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Hello, and welcome to the Brathay Estate
on the banks of Lake Windermere in the Lake District.
This beautiful part of the country is about to play host
to a contest like no other.
A physical and mental competition for humans...
..and their dogs.
OK, up, up!
We've scoured the country and found eight people
who all believe they have the ultimate relationship
with their canine companions.
We'd love to win it, to prove to the world how good Douglas is.
We understand each other. We've been a team since he was seven weeks old,
and he's now nine.
Flapjack's beauty and my brains,
we should make quite a winning combination.
This way, this way, this way! Flapjack!
Over the next four weeks,
guided by some of the country's top dog trainers...
That is incredible!
..and canine scientists...
-What it tells us is that Betty is ambidextrous.
-Same as me!
We'll see them unlock the full potential of their partnership.
-You're ace, you are!
They'll compete in a series of challenges.
Just go, Douglas, go Doug!
And the best duos will win a place in our grand final...
..where one pair will be crowned ultimate champions.
If you think you know what your dogs are capable of, think again!
Go, go, go, good girl!
..the pairs split into two groups, and took on a set of challenges
designed to test how well they communicate.
-Just the eyes...
The Reds took on the nature slalom,
where Colin and Mitch and Toni and Flapjack floundered.
-You've lost your dog.
But Ellie and Benny emerged as top dogs.
Little Benny Bear.
One, two, three... Go on!
The Yellows faced an upstream scramble.
Daisy couldn't persuade Zuri to take the plunge.
Good girl, Bodger, thank you.
But Badger and Bodger...
..and Jake and Monty triumphed.
That was an awesome display!
Finally, our duos faced the ultimate test of communication...
..in a tethered cycling trial...
It looks scary, it looked proper scary.
..where Toni and Flapjack fought back...
..giving Josh and Doug a run for their money.
Go on, push, push, push, push!
But others failed to make the grade.
We're not performing as a team,
I'm finding it really, really frustrating
because I'm not getting the results from him that I'm asking of him.
We'll get there, won't we?
I still love you! Still love you.
It's week two, and time for the Reds and Yellows
to face a new set of challenges
designed to test the limits of their person-to-pet partnership.
The bond that we share with our dogs
is almost beyond description.
What's it about?
Well, it's about cooperation, it's about respect,
it's about friendship.
We share our lives with these animals.
It's about love.
Any happy, healthy human-dog relationship must be built on trust,
and that's what this set of challenges is all about.
Right now, Badger and Bodger lead the Yellows
with Josh and Doug hot on their heels,
and Daisy and Zuri bringing up the rear.
In the Reds, there were three pairs in close contention,
with Colin and Mitch not that far behind.
This time, it's the Reds who have the first chance
to get more points on the board.
Ah-ha! Here they are!
This is Brathay Bay on the banks of Lake Windermere.
You haven't come down here to take in this marvellous view!
You are going to be doing this...
It's called stand-up paddleboarding.
And what happens when Flapjack just gets off?
This is all about trust.
This is about you having a fantastic opportunity,
a new opportunity whereby, if you're working with your dog
and you're exercising the bond that you've already got,
you can enhance it by putting yourself in a new situation,
and building upon that trust that you've got there.
In this challenge, the pairs will need to paddle
100 yards out to this buoy,
circle it, and then race back to the bank,
keeping themselves and their dogs on the board at all times.
Mine is going to be a disaster.
My challenge is going to be keeping him on the board...
Cos he won't want to go on the board, he'll want to swim.
He looks keen to get in the water, which I'm sure...
But that's the problem!
This is just going to be completely farcical.
A sport like this should never be attempted without proper training,
and only in water which is known to be safe.
Ready to get on? Yeah? On you get.
Our dogs are all strong swimmers,
and will be wearing specialist buoyancy aids.
Oh, that's really warm...
There's a drop there!
The key to success in this challenge is persuading the dogs
the paddleboard is a safe place to be.
Good boy! You want to be on the boat!
Dogs might be natural swimmers...
It's nice. There's a little bit of movement I'm introducing,
then I'm just going to encourage him off and I want you to pull
-the handle out a bit further so the board moves more, OK?
But floating on water is way out of the canine comfort zone...
Good boy. Right, let's go for a little float.
Lie down, lie down.
A good job you like water!
They should be comforted enough by their owners' presence
to cope with the novelty of being on the paddleboard.
Hang on a minute!
At least, that's the theory.
You're such a clever boy!
Benny, Benny, Benny!
For clinical animal behaviourist Sian Ryan,
this is a great opportunity to see the pairs in action.
Some dogs perhaps wouldn't bat an eyelid
at something like this -
they're very confident, they love water,
they are confident about something that moves under their feet -
but it is about the bond with the person.
We know that we want our dogs to develop a secure attachment
because that gives them confidence to move away from us,
but that desire to be with us as well.
That's what I'm looking for in a good bond.
But one of our pairs is struggling to find their sea legs.
Put that piece of food right on his nose, here.
Colin's dog is yet to place all four paws on his board.
Come on, mate.
Oh, mate, have you got no appetite?
And Sian steps in to help Colin avoid a classic mistake.
Hang on, don't. Please don't just pick him up and put him on there,
because we need him to choose to get on there.
Mitch, come here.
Currently near the bottom of the leaderboard,
the contest has highlighted
Colin's traditional approach to training Mitch.
