Jock! Listen! What is that? Listen!
I need only travel two hundred yards from my home to show you a case in point. A neighbor bought as a playmate for his three young children what he was assured was a twomonthsold cocker. When he called me over a week or so after his purchase it took but a glance to identify the pup as a mongrel of mongrels; but as almost always happens in such cases, my neighbor took his medicine and kept the dog. The pup grew into a 55pound, brasseyed whatisit with a disposition so mean that the man was only too glad to leave him behind when he moved from town the following summer.
Of course, this principle works both ways. While not in any way dangerous, it is just as disappointing to find a pup sold to you as from fine watchdog stock turning out to be a goodnatured slob. Moral: remember you can’t tell by the looks of a tadpole how far he’ll jump when a frog. If you need a good watchdog, play it as safe as you can and don’t waste your money on a crossbred puzzle.
Remember, too, that a good watchdog is born and made, with the emphasis pretty evenly distributed. What will tend to make Jock the guardian you hoped for?
We’ll first assume he’s an indoor dog a house pet, the same Jock you have taught not to bark his head off every time he hears the doorbell or rush wildly ahead of you when you go to open the door. You have also taught him by the use of the very same system not to bark at any of the everyday sounds in and outside the house that he should know are nothing to be excited about. But there are now and then strange and unusual sounds you want him to be excited about; if you could hear them, they might make you a little nervous yourself. How can you induce him to notice them and call them to your attention?
The answer lies in the fact that you can always depend on Jock to take his moods from yours. You taught him to consider the doorbell nothing for him to worry about by making him realize it was an everyday sound and didnt worry you. You went further than that and showed him that, when it did worry him, you considered him not only silly, but a nuisance. Now you hear something that is not an everyday sound. You don’t know what causes it and for that reason it does worry you. All right; let Jock know it does. Stop short, listen intently and in a low but nervous and apprehensive tone say; “Jock! Listen! What is that? Listen!” or something of the sort.
To rouse him to still greater tension raise your index finger and hiss two or three times in a sharp staccato. It’s a very phlegmatic dog that will not respond to that much stimulus with at least an anxious whine. But if he fails to get the point do a little acting for his benefit. Glance quickly and nervously in all directions, hurry to this place and that, peer under the piano, open a closet door, even look under the rug, keeping up a running fire of talk all the time: “Hunt him up, Jock! Pst, pst! Hunt him up!” etc., etc. If this doesn’t eventually break down his sales resistance and bring the barks, I give up and, in my opinion, you might as well give up too.
Dog of day: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel