Who let the dogs out?

Don’t Blame the Dog takes irresponsible dog owners to live with those whose livelihoods depend on their canines 

Sonali Shenoy Published :  23rd June 2017 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  23rd June 2017 06:00 AM


Finally, here’s a show that teaches humans to behave, so their dogs can follow. Sony BBC Earth’s brand new Don’t Blame the Dog, which premieres on Indian television this week, takes dog owners with bad attitudes to live for a week alongside folks who depend on their canines for their survival. And we don’t mean at home. From a glimpse of canine sheepherders in the Australian outback to special ops dogs working with the army in Canada — the show travels to stunning locales that fast make up for lost comfort zones. London-based Robi Dutta, executive producer of the six-episode show takes us behind-the-scenes:

This is such a cool concept. What inspired it?  

We were interested in dog behaviour and young people, because it’s quite an issue — young people with dogs that are out of control. And because in the Natural History Unit we would make a lot of programmes in amazing landscapes across the world — we thought could we combine the two? 

When you say owners with bad attitudes — how bad is bad? 

We had a contributor called Holly who liked dressing her dog up and painting her dog’s nails because she liked painting her own nails. There was Ed, a hairdresser who liked feeding his dog human food with lots of fat, salt and sugar. Another guy was breeding illegal types of dogs and didn’t really care what happened to them...

Give us a background on some of the working dogs on the show.

We had quite a range. There were dogs who trained under the same unit of the military that I believe took out Osama bin Laden to dogs involved in bird racing in Alaska and even acting dogs in Hollywood.

Do you have a favourite episode?

The one shot in the Australian Outback where the dog owners had to learn to herd sheep dogs. Those dogs really respond to someone who knows what they are doing and is in control of the situation. So in one episode the dog knew that the person had no idea what he was doing — and so ran riot and started chasing a cat. And then somebody had to step in to save the cat!

We hear some scenes also got quite emotional even though the owners were not with their own dogs. 

Yes, I remember that Kim, one of the dog owners on that show had inherited her dog from her father after he had died. And she hadn’t come to terms with his death which is probably why her dog was out of control as well. So she ended up learning quite a bit about dog behaviour and herself in the process, and it turned out to be a happy ending.  

Monday to Friday at 10 pm on Sony BBC Earth.