Mitch means a real great deal to me,
but I've got an old-fashioned attitude to dogs.
Just remember who is the master.
Get on, Mitch, get on...
After the first set of challenges,
it's starting to feel like it's holding them back.
Two-and-a-half years of teaching him to heel on penalty of death,
and all of a sudden, on penalty of death, he's got to pull!
Conventional wisdom has long been
that since wolves live in an alpha-dominated pack,
owners should mimic that and show their pet who's boss.
But recent findings have revealed
that they're actually more of a cooperative species,
suggesting our relationship with our dogs
shouldn't be based on dominance.
There's obviously something that I, as a dog keeper
over the last...over my entire life, have been missing.
I thought we had a really strong bond,
but I'm asking to do things and he's looking at me
and thinking, "I'm not sure about that,"
so perhaps that bond hasn't been there that I thought was there.
Yeah. So I think... It's a bit difficult, really.
Sian wants to help Colin find new ways to engage with Mitch.
At the moment, Mitch is very slow in his movements and he's very unsure,
and Colin is actually very keen that he reawakens Mitch's playful side.
-Good boy, good boy!
-There we go.
So you getting on there gives him confidence to be on there.
Going to do that back leg?
Are we going to do that back leg, mate?
Come on, here. Mitch, come on!
-Good man. Good lad.
There's a good boy!
With all our pairs pretty much seaworthy...
I feel like Pocahontas right now!
..it's time for the main event.
Now it is a race, first person back gets the four points,
second, three, so on and so forth... OK?
Remember, the paddles are for paddling.
They're not a weapon!
We don't want to see anyone being jostled off of their boards,
with any randy paddling!
-Are you ready to go?
They'll be ranked and awarded points
according to who gets back to dry land first.
Right, is everyone ready?
On your marks, get set...
-Good luck, people!
Good girl, Betty.
Good boy, Mitch!
The race is on, but who can keep their dog calm and controlled?
Stay with it, Mitch.
Off the starting line,
the key thing is persuading the dogs to stay still,
which means offering calm verbal reassurance.
Good boy, Mitch!
Colin and Mitch have made a tentative start.
Stay with it, Mitch!
Ellie and rescue dog Benny...
Come on, you've got this! You've got this, Benny!
..and Toni and three-year-old Labrador Flapjack
are looking steady.
Good boy, Jack!
But that can't be said for everyone.
Betty, no, no...
Oh! It's OK, Benny.
-Betty's gone in for a swim.
Andrew and 18-month-old Border Terrier Betty
are keen running partners,
and so far in the contest,
he's had problems reining in his dog's enthusiasm.
He'll need to keep a close eye on her, because here,
staying calm and still won't come easy.
Good boy, Jackie. Jackie?
I know you've got a wet bottom, but love,
could you sit down, please?
Flapjack's got up with the excitement of it all.
If Flapjack went in, I don't know it if she'd be able
to hoick Flapjack out of the water quite so easily!
It's going to be harder work with you balancing, sweetheart!
-Colin's up in front.
Good boy, sit!
I'm rooting for Colin and Mitch, here, come on!
They're going for it, they're right out there.
Colin's got to the buoy...
I think it's Colin's got that, really tight.
He's got a tight angle, yeah.
With Colin and Toni in first and second place,
Andrew and Betty are playing catch-up.
Andrew's powering back in there now.
They're gaining on Ellie and Benny.
As they round the buoy,
Colin's doing a great job of reassuring Mitch.
Andrew spots a chance to take Ellie on the inside...
but once again... SPLASHING
..Betty has other ideas.
-Betty's gone in again...
-Betty's gone in for the second time.
Betty, will you stop falling in?
It's the home straight, and at the front of the pack,
Colin and Toni are fighting for pole position,
but they're not forgetting their manners.
I can't believe what polite competitors we are!
Colin's out in front.
But Toni is really trying to keep up with him.
For Ellie and Andrew, it's a battle for third.
Somebody just lost their dog...
-Oh, that's Andrew!
-Andrew's gone in!
Andrew will be quite disappointed, I think, cos he's quite competitive.
-It would take a bit of trust wouldn't it?
-To get them still on the front.
Look at Colin and Mitch.
-This is the team.
-Go on, son.
Get in, Mitch! Stay...
Toni's giving it some now, though!
-It's going to be a close call.
-It is going to be close.
They're coming in, they're very close.
There might be a photo finish!
I tell you what, if we make this,
somebody better be standing there with a gin and tonic as I get off.
-Keep going, keep going!
Dry land in sight, who will paddle through to victory?
Oh, no! I don't believe it!
Good boy, good boy!
Ellie and Benny claim third.
And Andrew and Betty bring up the rear.
Go on, Betty, go on!
Thank you, mate.
You deserve that as well, mate.
You really, really do.
-Oh, yes. He's over the moon.
-That means such a lot to them.
Colin, that's amazing. Well done, mate.
I can't believe that. I really can't believe that.
Oh, my God, I'm chuffed to bits.
-What can I say? What can I say?
-What a performance!
I really can't believe that.
He was great.
It's enlivened things a bit.
-You know, refreshed things.
I'm so, so pleased.
We got a good bit of swimming practice there,
-it was quite good fun!
-Did you fall in?
-I went in about five times there!
-Oh, did you? Oh, OK!
