Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/188

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when in the wild state. A little thought will show that many of the qualities for which we prize them are dependent upon this fact, and that we are the gainers by turning to our own use the stock of tribal virtues and morals which they bring with them into our service, just in the same way as we gain by appropriating the winter food-store of the bees, and the supply of starch and gluten laid up for future use by many plants. An animal of a troop has perforce certain social duties and obligations, which, as can be shown, are necessary for his own existence as well as for the welfare of the community. He must learn to give and take, and be prepared to follow and obey the members of greater capacity and experience. It is essential that he should be of a peaceable disposition, as a general rule, among his mates, so as to preserve the harmony of the band; since a pack of dogs, like a house, divided against itself will soon prove its unfitness, and be eliminated according to law. He must also be prepared to stand by his fellows, defend them or any of them if attacked, and warn them if danger approaches.

Seeing that most wild animals of the canine tribe prey upon quarry swifter and larger than themselves, their common welfare depends upon systematic and intelligent co-operation. A single hound following a trail by scent, will frequently be at a loss; for every now and then it will overrun and miss the line; but when several are together this will seldom happen, and the pace of the pursuit will consequently be much greater and the chance of a meal more certain. In searching for prey it is necessary for the pack to separate, so as to range a wider area, but the instant a "find" takes place it is important that all should be informed at once, so that a united pursuit may be taken up while the scent is warm. Among all hounds and many wild dogs the signal is given by the voice, but, as will be shown later, the dog has another and very perfect method of signaling in addition to this. For the canine tail, when considered philosophically, turns out to be nothing but an animated semaphore, by means of which important news can be telegraphed to the rest of the pack, in much the same way as messages are exchanged between different detachments of an army by the modern development of military signaling, popularly known as "flag-wagging."

Of course, in hunting all large and swift animals, a great deal can be done by strategy, and this involves a common plan of action often of an elaborate kind, and the giving and taking of orders by the leaders and other members of the band respectively. The value of quick perception and general intelligence, as well as of a readiness to co-operate, here at once become apparent, for without these qualities no such combination could be successfully carried out. Again, when the prey is within reach, it often re-