Chris Packham hosts as owners and their dogs compete. This episode's challenges are all designed to test the owners' ability to immerse themselves in their dog's world.
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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.
Really 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 is now nine.
Flapjack's beauty, and my brains,
we should make quite a winning combination.
This way, this way, this way...! Flapjack!
Over the course of the contest,
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 will compete in a series of challenges...
Let's 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.
-Good girl, Bodger.
So far in the contest...
I'm not fit enough, Jack, just hang on, hang on!
..our pairs have been putting their partnerships to the test.
Zuri, come on.
Split into two groups, the Reds and the Yellows,
they've taken part in challenges to improve their communication...
Your voice praise was fantastic.
You're such a clever boy. Good...
..and test the level of trust between them.
Good boy, Mitch.
Last time, the Reds had to find their sea legs
in stand-up paddleboarding...
Betty, will you stop falling in?
..and a breakthrough for Colin and Mitch saw them triumph.
Doing things like this together,
it's got to be strengthening the bond - it's got to be.
The Yellows tackled canine parkour...
..which underdogs Daisy and Zuri won in style.
That was absolutely amazing. She just did it beautifully.
Then, in the ultimate test of trust...
..our duos faced a tethered cross-country run.
Bodger, Bodger! Steady, steady, steady!
Daisy and Zuri and Ellie and Benny struggled to stay the course...
I can't run any more.
..while Andrew and Betty and Josh and Douglas
ran away with maximum points.
-Go on, Betty.
Those boys were fast.
We're halfway through the contest,
and our contenders are waking up to a new set of challenges
that will determine who could win a place in our final.
Humans and dogs have been living together
for thousands of years.
We started in a draughty cave - we've now moved into
a centrally heated semidetached.
And throughout the course of that time,
we've co-evolved with dogs.
But if you and I as individuals want to maximise the relationship
that we have with our dog,
we've got to immerse ourselves into the dog's world.
We've got to see it, smell it, and feel it like they do.
Then we can maximise the bond that we have with them.
Isn't that right?
This time, our owners will be tested
on how successfully they can understand the world
from their dog's point of view
and tap into their innate abilities.
-How has he been today?
Having missed two challenges because of a small injury...
That's fine, there.
..37-year-old Jake and his labradoodle Monty...
Looks great, all ready to go.
..are back in the running.
Right, come on, then, let's go.
I'm happy that Monty has been given a clean bill of health.
It's nice to be back with the lads and lasses.
It's great. You know, it was hard, being away.
For the Winchester-based pair,
taking part in the contest means a great deal.
We've been a team since he was seven weeks old.
So we come as a pair.
I thought, "Well, he's nine,
"that means I've only got a few, sort of,
"really top-quality years left."
I've got to try and fit in as much as possible
and create some memories that are going to be really long-lasting
and a bit of a legacy, so that I can look back with thanks and positivity
for the fact he was here and I had him.
At the beginning of the contest,
our eight pairs were split into two groups.
Right now, Yellows Josh and Douglas and Badger and Bodger
are opening up a lead over the other two pairs.
Whilst in the Reds, there's just two points between all four of them.
With top-scoring pairs securing a place in the final,
there's a lot at stake,
and the Yellows have the first chance
to get more points on the board.
-Hello and welcome. ALL:
Look at all those smiles.
Jake and Monty, welcome back.
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-Thank you very much.
-Nice to see you, nice to see you back.
Now, look, you've got three points, but it's still to play for.
There are 12 points still available.
-You can do the maths. It's still within your reach.
You've all heard of orienteering, yeah?
Running around the countryside with a map and a compass?
Well, we've come up with caniteering.
But instead of having a compass,
the tool that you're going to be using is your dog's nose.
In this challenge, the Yellows
will have to navigate
a six square-kilometre woodland course
and uncover four carefully concealed boxes containing cheese.
They'll be relying on their dogs' noses to track them down.
Harnessing the power of your dog's nose is just incredible.
So, when we teach people to track with their dogs,
everyone goes, "Oh, my dog doesn't track."
They absolutely do. They are using their nose
all the time.
Before they race, the Yellows have the chance
to try and tune into their dog's noses.
Lovely! Good girl, well done.
Most owners aren't used to working with their dog's sense of smell,
but it can enhance your understanding
of what makes them tick.
Tapping into their innate abilities can help keep your dog in shape,
both physically and mentally.
It's a really good task to see how a dog perceives the world
cos scent is one of the things we can't see a dog doing.
Nothing I've ever thought of training -
most dog owners haven't thought of training.
So it's a good opportunity to have my eyes opened
to how a dog, kind of, perceives things.
Dogs use their noses to navigate the world around them
and they have an exceptional sense of smell.
Some scientists estimate that around a third of a dog's brain
is involved in smelling.
They can be trained to sniff out everything
from explosives to cancer cells to people trapped in avalanches.
Today, our dogs just have to find some cheese.
-I think she thought you said "sit".
Zuri! Come on, then, go! This way, come.
So far in the contest, Daisy's been working hard
to get her three-year-old Samoyed, Zuri, to trust her.
Come on, then, Zuri.
It paid off with a win in the canine parkour
that put them in third place in the Yellows.
That was absolutely amazing.
I had so much fun.
And I think Zuri enjoyed it, as well.
If they're going to secure another victory here,
this time, Daisy will need to trust her dog
and tune into Zuri's instincts.
So do you think she's using her nose yet?
I think she is using her nose a little bit.
Not as much as I hoped she would.
So what do you think her using her nose looks like?
I don't know, actually.
You're looking for little vibrations around her nostrils
that show that she's taking things in.
You're looking for her either having her nose up
because she's air scenting,
or her nose down on the floor.
Go sniff, go sniff - good girl.
I never really pay much notice, you know,
when she's sniffing around, because to me,
I don't think she's sniffing around that much,
so I'm quite surprised that she found the cheese every time.
Good girl! Yay!
Anyone can scent-train their dog.
Let your dog watch you hide a treat in a cardboard box,
then choose a command, like "find it".
Bodger, come on - find it.
Reward them when they go to the box.
Next time, add more boxes, don't let them see
which box the treat goes in,
and reward them when they select the correct box.
Then repeat the game.
With so many points to make up, the pressure's on Jake and Monty.
But they're quickly getting the hang of it.
Well, I hope I'm going to do all right at this task.
When it comes down to it, I know he likes cheese.
Are you ready, Monty? Are you ready?
Born ready. Come on.
Prep time over. And with the Reds watching on...
-Jackie, could you...?
-He's barking with anger that he's not allowed to go and eat cheese.
Come on, Doug, let's go.
..Josh and Douglas will be the first to race.
So, here's your map, Josh.
We are here on this headland at the moment.
-And your first position you've got to find is down here.
-Are you ready?
On your marks, get set...go.
Come on, Doug. Come on, let's go.
Well, he seemed to set off with a sense of purpose.
Current leaders of the Yellows
Josh and Labrador-springer spaniel cross Doug
are proving themselves the ones to watch.
Come on, Doug, let's go, mate.
Here, they have a map to guide them to a general area...
Good boy, let's go, let's go, let's go.
..where it will be down to Doug to sniff out the hidden box.
Come on, then, sniff.
The pair that find the most boxes in the fastest time
will get maximum points,
and they're being set off at staggered intervals.
Good luck, mate, go.
Keen to get back into contention, next up, it's Jake and Monty.
He's headed off really, really quickly, hasn't he?
-But then this isn't just about speed.
-Because he's got to get the boxes to get the points.
-If he misses a box, doesn't matter how fast he is.
Sniff, sniff, sniff.
Josh and Doug find the first box in two-and-a-half minutes.
Good boy! Clever boy! What's this, then?
As well as cheese, the box also contains another map
indicating the approximate position of the next box.
Dougie, let's go.
This box is then reloaded, ready for the next pair.
Have you got it?
Jake and Monty track down box one 30 seconds faster
than Josh and Doug.
OK, on your marks, get set...go.
-Come on, then.
Next, the current third-placed Yellow pair,
Daisy and Zuri.
-She seems pretty confident that she knows where the first spot is.
Daisy learned to look for Zuri actually using her nose.
Hopefully she'll trust her and, together, they'll get to the end.
But moments after setting off, Daisy takes a wrong turn.
Come on, then, we need to look for this cheese.
It's got to be over there.
If they stray too far off course,
even the best nose in the world won't stand a chance.
-X marks the spot of the first box that you've got to get to.
Should you choose to accept it on your mission.
Just a point behind Josh and Doug, last to set off
are Badger and her collie-springer spaniel cross, Bodger.
The Yorkshire pair have a strong bond
that goes beyond companionship.
One of the reasons I'm such an active person
is because of the Tourette's.