Do you know what? We're all right in the water.
It was just sad cos I was trying
to give Colin a run for his money at the end!
Race over and it's time for the results.
I hope you enjoyed that,
because that was the best spectator sport that I've had in some time,
I've got to say!
-You had a few problems.
-No, it's great fun.
It was a swimming competition, yeah?
You slightly misinterpreted that!
Andrew, as soon as she went in,
the way that you got her out of the water...
Spot-on, well done. She knows that you've got her back.
But what I think you need to work on is keeping that connection with her
so that she sticks with you in the first place.
You had six points, Andrew.
You get one from this one, which brings you up
to a total of seven points.
Ellie and Benny, you came in third.
You had six points, you get two on this occasion
which brings you up to a total of eight points.
Toni and Flapjack...
-The end was spectacular,
but not spectacularly successful in some ways...
Spectacular visually, probably, for everybody on the shore!
You had five points, you get three more here,
which brings you up
to eight as well.
And of course, that just leaves us
with Colin and Mitch.
We've taken it very steady with Mitch this afternoon
to make sure that he was comfortable on the board.
He took great comfort in the fact that you were on the board with him.
And to see you both cross the line first, just...
I don't know if there was a dry eye in the house!
You can still see the glee...
You had three points, Colin, but you've now added four to it.
And this gives you, obviously, a total of seven,
which brings you right back into contention.
Eight, seven, seven and eight.
All to play for!
I've won something, I've won something!
I've actually won something!
And I really didn't think I had a hope,
because he was so reluctant to get on the board first off.
He was really reluctant.
Mitch, are you a happy dog?
I was really surprised he stayed on the board,
I think it's a testament to, sort of,
our closeness, really, that he did.
I've learnt to look a lot more at how she is...
..in a tricky situation,
and I'm picking up on those little signals from Betty
when she isn't 100% confident.
I'm just sort of looking now for those little things,
to keep her...keep her happy, really.
But it's a massive moment for Colin and Mitch.
Doing things like this together
has got to be strengthening the bond, it's got to be.
Colin's learning that building trust
takes more than asserting dominance.
Now, canine behavioural scientist Doctor Emily Blackwell wants to use
new research to show Colin just how much he means to Mitch.
In the past, people have pretty much thought that dogs only like people
because they give them food.
But there's been some recent research where they've looked at
how dogs see the reward they get from food,
and the rewards they get from people.
-Praise and attention.
So what we're going to do today is give Mitch the choice
of a tasty bit of sausage, or access to you.
And we're going to give him that choice and see which way he goes.
-Go for the sausage.
-Are you sure?
Faced with a simple maze...
-Come and sit in this seat here.
..Mitch must choose between heading for food or Colin first.
-Facing away is lovely, thank you.
They'll perform the test 20 times,
with Colin swapping sides
to make sure Mitch doesn't have a preference.
-Good boy! Mitch, go Mitch!
Right, one for food!
Mitch, I'm here! Mitch!
Good lad. Oh, mate!
Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta
have taken a more hi-tech approach
to studying this aspect of a dog's behaviour.
Mitch? I'm here, look, all right? It's either me or sausage, mate!
-He changed his mind!
He started and then suddenly thought about that...
Using MRI scanners to measure neural activity,
they discovered that the reward centre in some dogs' brains,
called the caudate nucleus,
was activated more by praise than it was by food.
Good boy! Good boy.
But what has motivated Mitch?
The score was...
For food - seven.
And for Colin...13!
-This really is just a bit of fun.
Obviously in Atlanta, they've done this in a really rigorous way.
But I think what this does show us
-is that Mitch does value your attention.
So the old idea that dogs only like us
because we provide them with food...
Because we feed them, yeah...
..is probably thrown out of the window by these new studies.
That's very reassuring, actually! Yes.
A little bit surprised,
because a dog's stomach is kind of like his primary thought,
you'd imagine, but quite a few times,
he came straight to me.
I want Mitch to respond to me like he proper loves me.
I'm pleased he did that.
Colin and Mitch are making great progress.
But as the Yellows prepare to face their challenge,
one pair face a test of their patience.
Monty hurt his leg during the ghyll scramble.
And unfortunately, he's just not quite healed enough,
which is devastating.
It's a minor injury, but to be on the safe side,
Jake is sitting out the next challenge
and Monty is not taking the news well.
He's been pretty miserable actually.
Every time Monty sees them all going out,
wandering off together,
he starts whining and basically wants to get involved, so yeah,
we're really looking forward to getting back out there.
For the rest of the Yellows,
it's time to face their next challenge.
Just like paddleboarding,
it will test the strength of the trust between them.
Welcome to Brathay Woods. We've got another challenge for you.
It is a very, very difficult challenge.
We've got parkour.
Based on the urban sport of free running,
our canine parkour course takes in five different obstacles.
The dogs must place all four paws on the tree boards,
balance across a walkway, step up and down the tyre stack,
and climb the tree stump steps to the finish.
In order to try new things in an unfamiliar environment,
it's essential dogs view their owners as a secure base.
They'll be happy to venture away from you
if they know you'll be there when they return.
The idea of this is a spring-off -
so if you walk in the woods,
what would be the actual parkour run with this
-would be to spring off the tree trunk itself.
-So what we're doing at the moment
is giving the platform to lure him up to that.
