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Introduction: Dear 4-Her
Dogs have become an interesting and helpful part of our lives. There are more than 50 million dogs in American homes today. They help people in many ways in addition to being friends and companions. They are guides for the blind, hearing for the deaf, shepherds of sheep and cattle, and guardians of people and property. Some dogs even pull sleds for travelers in the snowy parts of the world!
This unit is the first in a series to help you know and understand dogs better. As you progress through this series, you will learn how to care for your dog better. Also, you will discover the many different breeds of dogs and how they serve people in many different ways. In addition to the reading, at the end of each section of the manual are pages containing questions to answer and exercises to be written up.To complete the unit you need to write up these activities as you progress through the book. Later in your 4-H activities, a completed record book will be your key to gaining more honors and recognition.
Where Did the Dog Come From?
The dog has been an important companion of humans of humans for thousands of years. In this project unit you will learn how to provide simple care for your dog. You will also see how the dog has become our most important animal companion. The first dog-like companion of cave people was probably something like a wild wolf pup. Thousands of years ago when humans were still wanderers, they caught wolf pups and made pets of them. The grown wolf helped people capture wild animals for food and clothing. The wolf was able to feed from the scraps around the primitive peoples camp fire. Humans have been working with dogs for at least 12,000 years. In this period of time, the dog has been changed and used to help us in many ways. The ancient Egyptians worshiped a dog-headed god, called Anubis. This creature looked like the jackal, which is a kind of wild dog native to Egypt. It was no doubt tamed by ancient people just as the wolf was, and came to be a companion, helper and pet.There were more than a dozen breeds of dogs in ancient Egypt. One looked like a modern dachshund. Another looked like the mastiff and deerhound of today. According to the famous historian, Herodotus, Egyptian pet dogs, when they died, were given proper burial after a period of mourning by their owners. Humans became sheepherders as they became more civilized. Dogs were trained to help in the care of sheep. The ancient Greeks bred a hound by mating the common dog to a fox. Hunting with dogs was a favorite sport of the Greek gods. The great men of Greek literature enjoyed the hunt as much as their dogs. The Greeks began to understand the nature of disease in dogs as well as humans. They knew both furious and dumb rabies as diseases of dogs. However, they did not understand that the bite of the rabid dog was the cause of the disease in people. In the middle ages, kings and nobles were also fond of hunting. They developed many different breeds of dogs to hunt different kinds of animals. Greyhounds, poodles, beagles and spaniels are some of the types of dogs which were bred for hunting. Today, dogs are our most important pet. Dogs also are used for protection and hunting. Dogs are also important to people in medical research who are, looking for the cause of various human and animal diseases.
Things To Do
List things which dogs have done to help people since first domesticated.
How the Dog Helps People
Dogs first help to early humans was barking. This alarm gave warning of danger- ous animals or enemy tribes, especially when people were sleeping. Discoveries in the waste heaps of ancient people show that families used the dog for food, at least when they had no other food. This practice continued among primitive people until recent times. Dogs are eaten today in parts of Asia and Africa. Dogs also helped people by carrying loads. The Eskimo of the far north learned early that the dog could be trained to pull sleds. In Europe the dog was trained to pull carts. The American Indian used the dog to drag loads just as horses were used for the same work. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks used dogs in hunting. There were two types of hunting dogs. One breed, like our greyhound, chased its prey by sight. Another breed had a keen sense of smell and hunted by following the scent of its prey. The beagle and bird dog are examples of dogs which hunt by scent. Dogs are special friends because they naturally protect and guard the family and its other animals. Early people found that the dog could be very helpful in managing and protecting their flocks and herds. Dogs are still very important in guarding flocks of sheep on summer pastures. The Australian sheep dog has developed the ability to herd sheep and cattle. Royalty and people of wealth since before the time of Christ have enjoyed dogs as pets. Perhaps the most important use of the dog for modern people is as friend and companion. Because of the desire to have special qualities such as long hair or small size, dogs have been bred into many different shapes, colors and appearances. Small dogs such as the poodle, schnauzer and Shih Tsu have become popular as companions to apartment-dwelling men and women in todays world. There are more than 400 different breeds of dogs in the world today. Because people have altered the species to suit their needs and fancies, there is more difference among the various breeds of dogs than any other domesticated animal. A toy breed of dog, such as the Chihuahua, may weigh from one to six pounds. A mature Saint Bernard may weigh as much as 200 pounds. Can you imagine two members of the human race, one weighing 50 times as much as the other? Although there are extreme differences in types of dogs, they all have many similar traits. All dogs have similar nutritional requirements: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. All have the same kind of digestive system, circulatory system and reproductive organs. Every dog has hair on its body. Some, like the Yorkshire terrier, have very long hair. Others, like the Chihuahuas, have very short hair. Every dog has the same number of teeth, the same number of toes, and exactly the same set of bones in its skeleton.