When I'm engaged in a sporty activity,
I never tic at all.
But so far in the contest, Bodger's need for reassurance
has sometimes held them back.
She's too excited.
They've been working hard to control it
and have managed to get themselves into contention for the lead.
We'd love to win. We'll try our very best.
The pair set off fast, following Bodger's nose.
Sian, what we expect our teams to get out of this challenge?
Scent-work provides so much for dogs and humans.
I'm really hoping that they're going to learn to work together,
they're going to harness their dogs' natural abilities.
It's a great form of mental stimulation.
I can tire my dog out in about 15 minutes of scent-work
and he'll sleep for hours afterwards.
So it's a great way of occupying them if you haven't got time
to take them for a second walk that day.
Oh, you've found it!
That was very fast.
There you go.
And it's not just mental stimulation -
they'll get an endorphin release, and a positive mood booster, too.
It's something I recommend for every single dog owner.
-You can do it indoors.
-I do all the time.
Is that it? Is that it? Yeah?
Jake and Monty have found the second box.
They're speeding around the course.
Right then, Mont - let's go.
It's all a bit of a guess.
Josh is having problems finding the search area
for box number three.
Doug? Come here, then.
But Doug's nose steers them back on track.
Oh, my God, Doug!
Good boy. Good puppy, good puppy...
What I like about dogs' noses
is the fact that those two little slits up the side of the nose
are all about their ability to smell.
Because when they've got their nose down,
they're breathing in through their nostrils,
and they're blowing the air out of their lungs,
which they've already sniffed, back away from them,
using those little slits.
-I mean, they're perfect smelling machines.
Amazingly, dogs' noses are so sophisticated,
they even use each nostril differently.
They use their right nostril
for new smells, sending more signals
to the right part of the brain.
But if it's a familiar smell,
they'll switch to the left nostril,
and that will be processed
by the left part of the brain.
Separating the smells like this
allows the dog to build up a "smellscape"
and may even pinpoint the direction the smells are coming from,
which is particularly helpful when they're tracking a scent.
-Oh, is that it?
It's working for Bodger.
She's guided them to the first two boxes
in less than seven minutes.
Bodger, come on.
Rock and roll. Hey!
Meanwhile, Daisy's gone completely off course.
I don't have no idea where it is.
I've walked through all the nettles and stuff.
Can we try over there? Shall we go for a look over there?
Daisy's lost. I don't know where this box is.
I can't read the map, I can't find it, so...
There's a lot of holes here.
Come on, then, Zuri.
Jake is having problems tracking down box three.
I've got no idea. I don't know.
It should be here, but I can't work it out
cos it's not here, clearly.
But Monty leads him by the nose.
Yeah! Good boy. Good boy.
And they're onto the hunt for the final box.
Right, find it.
Badger and Bodger are hot on their heels.
Have you found it?
With three pairs on course to find all four of the boxes...
Come on, Bodger!
..it's going to be a race to the finish.
Nearly there, Doug, doing well, mate.
With the clock ticking,
Josh and Doug are getting close to the final search area.
This way, mate. Doug, this way. Come on. Dougie?
-Come on, let's go.
It's got to be round here somewhere, mate.
Right on the top, I reckon.
He's dashed off towards the point
and gone straight past the area where the cheese is.
He's going to have to realise his mistake and come back.
It must be somewhere close.
This is costing him valuable minutes.
Might be up here, Doug.
Doug, it might be up here.
As Josh searches, Jake and Monty are closing in.
It must be up here somewhere.
Doug, what's this, then?
Sniff, sniff, sniff.
Oh, Doug, clever boy, very good.
There we are, stop the clock.
LAUGHTER AND CLAPPING
Doug, you're so clever, come here.
I was the weak link there. He was absolutely on the nose.
Fantastic. What a dog.
I'm astounded he was so quick. He's just been superb.
I can't believe anyone will be quicker than that,
cos he was straight in there, sniffed it straightaway.
Just one left.
Come on, it's this way. This way.
Jake leads to his dog to the search area
and Monty heads straight for the box.
-You found it?
-He's got it.
There we go, mate.
That's literally the most exercise I've done in about five years,
so I am cream-crackered.
He did all right. He did all right.
Bodger and Badger have kept up a fast pace.
But they, too, pass the final box.
I think we're overcomplicating it, Bodger.
Maybe we've just run straight past it, Bodger.
Having too much fun.