-To understand how to do it.
Our duos will have half an hour to get used to the course...
Good boy! Clever boy!
..before they have to race against the clock...
Good girl! Yes, yes, yes!
..where the pair with the fastest time...
-..will get maximum points.
If you do that again...
-Oh, no... That's a free one, good boy!
What will they get out of this, in terms of the team, the partnership?
This is such a great way of enhancing your walks
when you take your dog for a walk,
and you can see all sorts of parkour obstacles,
whether it's a park bench
or you're out in the woods and there's a tree trunk.
For the dogs who are lacking in confidence,
they get to explore something that they were a bit worried about,
but in a way that they know is safe.
They're building that bond, building that understanding
that "My human is not going to ask me to do something
"that's going to scare me."
And it's good for people too.
Studies are starting to suggest
that when we positively engage with our dogs...
Good boy, Doug!
..and have sustained eye contact with them...
Let's try it again.
..humans AND dogs experience an increase in oxytocin levels.
Good boy! Clever dog.
Sometimes called the love hormone,
it's more commonly associated
with building trust between a parent and infant...
..and plays a key role in reinforcing a healthy bond.
So what we're going to do is set Douglas up
to try and walk across the planks here.
You've got to introduce it really carefully.
Two of our pairs are picking up parkour pretty quickly...
Doug, round here, please? Dougie?
Currently close to the top of the leaderboard,
27-year-old Josh from Devon
and two-year-old Labrador/springer spaniel cross Doug
are feeling at home in the woods.
I'm feeling really good about this challenge.
Without knowing it, I think he does this stuff anyway,
he jumps up on logs when he's not on the lead and things like that,
so it's just keying into a cue to do it.
Go! Good girl! Up, up!
Frontrunners Badger and her dog, Bodger, are acing it.
I think we will nail it.
It's just whether or not she can just control her speed
and just keeping her focused and not...
Bodger is now digging a hole.
Have you finished?
But one pair are struggling.
Wait. Are we going to do a narrow one?
Shall we try the narrower one? Come here. Zuri, come here.
Walk? Up, up... Come here...
Come here... Sausages!
Currently in last place,
the challenges so far have made Daisy question whether
there's something missing from her relationship with Zuri.
I find comfort in her, but not the other way round,
because when friends and family look after her, you know,
no-one ever said that, you know, she missed me.
You know, she'd just settle in as if, you know,
she's home with whoever she's staying with...
LAUGHTER AND GROANING
From what Sian's seen so far, she suspects that this may be
because of a lack of trust between the pair.
Last time, Daisy couldn't talk her dog into taking a dip.
OK, we lost that one.
And having been unable to take part in the cycling,
they're yet to complete a challenge.
Sometimes, you've used food to get her to do something
she doesn't want to do, or she's scared of doing.
So there's a slight element of, "I don't trust you.
"When you put food in front of my nose,
"it's because you're going to make me do something."
-So we just need to turn that around a little bit.
-Yes, we do.
I'm willing to change, I will do anything.
Canine parkour is a great chance
for them to take their bond back to basics.
Ah, that's cheating, isn't it?
That's taking two leaps in one go.
And Sian thinks that by using toys as a reward, instead of food,
Daisy can show Zuri that new things can be fun.
Since they've got here,
we've been trying to rebuild Zuri's trust in Daisy,
so that when Daisy asks her to do something,
Zuri believes it's going to be fun, it's going to be rewarding.
She'll pick up those skills faster.
Zuri's got it! Oh, can I have it?
Yeah, Zuri, so lovely! Yes, what's this?
The better Zuri does, the more rewards she receives,
which increases the incentive to do well.
Called a positive feedback loop,
it will help strengthen the trust between them.
The other challenges haven't gone really well, so I'm hopeful today,
Zuri will actually complete the whole challenge.
Next, a race against the clock.
At stake, a chance to get points on the board.
OK, who's first up?
Josh and Douglas are going to go first.
I think the one we find a bit more tricky is the walk along the plank.
He seems to get the idea that going halfway and jumping off
and looking at me is a better idea.
That'll be the potential banana skin, I think.
On your marks, get set...
Come on, Doug! Up, up, up! Keep looking.
Cheered on by their fellow competitors,
first obstacle for Josh and Doug, the balance beam.
If one paw touches the ground,
it's back to the beginning.
Next, the tree boards...
Up, up, up!
..where all four paws need to make contact.
-Oh, that was very nicely done there.
And up, up, up! Good boy, good boy!
He's just flying.
Next, it's the tyre stack,
and Douglas must place at least one paw on each level of the obstacle.
Right, no, wait, wait, wait.
He's missed it.
It's not straightforward, is it?
It's not that they've just got to run in front of a bike, one job.
Here, they've got to do five consecutively,
and they are all different.
No, wait. Up, up, up!
That's it, slow it down, slow it down.
-Can he get straight up on it?
-Oh, yes, look at that.
-Look at that.
-Look at that.
-So, that was good.
-Only one fail,
and he slowed him down and got it to work.
Oh, you've got a time to beat now.
Currently leading the Yellows, next up, it's Badger and Bodger.
Really want to build on what we did yesterday,
because I didn't think we'd win.
So, there's a bit of pressure to perform.
I think the hardest obstacle is probably
just to control her giddiness, as I call it,
because she just does everything at a million miles an hour,
so trying to keep her calm enough.
