Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/211

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179
TRAINING

cats that have been born in a cage. By the time an animal has cuffed one chair to pieces I can generally size him up and get at his disposition. I don't mind a creature that's ready for war right at the start. The sulky, sullen brutes are the ones that keep a trainer in a perpetual state of suspicion."


HOW THEY PUNISH UNRULY PUPILS

Most of the training is done while the animals are in winter quarters, the cages being generally arranged in a semicircle or along the wall, while the center of the main room is occupied by a big ring or circular space inclosed by a very strong and high fence of iron bars. At first the animals are worked in their cages, later in the ring. Lounging about in front of the cages is a man with a long iron rod having a sharp point. The duty of this guard is to keep watch of all the cages where animals are being worked, and to be ready to come to the instant relief of any of the trainers who happen to get into trouble. Occasionally he assists them from the outside in various ways; as, for instance, by slipping his rod between the bars and heading off an animal which is attempting to sneak out of doing his trick. In the main, however, he is there to do heroic service in times of emergency.