The saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is a bit misleading – after all, with the right residential dog training from the professionals, you can break almost any behavioural trait or, in fact, teach them new skills.
Point in case is this charity exhibition tennis game in Brazil organised by the Association of Animal Wellbeing to show that shelter dogs can be rehomed and retrained. For the match at the Brazil Open tennis tournament, four dogs were trained as ‘ball dogs’, fetching the balls and returning them, although somewhat reluctantly at times, to the players, according to CNN.com.
Andrea Beckert from the Association of Animal Wellbeing said: “We want to show that abandoned dogs can be adopted and trained… it’s not easy to get a dog to only pick up the lost balls and then to give them up!”
The dogs donned an orange bandana and chased the balls around for half an hour, cheered on by the crowds, as players Roberto Carballes Baena from Spain and Gastao Elias from Portugal played the points.
This isn’t the first time dogs have been hard at work during a tennis match, however. Last month, the world swooned over a team of ball-dogs at a match featuring Venus Williams in Auckland New Zealand. You can watch the video of them hard at work here.
However, it might not be on the cards that ball-dogs will become a regular fixture at actual tennis matches – looking at these videos, the players seem to be more than a little distracted by these particular working dogs.