By Josh Saunders
Meet the border collie-cross whose basketball skills have made her a slam-dunking sensation.
Three-year-old Oreo has earned the nickname LeBark James, after the American pro LeBron for her impressive ball tricks.
The performing pooch from London in Ontario, Canada, sits on her hind legs ready to catch the ball and score a perfect two-point shot.
She’s part of Ultimutts, a talented team of pets who show off their tricks before crowds at over 200 shows a year across the USA and Canada.
Their Trainer Melissa Millett, 36, says Oreo is a fan favourite with spectators, who want to take her home.
Melissa, founder and trainer, said: “LeBron James has nothing on Oreo, she’s an absolute star in the making.
“She’s a very talented basketball player – she can slam dunk and catches the ball just like a human.
“People are really surprised when they see her skills, they gasp and just love the trick.
“She sits on her hind legs and will grab the ball from mid-air with her paws, she even turns her body to ensure she can grasp it.
“I started out getting her to grab the ball and pass it like a human, then we took it up a notch.
“We had to teach the skill slowly as she needed to develop strong muscles to hold the ball and then the slam dunk I taught her through retrieving and dropping the ball in the basket.
“Now people are blown away by the trick and say that Oreo is their favourite.
“She truly is the perfect pet, she’s fuzzy, always smiling and is a funny looking dog because of her short little legs.”
Oreo was rescued at an auction for unwanted puppy mill pets and was initially trained as a service dog before joining the Ultimutts team.
Despite her sad start in life, Oreo has gone onto become a crowd pleaser, has a great temperament and adores young children.
Melissa said: “She’s a little clown. She’s very silly, friendly and is everybody’s favourite.
“Oreo loves children more than any dog loves anything in the world, she lights up when she sees them and gets completely distracted.
“She likes children more than food or work, at the end of shows she runs her little legs off to meet the kids straight away.”
It took a year to trained Oreo to perform both tricks, which Melissa gushed are perfect.
She said: “The only problem with the trick can be me, I have to throw the ball in the right position, sometimes I throw it too low, so she has the challenge of tolerating me as a partner.
“But we always have a lot of fun and I have always wanted to be able to perform that trick, now that we can I’m overjoyed.”
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