Oh, Bodger, it's here, look, here. Oh, dear.
Find it. Bodger, find it.
I don't know where it is. Bodger, it's in here somewhere.
Find it. Is it there?
Oh, it is - clever girl.
-That's it, Bodge.
You've had all the cheese out of there.
But she was absolutely perfect.
It was really good fun. But it was very hard.
Bodger was like a superstar.
As soon as she got in there, she was straight to it.
Barely had to say "find it", she was on it.
Three teams have crossed the finish line.
Come on, then.
But Daisy is still way off course.
How did we get in here? I don't even know how we got in here.
Shall we find at least one box, Zuri?
Having failed to track down any cheese,
they're just trying to find their way back.
-Had a lovely tour around the ground.
What's it like in Canada this time of year?
It's lovely! It's full of nettles.
I think, out of the two of us,
we are equally bad at navigating in any sort of area.
With everyone back safely,
it's time to find out which pair were fastest around the course.
Daisy, of course, you went away off piste,
so we didn't give you a timing cos you didn't complete the course.
Jake and Monty, 42 minutes and 02 seconds.
Between the top two, it was quite, quite close.
Josh and Douglas, 34.28.
Badger and Bodger...
Wow! No way!
-Bodger, you little star.
This is an exercise which I think is really beneficial for you two,
because it is about partnership,
but it's also about her working independently.
She's in charge about where this thing is
and where she wants to look.
So, well done.
Let's put the scores on the board.
Josh and Douglas, you picked up 3 for coming second,
which puts you on 16 points here.
Badger and Bodger picked up four,
so that means you, too, are on 16 points.
Tight at the top.
Daisy and Zuri, you picked up one today,
which means that you are on nine points.
Jake and Monty, you picked up two today,
and that means you are
on five points, there.
I'm absolutely amazed that we won. But I'm super-chuffed that we did.
Really chuffed. I'm so happy with Bodger.
It doesn't matter if I come last in every single challenge.
The main reason why I'm here
is I want to learn how to work with Zuri,
and she's definitely improving since I've been here.
Monty did his job.
Monty's really good at pretty much everything he turns his hand to.
You did all right, mate, didn't you?
You had lots of cheese.
Jake wants to find out as much as possible
about how his dog senses the world.
He's learned how Monty uses his nose to navigate.
Now, Dr Emma Blackwell
from the Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences
is going to show him the role the other senses play.
What we're going to look at first of all is whether he has a preference
for a particular type of colour,
then we're going to talk about how dogs perceive colour.
-So, what we've done is filled a box with his favourite toys,
tennis balls, but lots of different colours,
and then we're going to give him the choice and see which ones he picks.
When asked to select 12 balls from the box,
which colour will Monty take most of?
Have you got any ideas about what he might go for?
Well, I get these rubber balls for him,
and they're all primary colours,
and, generally speaking, he prefers the yellow and the blue ones.
Any idea why that is?
I don't know, no.
Monty's having a good old rummage to get the balls that he likes.
He seems to be selecting...
There's a blue one.
Oh, he's got a particular one there.
He's definitely picky, isn't he? Not just going for the first one.
Humans depend on their sight much more than dogs do.
We can generally focus on objects
as close as 7cm to our face.
But for dogs, anything closer than about 33cm is a blur.
But dogs make up for this in other ways.
More than twice as thick
as normal hair, when whiskers
come into contact with objects,
they transmit information to the follicle,
which is packed with nerves
Together with visual and olfactory information,
this enables a dog to navigate its immediate surroundings,
which is why it's never a good idea to trim your dog's whiskers.
They're there for a reason.
Monty is still busy making his selection.
And again - he's a tennis ball connoisseur, isn't he?
-He really is.
-He has particular favourites.
This is a fine vintage, this one.
So, we can see that Monty clearly has a favourite colour,
-and that colour is blue.
And I think that's to do with the way that dogs see colours.
We have three cones, or colour-sensitive cells,
in our eyes, that allow us to see red, green, and blue.
Dogs only have two, which allow them to see yellow and blue.
A dog's vision is similar to that
of a red-green colour-blind human.
They'll struggle to find a red ball on green grass.
So, very different to the way that we see it,
but we don't always appreciate that.
So, for Jake, there's a simple lesson to be learned.
-Blue toys from now on.
Knowing how dogs look at the world is important for the next challenge.
If caniteering was about understanding
how a dog uses its sense of smell,
the Reds' challenge will be about
tapping into how they use their sight.
