YOU don’t have to look too far, these days, to find videos of animals that do tricks. Not merely zoo animals, but ordinary domesticated pets, too.

YouTube is full of them: the dog, for example, that leaps up on command from its basket, trots over to the fridge, opens the door by clutching the handle in its teeth, and returns to its owner with a can of beer in its mouth.

Then there’s the cat that responds to the ringing of a wall-mounted phone by easing the handset from its cradle and letting it fall to the floor.

Another cat somehow manages to slither up a sliding glass door and opens it just enough to squeeze through into the next room. These are just the opening acts, as it were, in one video. There are many, many more out there.

Another video, ten years old now, shows Jilli, a tiny Yorkshire Terrier, performing poker-cards trick with her owner.

But dogs that can do card-tricks are nothing new as was shown in December 1955 by the star turn at the Glasgow Herald Social Club’s Christmas party. The children were given a display of canine intelligence by Major, who had appeared on television three times, alongside his owner, Mr Warnock. In this act, which intrigued these watching children, he lifted cards from the floor and spells out his name.

It’s just a pity that Major existed before the age of smartphones and YouTube.