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Reality TV show seeks America's best dog

July 7, 2008 | 11:22 am

Hanula_and_her_furry_costar

It's not exactly "Canine Idol" or "So You Think Your Pet Can Dance?", but this summer, dog lovers can follow the journey of 10 dogs pawing their way to win a reality show prize of $250,000 and title of "Greatest American Dog." The Washington Post reports:

[All 10 dogs and owners] are vying for the title of "Greatest American Dog," CBS' new unscripted series hosted by pet expert-zoologist Jarod Miller.

With weekly challenges and a three-judge panel, the program offers a grand prize of $250,000 for the winning dog-and-human team. It premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday.

"Leroy has been getting ready for a show like this since he was a baby," said Teresa Hanula of Fairfax, Va., whose border collie is poised for his close-up in the photo above with her. Leroy, a 5-year-old with mismatched ears, is "obsessed with Frisbee and loves swimming," said Hanula, a former high school Latin teacher.

To prep Leroy for life on camera, she said she held a puppy shower "with people, piñatas, kids, music and noise, everything he would find remotely distracting. And he loved it. He knows when it's showtime."

Like some human reality shows, "Greatest American Dog" requires the participants -- dogs and owners -- to live together during the competition.  The weekly challenges go beyond high-flying tricks and standard obedience commands, said the show's executive producer, R.J. Cutler. Each episode tests a specific quality, such as loyalty, courage or intelligence, with a focus on how humans and animals cooperate, Cutler said.

-- Francisco Vara-Orta

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

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