For our next challenge, our teams are going to have to get down
and they're going to have to get dirty,
and, on that account, I can't help but imagine
that the dogs are going to enjoy it a lot more than the owners.
Welcome to the next challenge
and, again, it's about immersing yourself in the dog's world.
So you can strengthen that bond that you have with them,
we've got set up for you down here the muddy obstacle course -
with the emphasis on "muddy".
The objective is that you do it and then your dog does it afterwards
having just watched you do it.
Dogs watch their owners all of the time,
and they can learn just by looking.
It's a form of what's called imitative learning,
and the pairs will need to harness this natural ability
to encourage their dogs to tackle five different woodland obstacles.
The dogs will need to follow their owner's example
and crawl under a low frame,
climb over a ramp,
race through a tunnel,
balance on a bench,
and scramble through a very muddy ditch.
They'll need to show their dogs how to correctly complete each obstacle
with sufficient enthusiasm that they'll want to do the same.
The pair that completes the most obstacles in the fastest time
will get maximum points.
Oh, look! What a wonderful log.
Before they tackle the course...
..the Red pairs have a chance to try out
this imitative approach to training.
More than any other of our challenges,
this is very much about the owners needing to be in the dog's world,
in the dog's mind.
You engage with something,
your dogs will engage with something,
if you do it in a way that interests them.
By showing dogs that these are good things to be interested in,
we might be able to get the dogs to do the obstacle course
that we've set out for them.
Ooh! Nice log...
Currently joint leaders of the Reds,
Toni and three-year-old Labrador Flapjack share a natural enthusiasm.
Clever. Go - fantastic, good boy.
It's stood them in good stead so far and should serve them well here.
Toni and Flapjack are having a great time.
Oh, look at this tuft! What an amazing tuft.
But is Toni being silly enough, enthusiastic enough?
I'm a mad middle-aged woman stroking a tree!
I don't think we can ever fault Toni for being unenthusiastic.
I have to try and get inside Flapjack's head.
It's very difficult to know what Flapjack is thinking.
He's normally thinking about cheese.
It's going to be tough.
Benny, what's this?
Ellie and Benny are just two points behind the Red leaders,
but for these two, this challenge is a big ask.
He is going to have to trust me,
cos every time that I go through something,
I'll have to show him, "You know what, it's safe,
"we can go through it, it's fine."
"You've got to go through it on your own."
And that is pushing his independence out there.
Benny is a rescue dog
and Ellie has spent years earning his trust,
so convincing him to follow her example without their normal cues
will be tough.
If crawling through a ditch and a bog and mud
doesn't show how much you love your dog at this stage,
I do not know what does.
What's that? What's that?
Colin has been working hard
to change his traditional approach to training,
which has relied on Mitch's obedience to his commands.
Where's he gone? Where's he gone?
Asking Mitch to learn simply by watching him
is way out of their comfort zone.
Looking at how Colin and Mitch are getting on,
this requires a total mind shift for both of them.
Wow, wow, wow.
So far in the contest, Andrew's had to work hard
to rein in Border Terrier Betty.
Now, he needs to get on her wavelength
and harness her energy and enthusiasm.
This is amazing!
But he's struggling with this new technique.
She didn't understand the tree hugging.
This is amazing! It's absolutely great!
I think, probably, Betty picked up on the fact I was completely confused.
Practice over, and with a chance to get more points on the board,
first up, it's Toni and Flapjack.
Engage with it in a way that you think Flapjack will like.
That's the main thing.
-You're tapping into his brain.
-And the way he sees the world.
-Turn yourself into a piece of cheese.
-On your marks, get set...go.
Come on, Jackie, over we go, over we go, over we go. Right...
Toni needs to try
and think like Flapjack.
He should complete the task if he believes from watching her
that the activity itself will be rewarding.
Yes! Well done.
Skills - good skills, Flapjack.
Gosh, this is fantastic! Amazing, amazing, amazing...
Good boy. Good boy.
She's done everything to interest Flapjack.
So far, Toni's eagerness is paying off.
That's two out of two.
Flapjack, the next part of this excitement
is me going backwards like this.
SHE HUMS MERRILY
Oh, my God, how long is this thing?
So exciting, Flapjack! You can't...
Go, go, go!
OK, Flapjack, good boy, good boy. Good boy.
Thank you for cleaning my face. Thank you, thank you...
Good boy, you are so clever.
