If your dog is your best friend, your TV is pretty much your second best friend. Think about it -- it's always there when you need it; it's kind of warm; sometimes it's a little fuzzy; it might even annoy the neighbors when the volume gets out of control.
But when it comes to friends, there's really no need to pick favorites. Today's reality TV landscape is a kennel bursting with awesome, cuddly dog shows for you to adopt into your viewing rotation. Imagine the dog-lover possibilities -- you can watch these TV shows about dogs with your dog, who is a dog watching dogs on TV. That's right: It's time for dog-ception.
'Dogs in the City' (2012)
Though his methods might've drawn a touch of controversy, credit goes to the original "Dog Whisperer," Cesar Millan, for whispering up a strangely riveting brand of reality TV in which a gifted sort of dog medium shows off his ability to commune with canines, solving dog-human relationship problems along the way. If you've already lapped up all nine seasons of "Whisperer," check out its quirkier cousin. In "Dogs in the City," dog care entrepreneur and animal behaviorist Justin Silver takes a swing at the dog-whispering genre for seven warm, fuzzy episodes. Where Millan's steamy, Latin-flavored style focused on intense man-on-dog staring contents, Silver -- who's also a standup comedian -- levels with pups and their owners in a humble, funny, down-to-earth way. There's no pretension here -- this show's more New York than a papaya dog.
'Pit Bulls and Parolees' (2009 - )
Pit bulls. Parolees. Two great tastes that taste great together, right?
Actually, yeah, they do. And that's because Animal Planet's "Pit Bulls and Parolees" -- an uber-addicting reality series that follows trainer Tia Torres as she and her crew of paroled felons rehabilitate abused pups and pair them up with new owners -- hits on something magical about dogs: A dog's love is blind. The beautiful duality of "Pit Bulls" is that there's redemption on both sides. People who've been dealt bad hands extend those hands to dogs who've been hurt or abandoned, and those dogs turn right around to make brand new owners very happy people. It's a hard-knock love-in.
'Lucky Dog' (2013 - )
While "Dogs in the City" was a short-lived treat, CBS put "Lucky Dog" right at the top of its Saturday morning Dream Team slot and has kept it there for three seasons, so far. In contrast to the humor and distinctly New York vibe of "City," there's no gimmick, no hook, and no outlandish personality in Brandon McMillan's real-life doggy drama -- it's just a straightforward show about an animal trainer rescuing difficult, untrained, or abandoned dogs from various shelters, grooming them into model pets, and finding them grateful new families.
And sometimes, that's all you need to get those happy tears flowing. "Lucky Dog" is crunchy, kibble-y comfort food for dog lovers.
'Dogs Might Fly' (2016)
Alright, let's go from no gimmick to the biggest gimmick you've ever heard. "Dogs Might Fly" is a reality TV show about dogs flying airplanes.
Go ahead. Take a moment.
You processed that one yet? "Reality" TV wasn't a typo -- in "Dogs Might Fly," host Jamie Theakston takes us through a 10-week training period in which Britain's best animal behaviorists work alongside a dozen hand-picked pooches, with the ultimate goal of teaching a chosen few how to pilot a single-engine airplane.
Even if you're stateside, you can stream "Dogs Might Fly" for free at Sky 1's site. Might as well stop reading now and go do that, because there's no possible way this article -- or anything else that might happen to you today, tomorrow, or the next day -- is going to top dogs flying airplanes. It's just not going to happen.
- Critics Challenge 'Dog Whisperer' Methods
- If You're a Canine Lover, 'Dogs in the City' Will Pooch All the Right New York Buttons
- Challenges Abound on New Season of 'Pit Bulls and Parolees'
- 'Lucky Dog' TV Review
- Dogs Can Fly! Meet the Trainers Turning Puppies into Pilots
- Can Dogs Fly? TV Show Sends Pooches to the Sky
- Watch 'Dogs Might Fly' Season 1