18 May 2009

Reality Show Teaches Old Dogs Extreme Tricks

Max the Border Collie can roll over on command, herd crowds and sit still on a table while his owners eat.

But Grace and Michael Ham want their dog to do more — like climb people's backs and then leap into the air to catch a Frisbee. So, they have sought the help of Zak George, a dog trainer made famous from YouTube clips who now is hosting a reality TV show aimed at teaching old dogs new tricks.

A crew for Animal Planet's new show — tentatively called "Fetch Me a Beer" — recently filmed Max while he was learning his new moves. The 20-episode series, scheduled to premiere in October, will show George teaching other dogs such skills as riding a bike and helping a helpless human land a date.

"The dogs are easy. It's the people who are more challenging," George says. "There's nothing we can't attempt to teach a dog."

Seanbaker Carter, executive producer of Powderhouse Productions, says viewers will see all sorts of skills from dogs they didn't think were possible, such as seeing a dog "literally fetching a beer out of a fridge" and bringing it to its owner.

"It's the one trick we probably all need to happen," says Carter, whose company is producing the show for Animal Planet.

To read the full story, head on over to msnbc.com