He's done it.
So, Flapjack, this looks really good fun.
Having conquered four out of four, can she now enthuse him enough
to follow her through the muddy ditch?
I can't think of anything I'd like to do more.
This is really lovely, Flapjack - yum, yum, yum.
She's constantly communicating with him.
She's immersed herself -
literally immersed herself - in his world.
Now, will the dog go through the mud
because its highly excitable owner has just gone through the mud?
I know what mine would do...
They'd do that - they'd just run round the side.
You're such a good boy.
She's down in its world, there's no question about that at all.
Flapjack, yes, you're so sensible.
Good boy, this way, this way, this way.
Flapjack, let's go.
-And thank you.
-There we are.
Good boy, well done.
Good boy, good boy, such a clever boy.
Well done, good boy.
Cannot remember the last time I made such a prat of myself.
But you know what? Flapjack responded -
he was really good, actually, wasn't he?
There was no getting round that mud at the end.
If there's the option to stay dry, who wouldn't?
Next up, it's joint leaders of the Reds, Andrew and Betty.
Three, two, one...go.
Good girl, Betty, good girl.
Andrew needs to tackle the obstacles in a way that Betty will understand.
Betty, yay! Yay, Betty!
Despite his reluctance, he now needs to convince her
that going over the ramp is better than going round it.
Come on, Betty.
What's this? What's this, Betty?
But Betty is not buying it.
And Andrew needs to raise his game.
-Come on! Yay!
-Yeah! Well done.
-Good girl, Boo.
Straight through the tunnel. But with that degree of enthusiasm,
I was tempted to run through the tunnel myself, to be honest.
That's two obstacles out of three so far.
Now, the balance bench.
Betty's done it straight away.
Finally, the toughest one of all - the muddy ditch.
Can Andrew make it look like fun?
What's this, Boo? What's this, Betty?
He's committed to the cause.
Come on, Betty!
Oh, my goodness me, he's right in.
Betty? What's this, Betty?
Oh! She just went round.
Come on, then, Boo.
He's going to give it another go.
Betty, what's this? What's this?
Oh, she's gone round again.
Oh! Get your own back on Dad.
I'm not sure she's going to do it.
-Come on, then, Boo.
-Well done, mate.
Well done, Andrew, well done.
Next up, it's joint bottom-placed Red pair, Ellie and Benny.
-Are you ready?
I knew you were going to say that.
-Off you go.
Here we go.
-Benny, what's this?
-Show him that you're going through it.
When you think he's engaged, release him.
What's this? What's this?
Benny clearly wants to get to Ellie, but by the easiest route.
She's struggling to actually get him to focus on this,
to be honest with you.
Move on to the next one.
At the ramp, it's the same story.
Possibly sensing her hesitation,
he's opted to go round the obstacle again.
Talk to him, make eye contact with him.
Yes, Benny, yes!
Yes, yes, yes, yes.
That's two out of four.
But now this is the mud pit.
Ellie's not a muddy girl, I don't think.
Can Ellie disguise her reluctance at the muddy ditch?
She's down. She's in amongst it.
-Good boy, Benny.
Good boy, Benny.
I don't think he could have picked up any sense there
that she was actually enjoying that and he should follow her.
-Did he go through or not? I can't see.
-She's going to dip out.
-Come on. Good boy.
-Well done, Ellie.
Sharing bottom place in the Reds, last to go, Colin and Mitch.
Oh, good lad.
So far in the contest,
Colin's been learning new ways to engage with Mitch
that don't depend on his obedience.
Simply leading by example is a radically different approach.
Colin just did really well.
Up! Ooh, up, up, up, up, up!
Up, up, up, up, up!
He's struggling on the ramp.
He's only going to do that if he's totally convinced.
-Oh! He's doing it.
-He's done it.
Yes! He did it. He did it.
Oh, yes! Oh, yes. Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah!
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes...
Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes...
Good boy, good boy!
That's four out of four.
Can they make it a clean sweep?
So, now they're just into the muddy dip.
Mitch is an outdoor dog, he spends a lot of time working with Colin.
He really shouldn't be put off by mud.
Colin's right down and dirty.
He's in Mitch World, big-time.
He thinks you're insane.
Yeah, he's like, "Whatever. You can't impress me with that mud."
What's this here? What's this here?
Come on, Mitch, go through there.
Oh! He's sort of gone half-through
and then picked his way around the side.
