Clever dog gets famous for playing pranks on strangers

From local sensation to superstar to honourable citizen in the drop of a tennis ball, this adorable dog's love for strangers took him far.


If you took a stroll down a certain tree-lined Los Angeles street, you would see the usual markings of a lived-in sunny California neighbourhood. But among the typical occurring and rows of garden walls, you might also come across a very special resident: Riley.

17. Special Encounter


In September of 2014, John Berchtold was a usual of said street, as two of his close friends resided there. One morning, as he waited outside their complex, he came across with the special resident.

16. No Regular Resident

Riley the dog, a five-year-old rescued Golden Retriever, made quite an impression on John. The latter recalls being struck by how cute the sight was. See, Riley wasn’t just sitting on the sidewalk. He was behaving in an uncommon manner.

15. Hungry for Attention

The dog had flopped himself over the garden wall with his paws dangling. And this wasn’t some foot-high wall, it could be estimated at around six feet off the ground. John knew this was a special moment.

14. A Star is Born

He pulled out his smartphone and filmed the golden retriever. After all, you don’t see a dog casually hanging out on a garden wall every day. That’s when Riley, seizing the opportunity, put on a little show.

13. Brains and Skills


Staring at John, he dropped a tennis ball down the garden wall onto the sidewalk. Then, Riley stood still. He hung there, on that garden wall, watching the stranger.

12. An Obvious Invitation

The two locked eyes. And John caught up with Riley’s silent communication. It seemed that the dog was looking for someone to play with him.

11. Nevermind the Wall

John obliged. But after connected with Riley over a simple game of toss over a garden wall with the dog’s tennis ball, a question remained. How and where did this dog learn to do this?

10. Local Star

In search of answers, John spoke with Riley’s owners. They explained that John was not the first person the dog tricked into playing. In fact, every single morning, Riley hung over the fence and dropped tennis balls and toys at the feet of passersby, hoping for a quick game.

9. Nothing but Love

He also learned that Riley was famous in the neighbourhood and known as the friendly neighbourhood dog. Apparently, there was no animosity for this dog manipulating the masses into play time. Only love.

8. Superstar

John shared the video of Riley’s antics on the internet, and soon, word of Riley spread. People had to see him. Dog lovers travelled from far and wide to see him. Even with hoards strangers showing up to toss his tennis ball, he kept his morning ritual intact.

7. In the Big League

Riley’s fans flooded their own social media with videos and pictures of the ball-dropping pup. Matt Nelson, 22-year-old owner of the novelty Twitter account WeRateDogs, even paid Riley and visit and, well, rated him.

6. 10/10 Would Recommend


Riley was granted an impressive 14/10. He was a bonafide animal superstar, after all, something his owners recognized. So they started thinking.

5. For a Good Cause

They had a famous dog people for which people were literally crossing county lines (and probably sitting in the horrible California traffic. Could they channel his positive energy and use it as a platform to make the world a better place?

4. Going Digital

So Riley’s owners created an Instagram account to interact with his beloved fans. Through social media, he started giving friendly reminders on matters of varying degrees of importance.

3. Golden Retriever with a Cause

On November 8th, 2016, for instance, the golden retriever, whose account now boasts nearly 20,000 followers, reminded his friends to embrace their civic duties and go vote!

2. Good Intentions

And on November 28th, 2017, Riley reminded his followers to embrace the holiday spirit. Give, donate, volunteer: help those less fortunate, you know? Which explains Riley’s most recent undertaking.

1. And Praisable Actions

By the fall of 2018, Riley was training to be a therapy dog, so he could interact with people who were sick, or just a little bit down, and hopefully brighten their days. If this dog loved one thing more than playing ball, it was putting a smile on people’s faces!

Source: Honest to Paws