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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Greatest American Dog?

I admit it, I've been watching the show - Greatest American Dog. I don't really like reality shows, all the bickering and backstabbing among the peeps isn't really my thing. But since I'm a dog and dog lover, over the weeks I also admit that I've found the show interesting. Yep, just interesting. An interesting study in perhaps how the average dog lover trains, plays and works with their dog, and how they handle stressful situations with their pups.

Now I know that reality shows don't always show the reality of what has happened behind the scenes. Producers and directors edit to make the show entertaining. But I like to think the show has provided a view of the overall relationships that the humans and dogs have on the show (well, I hope so anyway).

I haven't liked the 'activities' or 'challenges' that the producers and directors have required the dogs and humans to do to win. During the elephant 'loyalty' challenge, Mum and I sat with our jaws dropped when the pups were put to the 'stay' test, as a 9000 lb. elephant charged at them. I couldn't help wonder if Mum would ever put me in a position like that, especially unprepared. To my relief, Mum came right out and told me - 'I would never make you do that. I promise'!

Television in general is a form of entertain and education. I assume that's what the noisy box is for. I do know that my sis, Gracie, enjoys it - at least movies about dogs. Me? Not a big fan. I'd rather be out playing, hiking and training with my Mum. But she likes to watch the box on occasion, so I accommodate and spend some evenings vegging on the couch with her as she watches, laughs, learns and even cries, sometimes.

We can't help but wonder, though...what message is the Greatest American Dog bringing to the general pup population? Mum and I know, and have learned a lot, about positive training methods; using them from the very beginning; building on our learning, gradually increasing difficulty and challenge, as we go. Yes, she's made mistakes, just like any human. She's learned from them and helped me learn, as well.

When the producers of Greatest American Dog were looking for participants last Spring, many suggested that I try out. But Mum was emphatic in her 'NO'! For one thing, she can be kind of shy and would not be happy subjecting herself to the potential criticism of millions of pup lovers. Another thing is she speaks her mind (and some folks don't like that, sometimes). But the most important thing is she had no idea (as we believe all the participants in the show don't always know) what I would be subjected to. And there was no way she was going to put me in situations, blindly, that wouldn't be good or right for me.

I'm sure these may be some of the same reasons why other humans and dogs didn't try out for the show. Some really talented ones at that. So, will we ever really know who the Greatest American Dog really is?

Tonight is the finale of Greatest American Dog, 8:00 PM ET/PT on CBS. Some human will have gone through great triumphs, very frightening situations, homesickness, adversity, and joyful and regrettable decisions with their pup over many weeks to win $250,000 and be crowned the the Greatest American Dog. We wonder, will the winner think it was it worth it?

My Mum says that I, and my sis, Gracie, are the Greatest American Dogs, hands and paws down, no questions asked.

And I didn't even have to sit and stay while an elephant charged at me!


  1. We admit that we have been watching this show too. Bill and Star were our favorites and we were sorry to see them go!

  2. I haven't watched the show (I don't think my TV even works any more). But at last week's agility trial, I heard two separate agility folks say basically the same thing that you did about the challenges--they seemed inappropriate and even dangerous. Not something that most of us would want to subject our dogs to, especially the well-trained and intelligent dogs (like you, Johann, of course!).

    But for a quarter of a mil? Hm.

  3. I really liked Bill and Star too. Leave it to the agility stars to be the easy going and most likeable ones. But even near the end Bill was getting tense, I thought.

    Ahh Ellen...never fear, technology is here. You can go to the Greatest American Dog website and see the past episodes. If you do, don't miss the elephant one.

  4. We agree Johann! We watched 2 episodes and were annoyed!! I don't think it'll be back for another season.


  5. not only about the elephant... i heard about the jumping off the cliff into d net, or something like that to test the courage..

    i don't think that kind of 'test' are appropriate for a dog

    i'm glad u didn't join... or else, we will be worried sick about u


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