Bodger, Bodger, calm down!
-Are you happy, Badger?
-Yeah, I think so.
-Is Bodger happy?
Is she steady, though? That's what we'll find out.
OK, well, let's find out.
Badger was really worried about this,
Bodger was jumping off it.
That's it, good girl!
Up! Good girl, that was really high!
She's so good at this.
This one, up! Good girl.
That's good, that's good.
A little bit of frustration that she's not paying attention to her.
-She's too excited.
No, jumped off.
Bodger, too, has missed a step.
She'll have to do that one again.
Up! And down, come on.
-That's it, that's it.
-That's it, nicely done.
On! Good girl!
OK, here she goes.
-Spot-on, well done.
for Badger and Bodger -
that's over ten seconds slower than Josh and Doug.
Sian, what was going on there?
She wasn't concentrating as hard as she might have been.
I think actually the nerves got to them a little bit.
It's a shame.
It seems Bodger was picking up on some of Badger's nerves
and was focused more on her owner than the obstacles.
We were a little disappointed,
because we did so much better in the training,
but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
Daisy and Zuri are up next.
If the toy training has paid off,
this could be the first time in the contest
they'll complete a challenge.
Zuri's attention is on me, she can totally do everything.
-Let's wait and see.
-OK, are you ready?
-I'm ready. Are you ready?
Come on, then, up!
Come on, then, up!
Flawless work so far.
-Can they keep it up?
-Come on, then.
Not only have they made it to the finish line,
they are the first pair to produce a perfect run.
That was superb.
It was, and having struggled on some of our other challenges,
it's lovely to see them shine.
I can't believe how good she was.
She was amazing.
It's a clear improvement in the trust between Daisy and Zuri.
But were they the fastest around the course?
Coming into the race, Badger and Bodger led the Yellows,
with Josh and Douglas close behind.
Now the pairs will be ranked and awarded points based on their time.
In third place...
..Badger and Bodger.
I know you did it better in training,
but when you collected her up after a mistake on one of the obstacles...
The rest of the round was clear,
and a really nice display of the bond that you've got,
once she was able to stop being quite so anxious,
and I think, perhaps, you took a bit of a deep breath on there as well.
In second place, and a full ten seconds faster,
Josh and Douglas.
And in first place, therefore, Daisy and Zuri.
Isn't this a turnaround?
What was so impressive about you today was
you were enabling her to realise that this was going to be fun,
and to get rewards for you,
rather than you trying to get her to do things
and, sort of, not succeeding.
So, really, well done.
So, Badger and Bodger, you had seven,
you picked up two there,
which gives you a total of nine points.
Josh and Douglas, you've got three here for coming second,
which means you are on nine points, too.
Jake and Monty didn't compete, sadly, today,
so let's put three points back up there.
And Daisy and Zuri, you started with two points, but now you've got four,
which brings you up to six.
-Well done, everybody.
You're back in the running!
That was absolutely amazing. She just did it beautifully.
It takes time, you know, for me and her to communicate
a little bit better
and to trust each other more, you know?
We just need to work together and build on that trust.
Daisy and Zuri are making good progress.
But one pair are frustrated with their performance.
She's very focused on me
and she still gets a little bit agitated
when she's not sure what I want her do.
So she gets a bit, sort of, mouthy and...
Yeah, I think she's definitely finding her inner collie.
36-year-old web designer Badger
has had collie/cocker spaniel cross Bodger for two years.
They share a strong emotional connection.
I suppose I hadn't realised that, just like with a person, I suppose,
you have to build that relationship together.
And now, we're, like, so close.
But at times in the contest so far,
their closeness has actually worked against them.
Bodger, go on, go on. Run, run, run! Run, run, run!
Bodger is so tuned in to Badger on an emotional level
that if Badger's anxious, Bodger picks up on that,
and that impacts on what she can do,
because her focus is on what Badger is doing
rather than on the task in hand.
Dr Emily Blackwell thinks
she can help Badger understand what is going on.
She's going to use a simple test
to show her just how much Bodger tunes in to her emotions.
So, Emily, what are we going to be testing with Badger and Bodger here?
We're going to look at how when Badger shows
a different response to an object, Bodger picks up on that.
So we are going to get Badger to artificially show
a different emotional response to two objects.
To one of them, Badger's going to show complete disgust,
and to the other one, she's going to show joy.
We know that dogs can read our facial expressions.
Absolutely, they're masters at it.
There is a biological explanation. If you are a social species
and another member of your group looks as if
they are throwing up over something that they are eating,
you don't really want to go and eat that.
So, if Bodger really is in tune with her owner's feelings,
she should go for the positive ball
more often than the one associated with disgust.
Hannah, do you want to show us how to express disgust and joy?
As you see, there's the tone of voice
and the expression on her face, OK?
I think, really camp it up.
Think you're in Carry On Badger And Bodger.
We really want to see, sort of, theatrical disgust and joy.
They'll perform the test 12 times...
..swapping the emotions left and right,
to counteract any side preference the dog might have.
Good girl, Bodger.
What Bodger is demonstrating is called social referencing,
and it suggests that dogs have evolved
not only to read our emotions,
but to change their behaviour in response.
One study suggests that it goes even further than that.
I could really see her looking at me, then.
