It seems that folks just can’t get enough of the Brazil tennis ball dogs, as these shelter dogs have a new job that they appear to be enjoying. These are the same dogs once abandoned on the streets of Brazil’s biggest city of Sao Paulo and today they are the highlight of the Brazil Tennis Open.
Sports Act reports on February 28, that these dogs donned in orange ribbons are on the courts after they’ve been trained for months and this has paid off greatly for both tennis and the crowds. The dogs chase the balls that head out of bounds.
The lower ranked players, who don’t have a chance at winning, often miss the balls on purpose so the crowd will get to see the side show they’ve come to love, the shelter dogs retrieving the tennis balls! The dogs are under the command of their trainer who directs them when to grab a ball with their teeth and bring it to the trainer off court.
While this is considered an “unusual initiative,” according to Sports Act, it was done for a reason. Using these wonderful and now trained dogs brings attention to the plight of the abandoned dogs with the hopes of promoting adoption. Yahoo News reports that these dogs
“have taken center stage at the Brazil Open.”
Trainer Andrea Beckert looks as if she’s worked miracles with these dogs, but the pups had this in them. It’s just that they’ve been mistreated in the past and they now need to adapt to living life being cared for.
Beckert said that she found the biggest challenge was to get the dogs to become more confident and playful. “These are dogs that were mistreated. We have to make them adapt, feel the environment, the court, the noise of the balls and the noise of the people. Some are doing well, others are still a little scared.”
This miracle trainer explained the basic commands that the dogs learned while training, which are the commands that they will use on the court. They needed to learn “pick the ball,” ”let it go,” ”stay” and “come” all on command with noise and crowds around them.
There are four Brazil tennis ball dogs and all four still live in a shelter. By using the shelter pups as ball dogs the public can see that these dogs are trainable. Officials also feel that these dogs now demonstrate that a “well-fed” and “well-treated” dog can be a “very happy” animal. There are more 1,000 dogs in the care of the shelter that need homes.