Things To Do
Make a table listing different breeds and types of dogs which you see in yourcommunity. Can you identify 10 different breeds & what they do?
Ask your parents or librarian to help you find a book or article describing a heroic act by a dog, such as saving a persons life or by protecting someone from attack by a wild animal or human. Write a short story of the dogs act.
How the Dogs Body Works
The dogs body is very complicated. In order for the dog to run, the muscles must contract and relax. Muscles must have bones to pull against.The muscles and skeleton are called the musculoskeletal system. A muscle is made of millions of cells which must have food and oxygen. Food for these cells is brought by blood. The blood is carried all around the body through blood vessels. A pump, called the heart, drives the blood through the blood vessels. This system is called the circulatory system. Cells produce waste which the body must eliminate. The waste is excreted through kidneys, lungs, skin and digestive system. These organs make up the excretory system. Food which the dog eats must be processed into simple elements which can be used by the body cells. This way of using dog food, meat, table scraps or whatever your dog eats is called digestion.
The digestive system begins at the dogs lips and finishes at its tail with an organ called the anus. Part of what the dog eats cannot be digested and used. This waste, together with some by-products and other waste products, is called feces. It is excreted or removed through the anus.
Oxygen is necessary for the life of every cell in the body. It is brought into the body through air passages leading from the nose through the head and neck. Oxygen is separated from other parts of air and combined with the blood in a system called the respiratory system. (This system also helps get rid of some wastes from cells such as carbon dioxide.) Around this whole group of connected systems is a very complex organ called the skin. It protects the dog and the various systems from heat, cold, injury, bacteria and other harmful forces.
As you progress through the series of manuals on dog care and training, you will study about these systems in more detail. Each manual is designed to help you learn about one particular system. The knowledge you gain from each manual will help you understand your own dog better. There will be many activities which you can do with your dog to measure its health.
Things To Do
1. Name two things other than food which the dog must have to live.
Only a few things are needed for your dog to be healthy. In this section we will discuss these needs and suggest how you can keep your dog in good health. Food and water are most important for your dogs well being. Food is usually purchased in a can or package. In the next section you will learn more about how much and how often to feed your dog. The amount and quality of the food you give your dog will have a great deal to do with its health. Water is one of the most important items which your dog takes into its body. Without water your pet will soon die. Be sure your dog can get fresh, clean water at all times. Shelter is also important. Todays domestic dog is much different from the jackal or other wild creatures who were our dogs ancestors. Large dogs and those which spend most of their lives outdoors do well in an outside dog house. It needs to be big enough for the dog to stretch out in, high enough off the ground to keep water from running in and sturdy enough to deep wind and rain from getting in. It also should have a removable roof, so it can be easily cleaned. Many modern dogs have become house pets and are indoors all the time. They, too, do best when they have a box, basket or other place to call home. If this is provided, your dog will stay in its private area of the house when sleeping and resting. A dog can become ill just as humans do. To keep your pet healthy, you the caretaker must take it to a veterinarian to get the proper vaccinations at the right time. Your dog needs to be protected against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and rabies. Any of these diseases means certain death for your pet. These are the major diseases for which vaccination is available. In special situations your dogs doctor, the veterinarian, may want your pet to have some other protection. He or she will examine your dog for internal and external parasites and help you get rid of them. An important part of health care is keeping your pet clean. This means regular brushing and bathing of the hair coat. It also means keeping the bedding and house clean. Outdoor dogs often get fleas and lice. Good care of the skin, hair and bedding helps to control these pests. Your dogs waste products - urine and feces - can spread disease to other dogs and sometimes to people. Part of your responsibility for your dog includes disposing of these waste products so they are not harmful to others. The dog is one of only a few of our domesticated animals which is able to return affection. Dogs need to be loved. If the owner or master shows affection for his or her pet, the dog will return that affection. Part of loving and caring for a dog is the training which the owner gives it. Dogs, like children, can develop bad habits if not given training in how to behave around people and other animals. Both you and your dog will be happier if your pet is trained to obey your commands.
Things To Do
Answer the following questions about your dog.
|How often is it fed?||Watered?|
|What does the dog weigh?||Too much?||Not enough?||Just right?|
|Where does the dog sleep?|
Is the hair & coat . . .
|Thin & falling out in patches?||Harsh & stiff to the touch?||Smooth & silky?|
Are the eyes . . .
|Cloudy & dull?||With matter in the corners?||Bright & clean?|
Are the teeth . . .
|Coated with dark brown scale?||Broken & missing?||Clean & glistening white?|
Has the dog been vaccinated against . . .