Scientists tested dogs' saliva
both before and after playing it the sound of a human baby crying.
You see, humans respond to that crying by releasing cortisol,
a stress hormone, and remarkably, dogs do the same.
Some scientists believe this is evidence of emotional contagion -
that dogs don't just read our emotions,
they replicate them.
-Happy, on your left.
It seems that generations spent living alongside us
has carved a unique bond between us and our dogs.
They have evolved to understand us so well,
they are actually affected by how we feel.
I think she's picking up on signals.
Good girl, you're very clever!
Now, there were only 12 trials.
Under normal circumstances, you would conduct many more.
We'd do a lot more, yes. This is just a snapshot.
So, we did an equal number of each on either side,
and it does appear that twice as many times,
she went for the happy ball.
Do you know what I like most about this experiment?
It's something that anyone can try.
-In their living room or back garden.
I've tried it on numerous occasions, I've got to say,
and they go for the happy face, they go for the joy, the high pitch,
-that sort of thing.
In the future, to help Bodger keep calm,
Badger will need to manage her own feelings
so she doesn't pass on stress or anxiety to her dog.
I'm not surprised that she went for the good one,
because she does always want to please me.
Everything we do, she's always looking at me for direction.
The fact that she did go for the nice one
twice as many times is really interesting.
So she does know when I'm happy.
At the end of a busy day,
there's a chance for the pairs to reflect.
Get off, no!
What's great here is we've got a chance to try things
that we never normally would get to try.
Something's sunk in between the two of us, and, you know,
it looks like we can enjoy more things together, which is fantastic.
So, something is sinking in. Not just crashing around everywhere!
All the dogs that did the agility this morning,
or the parkour, whatever, I was surprised
how quick they picked it up,
and it shows you that maybe they've got a bit more than you think!
I think I have learnt a lot.
It's been interesting at every turn seeing what Douglas can do.
Having a dog makes you realise that kind of click that you do have,
and when it says man's best friend,
you realise how much of a bond you can build up.
So, yeah, it's really interesting, I've learned loads.
Because of where we were, I would never, ever let Zuri off lead
in an environment like that,
because I did it once and she disappeared for hours.
She was off doing parkour!
She was practising!
It's a new day in the Lake District.
And our pairs are about to face the ultimate challenge,
designed to test the all-important trust between them.
As things stand, in the Yellows,
Badger and Bodger and Josh and Doug are edging ahead.
Whilst in the Reds, there's little to separate all four pairs.
They've all been summoned to the summit of Loughrigg Fell.
Standing at over 1,000 feet,
its rocky outcrops and rough terrain
make it the perfect setting for today's challenge.
We've certainly got a challenge for them today
and it's designed to enhance,
to explore and to seal the bonds that they've got with their dog.
But it's going to be really tough physically,
on the humans and on the dogs.
They're going to be battling their capabilities,
there's no doubt about that whatsoever,
and looking over there, looks like they're going to be
battling the forces of nature, too.
You are at the sub-summit of Loughrigg Fell.
Today is all about running.
Absolutely. Now, running with your dog is a great way
of building that bond, and remember,
it's all about that partnership, it's all about that communication,
and we are going to see what progress you've made.
But we also want to see you joined to your dogs mentally as well.
This is about enhancing that bond, exploring it and expanding it.
Now, this challenge is no ordinary cross-country run.
Our pairs will race 2.5km
across a rocky mountaintop track that takes in treacherous bog,
sharp inclines and steep descents,
and they'll do the whole thing tethered together.
The official name for running whilst harnessed to your dog is canicross,
and national champion Cushla Lamen will be getting our pairs set up.
Make sure it's not sliding round the body too much that way.
First step is to securely fit the harness.
A straightforward task for most.
Not so simple for Andrew and Betty.
Though they run together regularly,
the prospect of this challenge is bringing back some painful memories.
I'm still having to teach Betty about the harness,
cos she does have a phobia of the harness.
So it takes me a while to get it on her,
so she feels comfortable.
When Betty was very young, we had a bit of an accident.
Well, it was more my accident.
It was one of the first times we had properly gone out,
the first time she was in a harness,
and I stepped back and trod on her and broke her leg.
It was the most horrendous howl I've ever heard.
Just picking her up and she's just crying, crying in your arms.
She still reminds me that she doesn't like the harness,
and I think she still associates it with the accident.
But luckily, she's all mended and she's forgiven me.
And it's great, you've got a running buddy that's actually al...
..always up for it!
Boo! Wake up!
-So next time, when you present it,
-if you present it so that it's facing her...
-The right way.
..so that she's going to stick her head through there.
Using a technique borrowed from human psychology,
..Betty can unlearn her fear of the harness.
That's what you want. If I were you, the next one,
I would just slip it over her head, and then we'll get it done up.
-Well done, Andrew. That's lovely.
Tethered together, next up for the pairs
is a practice lap of the lake.
Go! Zuri, left!
Oh, this is boggy!
With canicross, we can see the connection between them,
we can see that they have the level of trust,
they are physically joined together.
The dogs have to trust the humans enough
to be able to run out in front confidently,
not looking back to see what their owners are doing,
listening to verbal cues, if they're needed, to give them direction.
The Reds are separated by just one point,
so it's all to play for,
and which dog takes best to running in front will be key.
Flapjack finds it hard, the concept of running ahead.
