicious and in the habit of biting, should be muzzled. Some dogs, although generally peaceful and harmless, might be provoked to bite if annoyed or frightened by strangers. It´s to your advantage to comply with the law because if your dog happens to snap and bite anyone and the matter is reported to the police, as it always is if a physician treats the wound, the animal would be kept in quarantine as a case of suspected rabies, therefore causing a great deal of trouble and annoyance to you and to the dog.
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In cold weather it´s often advisable to supply the toys and very short-haired dogs with a blanket or sweater. The blanket is of course only for street use and should not be worn in the house. Once the dog has become accustomed to it in the fall, it must be worn continually used during the winter, and in the spring as much care and judgment is necessary in leaving it off as we use in discarding our overcoats. If the blanket is worn intermittently the dog is in more danger of contracting a cold than if he did not have a blanket at all. Leather-covered storm blankets are of exceptional value for use on very cold and stormy days.
When the dog is taken out on the street, he should be taught to walk either directly behind or ahead of his companion, rather than allowed to romp at will. It´s very annoying to pedestrians to have to get out of the way of a headstrong dog, and given that some people don´t like dogs or are afraid of them, it´s unfair to impose dogs´ presence on them.
At some time during the exercise period the dog can be taken to a quiet street and there allowed to romp and play for a while. If it´s possible to take him to the park the dog will get more enjoyment out of his exercise.
While on the street the dog should not be allowed to come in contact with other dogs, principally because of the danger of contracting disease; and, secondly, because of the great desire of canines to fight. Never let children pet the dog unless he is securely muzzled, for they are often unmeaningly rough and might provoke the dog to bite.
Great care should be taken that the dog does not pick up foreign substances, such as stones, sticks, bones and bits of food. The playful puppy is very prone to this habit and should be closely watched. So many dogs are injured by automobiles that every possible precaution should be taken to prevent the dog from being subjected to such accidents.
After the dog is allowed to run until he´s heated, he must not be permitted to stand in a cold wind. On cold rainy days, it´s better not to take the dog farther than is necessary for him to clean himself and, on returning home his feet should be washed and his whole body rubbed briskly with towels until thoroughly dry.
A dog must not be taken out directly after his bath, except in midsummer.
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Oftentimes the apartment is so situated that the roof is easily accessible. If this is your case, this makes a desirable place for exercising your dog. Many dogs may be trained to go to the roof by themselves and this gives them more freedom. Some dogs will play by themselves, which works for your favor, but as a rule, those that are closely confined soon lose the desire to exercise unless encouraged.
In the excitement of playing, the dog might jump or fall off the roof unless the enclosure is of sufficient height. During the summertime, it gets very hot on the city roof so it´s impossible for the dog to stay there for any length of time.
A dog that is allowed the freedom of a yard will require but little attention after he has become accustomed to conditions. If the proper selection of breed has been made the dog will acquire what exercise he needs within the limits of the yard. That is, if any of the smaller dogs or those of Airedale size are chosen, the ordinary yard will be large enough.
But, if a collie, Russian wolfhound, or any of the larger and more active breeds are selected, the yard will be much too small for their needs.
A strong robust animal will soon be acclimated to the exposure and can be left out at all times except during a very hard storm. If the dog lives in his kennel he will be much harder than the one who spends a part or most of his time in the house.
When the dog is first put in the yard great care must be taken, for unless he is used to like exposure he may easily contract a cold. Until he has become hardened he should not be left out for long at a time, unless the weather is warm. In case he is caught out in a cold storm he must be taken into the house and given a hot bath, thoroughly dried and warmed.
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If the yard is not enclosed by a fence considerable freedom may be acquired if the dog is properly fastened with a chain. A very efficient way is to stretch a wire between two buildings or posts, having a ring on it so that it can slide back and forth. The dog’s chain can be fastened to this ring. When the wire is attached to a post, a stick or nail should be fastened to the wire a sufficient distance from the post to prevent the dog from winding his chain about it. The wire should always be fastened so that the dog can move to his kennel or other shelter and into the shade.