When you do either or both of these things, you will be surprised to learn how easily you can impress the public with your own and your dog’s cleverness. It’s like Mr. Cass with his two setters walking at heel.
Assuming that Jock is letter-perfect in the comparatively few details of correct deportment already discussed in this book, you have only to adapt them to obedience test conditions, add two or three more to comply with special requirements, and you have a candidate for public competition. This will be treated a little more fully in the next chapter.
In trick work, you will have almost unlimited opportunity to exercise your own individual ingenuity and the native as well as the acquired ability of your dog. You notice “native” is in italics. This is because you have had ample time to study Jock’s individual mental and physical characteristics and you can make them play right into your hand when you choose the various stunts you plan for his program. But you should also consider his physical adaptability for any given trick you have in mind. Certain dogs are far more agile and muscular for their weight and inches than others. Some, again, have peculiar and amusing eccentricities or habits that you can exploit to win applause.
I remember a little Boston terrier that would cry like a baby when told his master had lost a lot of money in the market or that his playmate, the pussy, was sick. The tears ran down his cheeks in streams and he made a gurgling sound not unlike the sobs of a child. How he had been taught this trick was a mystery to me at the time. I know now that there is an occasional perfectly healthy dog whose eyes, under certain conditions, distilled water like a retort. The Boston’s master noticed he had that peculiarity and cashed in on it.