Fetch is the most popular (and easy) game to teach a dog since most dogs possess natural chasing instincts. Dogs love to run, play with toys, and of course, soak up human attention, so it’s only natural that they love a good game of fetch. But, what if knowing how to fetch could be useful?
What if dogs could be trained to retrieve balls for professional tennis matches? This adorable idea caught the attention of Wimbledon, and they were granted an opportunity for a trial run.
What Happened Next Was…Chaos!
On the day of the trial, the group of dogs was brought to Wilton Tennis Club in London to show off their carefully honed skills. The dogs, named Hugo, Huxley, Dennis, and Daisy, included several golden retrievers, and even a dalmatian!
“The results varied from spectacular on one end of the spectrum to something very towards chaos on the other end. I think it would be fair to say that we kind of have some work in progress and we’ve a long way to go before we’ll be ready for next year. But we’re optimistic!” said ManyPets founder Steven Mendel.
While all the dogs were excellent at getting the balls, they weren’t too keen to turn over their new toys to the players! Instead, some of the dogs went wild, running around the court, and playing tug of war with some of the players.
“Having a secret stash of treats on the sidelines was definitely what was the trick required to get the dogs to drop the ball,” said Mendel.
Training for Next Year
While the dogs didn’t prove ready for the big leagues this year, Mendel and his team are going to continue training for next year. Having the dogs on the court wouldn’t just be for entertainment or practicality. According to Mendel, “the tennis players also like them, you know, there’s kind of nail-biting moments that the pets provided a degree of calm that the tennis players liked themselves.”
What do you think? Would you like tennis more or less if there were dogs on the court?