Where does the dog deposit its waste?
|In the back yard?||In a public park or street?||In the neighbor's yard?|
Who is responsible for all of the above?
What Do Dogs Eat and Why?
One of the first things you learned about your dog was that he or she liked to eat. Food is very important for the well being of your dog. You have a great deal of control over the health of your dog by the way you feed him or her. How often should you feed your dog? Young dogs, especially those just weaned from their mothers, may need to be fed two or three times a day. As the dog becomes full grown, it needs to be fed once, or at most two times daily. Feeding in the evening just before the family sits down to eat its evening meal is a good idea. A dog who has just eaten wont be at the table begging for food and making a nuisance of itself. How much feed should your dog have to be healthy? Dogs of different ages have different food needs. A puppy or a young growing dog needs more food, maybe two or three times as much per pound of body weight, as does a grown dog. Remember, in the case of large breeds, the puppy may increase its size as much as 60 times from birth weight to adult weight. Should you feed dry dog food, canned dog food or semi-moist food? The different types of dog food have different amounts of water. So you must feed much more canned and a little more semi-moist food to give your dog the same amount of nutrition contained in dry dog food. Your mature dog needs this amount of one of these kinds of dog food every day for each pound of body weight. If it is a puppy or young, growing dog, it will need two or three times this much to grow properly. If it is a bitch (female) due to have puppies, she will need about one-fifth more feed. If your bitch is nursing a litter of puppies, she will need two to three times as much as a full-grown dog. Dogs which are working hard, such as hunting dogs or those in police work, need more food. You may meet their needs by increasing the amount of feed or by adding raw hamburger or some source of fat such as corn oil. Commercial dog food usually has 43 or more nutrients which your dog needs for growth and health. As you learn more about feeding your dog, you will probably find it will like one kind of food better than another. You will also need to keep an eye on your dogs fur, see whether he or she is gaining or losing weight, and how he or she feels on a particular dog food. It may be necessary to switch to another dog food to find one which keeps your dog in the best shape. You may also want to add some things to the commercial food, such as raw meat or fat, to provide some special item which your dog needs for good health.
Things To Do
1. Visit a grocery store and list 10 brands of dog food. Check whether the food is dry, semi-moist or canned.
|Brand / Name||Dry||Semi-moist||Canned|
2. List all the ingredients (corn, soybean, fat, vitamins, etc.) found on the labels of threedifferent dog foods. Put each in the right column: animal, vegetable or other.
Your Dog - A Good Citizen
In this project you have learned how the dog has changed. Humans have molded the dog into an ideal companion and helper. In todays modem world, the dog is no longer a wild creature capturing food and running at large. People have brought the dog into larger communities called cities. Here, the behavior of the dog in its wild state is not tolerated. People now provide food for the dog. We take care of most of the dogs needs, such as shelter and protection. The dog must be taken outside to a park or yard where it can exercise and get rid of its wastes. For all of these needs, the dog relies on humans. As people have become city dwellers, they have required less living space. To live in smaller areas, we have bred dogs that are smaller and more adaptable to indoor living. Neighbors in apartments may not enjoy dogs as much as you do. Your pet can and should be trained to respect others right to quiet, especially at night. Getting rid of your dogs wastes is also an important need, especially in cities where yards and lawns are small. If you start training your dog while young, he or she can easily learn to defecate and urinate in a place where the wastes can be gotten rid of easily. If on a concrete run in the back of your house, wastes can be picked up and put with the garbage for hauling away. Dog wastes are a possible source of disease for other dogs and people, so the waste should be taken care of every day in a safe way. Dogs which are abandoned by the owners are a serious problem. Cities spend large sums of money picking up these dogs from the streets. They have to be fed and cared for until claimed or killed. At the edge of cities where there are fields and wooded areas, these unwanted pets return to a wild state and are called feral dogs and prey on other animals such as cattle, sheep and pigs which may be in the area. They may also attack people, especially children. If you are thinking about getting a dog, your responsibility is to take care of your pet. Some questions you should ask yourself before getting a dog:
1. Will it be comfortable in the space of my home?
2. Who will take care of it during the day while I am at school?
3. Can my family afford to buy feed and pay for the health care which it needs?
4. Will the dog be bothersome to my neighbors?
Considering these things before getting a new dog will help you make a wise choice.
Things to Do
1. Certain diseases of humans can be spread by dogs and other animals. These diseasesare called zoonoses. Ask your parents or a librarian to help you find a book or some information on zoonotic disease. (A good encyclopedia will be helpful). List five diseases of dogs that may infect humans:
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