What I really, really need, actually, is the smell of a rabbit,
he'll go for that.
Tow me along!
Come on, go, go, go!
In the Yellows, it's a chance for Daisy and Zuri
to build on their success in the parkour.
With Zuri pulling me, I feel like I'm actually running,
because my definition of running
is just slightly faster than power walk.
I was actually running!
I'm feeling quite excited, actually.
Keep pushing, Doug, good boy!
Joint Yellow leaders
Badger and Bodger and Josh and Douglas
will be vying for maximum points.
I'm feeling ready. It's good for Doug,
cos it's the pace he wants to go at, I think, so, um, yeah,
we're up here and this is just exactly what we're here for.
We'd love to win. We'll try our very best.
Reds and Yellows will run together,
with four points on offer for the fastest in each group.
It will test everything they've learnt so far
about clear communication
and the trust it takes to run in sync at speed.
Guys, the weather's closed in,
I'm actually rather envious of you, now,
because you're going to be able to run to stay warm.
Do come with us!
Everyone, go out there, have fun.
Remember that partnership,
but also that communication and that bond with each other.
-So, are you ready to go? ALL:
On your marks, get set...
-Come on, Zuri, go!
-Good luck, guys.
XXX Oh, my - hellfire! Don't trip anyone!
Let's go, Doug! Let's go, Doug!
-Look at Josh and Douglas at the front there.
-Out in front.
Andrew and Betty as well, of course,
but they run together all the time, don't they, really?
We're miles ahead, Josh.
Easy, Doug, easy, Doug! Come round, mate.
Yellow pair Josh and Doug looked very in sync
during the practice lap, and they are off to a flying start.
Dougie, good boy, mate!
Now, they are seasoned running partners,
but how well Red pair Andrew and Betty do here
depends on how successfully they handle the harness.
Good girl, Betty. Good girl, Betty.
Good girl, Betty. Good girl!
Andrew likes to chase, so I have a feeling
he's going to be drafting off Josh and Douglas,
then he's going to go for a final sprint at the finish, I reckon.
Bodger's the next one behind.
I thought that would happen.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
Second Yellow behind Josh and Doug,
this will be a real test of whether Badger can keep her nerves in check,
so that Bodger is secure enough to run in front.
That's it, go, go!
Having always run to heel, Mitch struggled in the bike race,
but paddleboarding proved they're building a new level of trust,
and he's getting the hang of running in front of Colin.
Also demonstrating their growing confidence in each other...
Come on, then!
..Daisy and Zuri have made a strong start.
Bodger, Bodger! Steady, steady, steady!
The steep descents are tricky.
The dogs will need too slow down
to avoid pulling over their less nimble two-legged companions.
Good girl, go, go!
We often let our dogs off the lead
because they can run faster than we do,
but the rewards of running
are biologically hard-wired into us both.
Come on, then!
A study from the University of Arizona found
that canines and humans alike experience a runner's high,
a neurobiological buzz that means, despite the high calorific cost,
both species run because it feels good.
Good girl, that's it!
Badger and Bodger are holding on to a good lead
over fellow Yellows Daisy and Zuri.
Colin and Mitch are slipping down the field...
-Are you all right, Colin?
Yeah, I'm fine.
..and are passed by Red pair Ellie and Benny.
And at the moment, we've got Toni and Flapjack at the back.
But this could be tortoise and hare!
Stamina is important. It's not a sprint.
It is, and I think some people set off just that little bit too fast.
They're not going to be able to keep it going.
After their strong start,
Daisy and Zuri are struggling to keep up the pace...
..and slow to a power walk.
I can't run any more.
Daisy and Zuri aren't the only ones who haven't paced themselves.
Come on, Mitch. Good lad!
Ellie and Benny slip back behind Red rivals Colin and Mitch.
Come on! Hey, Toni, you all right?
And Toni and Flapjack push them even further down the field.
Josh and Douglas are on their way back round already.
-Oh, my goodness, look! So they are.
-They really are out in front.
They're well ahead of the others already.
Three minutes for that first lap.
Leading the Red pack, and having learned from the paddleboarding,
Andrew's doing a great job
of keeping Betty reassured in the harness.
Good girl, Betty! Good girl!
Here they come, here they come.
They are giving Yellow leaders Josh and Doug a run for their money.
I can't keep this up for long!
Second place Yellows Badger and Bodger
are looking calm and comfortable.
Jack, this way.
Behind them, Colin and Toni are battling for second place
in the Red group and a valuable three points.
Hang on a minute, Jackie.
Go on, go on!
But Mitch is up to his old tricks.
Colin can't seem to get him to push out in front.
He's reverted to his more normal position of being alongside.
Come on, lad! You're making things really difficult.
Toni seizes her chance and pushes past Colin.
Come on, Mitch! Come on, then!
Come on, Doug. Come on, mate. Dougie!
Josh and Doug and Andrew and Betty are both on course
to win maximum points in their groups.
But it's a matter of pride.
He hasn't got that bit of the route, has he?
-Josh and Douglas are out front, and really close.
It's the final climb to the finish line,
and it looks like Josh and Doug are holding on.
Come on, Doug! Dougie, let's go!
Oh, I don't believe that!
Come on, good girl!
Go on, Betty, good girl!
-Here he comes.
-Oh! Boo, come here...
And first for the Yellows!
Keep going through.
