TV cameras trained on dogs during summer 2012
This undated image released by CBS shows dog guru Justin Silver, host of the new show "Dogs in the City," kissing a dog in New York. Every Wednesday beginning May 30, Silver will try to help New York City hounds and humans tackle unsettling problems like joint custody after divorce or dealing with significant others who just moved in. (AP Photo/CBS, Heather Wines)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Summer television used to mean reruns. This year it's gone to the dogs.
Several new shows star dogs and their owners in need of help. CBS has the lone network show in "Dogs in the City," starring comic, dog trainer and businessman Justin Silver. It's joined by documentaries on PBS and HBO and a series in the works for the Disney Channel, among others.
Each Wednesday at 8 p.m., beginning May 30, Silver will try to help hound and human tackle unsettling problems like joint custody after divorce or dealing with significant others who just moved in.
Is man or mutt usually to blame for problems? It's 50-50, he said, but "a dog's behavior is shaped by the people in its life."
Silver says he won't be the one solving problems, even though he jokes that he speaks dog. Instead he will provide techniques and experiences so owners can fix their own problems.
"It's that old adage: Give a man a fish and you'll fill his belly. Teach him how to fish and he'll never starve. I am teaching you how to fish. But no one learns how to fish perfectly in one hour. It takes constant practice."
If intervention is needed, he will call on his own pit bulls, Chiquita and Pacino. "I use my dogs as much as possible because the thing that influences dogs most is other balanced dogs," he said.
"Dogs in the City" seems to have a lot in common with "The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan" on the National Geographic Channel and "It's Me or the Dog" with Victoria Stilwell on Animal Planet. "Bad Dog!" is another Animal Planet show, although it uses videotape to capture misbehavior in a test of sorts to see how far an owner's love will stretch.
Documentaries airing in May and June explore the rewards and redemption of shelter dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says between 5 million and 7 million companion animals enter shelters every year and between 3 million and 4 million of them are euthanized.
In this February 2012 photo released by ShelterMe.com showing a photo of Andrew J. Trotto with his dog Teka during the documentary "Shelter Me." in Laguna Beach, Calif. Summer television used to mean reruns. This year it looks like it will be the season of dogs in trouble and troubled dogs. Several shows, network and cable, old and new, series and not, star dogs and their owners who need help. (AP Photo/Steven Latham/ShelterMe.com)
"Shelter Me," a PBS documentary, is narrated by actress Katherine Heigl and is sponsored by the pet food company co-owned by Ellen DeGeneres.
It follows an animal control officer, adoption workers, female inmates who train rescue dogs, and vets who acquire former shelter dogs.
"'Shelter Me' is about the lives that are changed when shelter pets are given a second chance," Heigl said.