Walnut shells are used in the "old shell game."
(The full meaning of this photo will become clear
when you get to the end of the post.)
In his book about show dogs, journalist Josh Dean followed an Australian shepherd as he rose through the ranks in the world of dog shows. But just as in any competition, there will be cheats:
Some cheating is very difficult to uncover. Sporting dogs, for instance, are supposed to have a “two o’clock tail set,” meaning that the tail dangles just a little above the dog’s topline. But many, and especially those goofy, happy, goldens, carry their tails high; it's just how they turn out, and you can imagine that we humans selected them that way at some point because it was cute. But it's not to the standard. And to compensate, some devious owners will cut a muscle in the tail, causing it to drop…
Other deceptive practices that are difficult to detect would include the dyeing of hair (to make black dogs blacker, especially poodles), the tattooing of eyelids (because brown ones can be a ﬂaw on dogs that should have black), and the insertion of prosthetic testicles into a monorchid dog, (see FOOTNOTE) as well as surgery to "correct" droopy ears or tails. In England judges were warned before the 2010 Crufts show to be vigilant especially for dye jobs, and there is even talk of testing hair samples of suspect animals. Judges will also sometimes pat a poodle's topknot to check for the use of hairpieces to enhance the pouf.
(FOOTNOTE: The most common brand is called Neuticles, by the way, and its primary target consumer is the man who wants to neuter his dog but worries about what this says about his own masculinity. The same company also makes PermaStay prosthetics to help keep a dog's ears erect.)- Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred by Josh Dean, Amazon>>