-Well done, mate.
-Sorry about that. Oh, man!
-Doug, come here, mate. You're so clever.
He was leading the whole way until the last 20 metres.
-I'm so sorry, you slipped at the end!
-Doug just got caught up.
-Boy, those boys were fast!
-That was a great performance.
-If you look at them now,
there's exhaustion on all four faces, I think.
-Bodger, steady, steady, steady!
-Come on, Bodger!
Badger and Bodger stay the course...
Pull me up there, Bodger.
..and take second place in the Yellows.
Come on, Mitch, push!
Where are we going? Come this way!
Having fought back valiantly all the way from last place,
it looks like Red pair Toni and Flapjack
will also have three points in the bag.
-Here come Colin and Mitch, though, not far behind.
Mitch leads Colin up the final climb.
-Go on, Mitch!
-A few more metres.
Toni and Flapjack, they are such champs.
You overtook me, I didn't think you were going to get me!
-I really didn't.
-It was our time to get you, after the paddleboarding.
Some of the time, I was actually pulling Mitch ahead,
so that synergy and communication didn't work.
Ellie and Benny push themselves all the way to the finish.
-Well done, Ellie!
Come on, Zuri, come on, Daisy!
-Come on, Zuri!
-A few more metres.
Daisy and Zuri cross the line - exhausted, but still together.
-Well done, guys.
-Well done, well done.
All our pairs have finished the race,
and it's a testament to the strength of the trust between them.
Yeah, I think she's appreciating that I'm actually spending
a bit more time looking after her psychologically,
having to get her into the harness and get her calm and collected,
because she is still very nervous.
And it sort of paid off today,
she properly put a storming little run in.
The most difficult part was me being not as fit as I should be.
But he kind of paced himself to me, which is quite impressive.
I just had to say, "Hang on a bit," and he'd just give it a bit less,
and down the hills, I'd say, "Wait, cos you'll pull me over,"
and he was really good, I'm really proud.
I didn't set off too fast at all,
I absolutely know that you have to start off slowly,
and I stayed right at the back,
I didn't want to get caught up in all the testosterone at the front,
so I let that go on ahead, and then started overtaking quietly.
Bodger was so perfect, so perfect.
She was out the front the whole way.
I think we communicate on another level.
I'm actually a very proud dog owner today. Very proud.
You did so well, Bodger.
This final test has clearly brought all our pairs closer together.
But what does it mean for the scores?
Here we are, then, drier and warmer, no longer panting and sweating!
But it was great fun. No human or dog shamed themselves.
Absolutely not - in fact,
there were some really great examples of how far you've all come.
Picking up with Josh and Douglas,
I think you were desperately unlucky,
and the thing for me is that neither of you have ever done this before,
and Douglas really took to that,
and the pair of you were working together.
Colin and Mitch, you know,
we know that this is a real challenge for you two.
We're asking him to do something
which goes against years of his training.
I think it's a real indicator of how far your relationship has come.
OK, time to put some scores on the board.
Let's go with the Red team first.
Ellie and Benny, you started off with eight points,
you scored one today, which brings you up to
a very respectable nine points.
Andrew and Betty, you were on seven, but of course,
you are our winners today, four points for you,
which brings you up to 11 points here.
Then we've got Colin and Mitch.
Started on seven, picked up two,
which means that you two are in nine point position.
And lastly, Toni and Flapjack,
you had eight points, you picked up three,
which puts you on 11, too.
Yes, yes, yes!
Moving over to the Yellows here.
Now, Badger and Bodger, you were on nine points,
you picked up three today,
which means you have a total of 12 points.
Josh and Douglas, on nine, picked up four today,
which means you are on 13 points.
Jake and Monty, they were standing out again today, unfortunately,
so they remain on their three points here.
And Daisy and Zuri, you picked up two points today,
which means you've got eight points on the board.
It's still all to play for.
It's going to be interesting to see who gets through.
As things stand,
Josh and Douglas and Badger and Bodger
are in pole position,
with strong contenders Toni and Flapjack
and Andrew and Betty close behind.
Daisy and Zuri, Ellie and Benny
and Colin and Mitch
may be bringing up the rear,
but the fight is not over
for a place in the final.
We're halfway through now.
It is really competitive.
I'm desperate to do better,
and I hope, for the sake of this competition,
for the sake of me and Mitch,
that we can prove ourselves as a team.
Yeah, I'm really pleased.
There's things I never thought he would be able to do, ever,
but he's just picked stuff up so quickly,
I can't believe how bright he is, I'm amazed.
I think I am developing a good bond with my dog.
He's very loyal, he's there for me.
He looked over his shoulder today and went,
"Am I going a bit fast, love? All right, I'll slow down."
And he stayed with me. Very nice of him!
Don't be rude!
Come on, Doug, let's go, mate.
..our pairs will take their relationships to the next level,
as our owners explore the world from their dogs' point of view.
Oh, my God, Doug!
Half will follow their noses in scent-based orienteering...
Is it there? Clever girl!
..and the rest will get down and dirty in a canine obstacle course...
If crawling through a ditch and a bog
doesn't show how much you love your dog at this stage,
I do not know what does!
-Yes, I agree, I agree!
Yes, I agree!
..before an open water swim will help decide
which pairs win a place in the final...
She's on his shoulders!
..and who is out of their depth.