That was beautiful. Good boy.
I think we've done well.
'I managed to keep the enthusiasm going.
'And it worked.'
And it surprised me.
It was great to let off a bit of steam,
just get down at Betty's level.
Um...I do want to ask people, though,
did we actually do the same course?
Because I came away covered in mud, and nobody else has got any on them.
I don't know...
Time for the results.
Our muddy obstacle course has come to an end.
It's been a really good thing. I think people really got themselves
down and dirty and they got involved.
The results, in reverse order.
Ellie, two out of five of the obstacles were cleared
in 6 minutes 45.
You know this was not something that you wanted to do
and I don't think Benny was particularly keen on it, either.
He wasn't going to go through that mud.
He saw Mum go through it and thought, "That's not for me".
OK, next up were Andrew and Betty.
Three out of five of the obstacles cleared.
I'm absolutely convinced,
with a little bit more time on the ramp-like obstacle,
she would go for it.
She was checking it out, but didn't quite have the confidence,
but well done.
In second place,
with four out of five of the obstacles cleared,
in 4 minutes and 43 seconds...
..Toni and Flapjack.
Well done. Well done.
He really did follow what you were doing.
He was interested in it because you were interested in it
and the enthusiasm with which you approached this challenge
carried you forwards.
I actually do think that my bond with him
is getting better and better.
Colin and Mitch, four out of the five obstacles
in 3 minutes 55.
-Cannot believe it.
-You whizzed through.
It was a great performance.
Mitch was watching what you were doing.
He was engaged with what was happening
and he's willing to start experimenting a little bit,
and that is what we're trying to get.
I'm absolutely over the moon. I'm so pleased. I really am.
Top work. Let's put some scores on the board.
Andrew and Betty, you started with 11,
you've picked up 2 here,
so that takes you to 13 points at this stage.
Toni and Flapjack, you were on 11, as well, you picked up 3 here,
which means you are now on 14 points.
Ellie and Benny, you were on 9,
you got 1 on this occasion,
which means that you are 10 points here.
Which leaves Colin and Mitch -
you were on 9, you picked up 4,
so you are on 13 points as well.
Still very tight with all to play for.
Hot showers for you guys.
Well done, everyone.
I'm just so pleased with our performance.
He trusted me, he followed me through the obstacles,
and, yeah, we came first, we got maximum points.
I came second in the competition,
but overall, I've moved into first place by one point.
So that's a real thrill for me and Flapjack.
There's still quite a long way to go,
but for the moment, yeah, I'm really pleased.
Our pairs are waking up to a new day
and one more challenge.
Come on, then.
This will be the ultimate test
of how successfully they can see the world
from their dog's point of view.
As things stand,
in the Yellows, Badger and Bodger and Josh and Doug
have opened up a strong lead, on 16 points each,
with Daisy and Zuri and Jake and Monty
bringing up the rear.
In the Reds, whilst Ellie and Benny are falling behind,
there's just one point between the other three pairs,
who are all in strong contention for a place in the final.
Welcome, everyone, to the banks of Coniston Water here in the Lakes.
A lovely location for this, our final challenge in this round.
Today's is a swimming event.
It's about swimming WITH your dog.
This is all about communication, teamwork,
and about you knowing what it's like to be in your dog's world.
This will be an open-water swimming race.
In this challenge, the pairs will have to swim together
30 yards out to a buoy, around it, and then back to the shore.
Reds and Yellows will race separately
with a maximum of four points at stake in each group,
and success will depend on how in tune the owners are
with their dogs.
You're going to have to tap in to all of the things
that we've learned in the previous challenges.
So, if your dog is unsure, you need to make sure
that you put your own competitive instincts aside,
look after your dogs, but equally, if your dogs are super-fast,
you'll need to get them to work with you, swimming together.
We want to see you side-by-side, sharing the experience,
using that to expand the scope of the relationship that you've got.
Come on, then, Zuri. Come on.
All of our dogs CAN swim well, but, just like humans,
some are more at home in the water than others.
For safety, our owners will wear a simple buoyancy aid.
If you swim along, then these will be behind you,
so if you need to grab hold of them for any reason,
you just reach behind you, grab hold of it, like a teddy bear,
and you can just float there as long as you want to
and then you can carry on as you want.
Go on, then. Go on, then. Good lad.
Before the race begins, our pairs have a chance for a practice paddle.
Betty? Betty? Betty?
Of course, today's challenge is a physical one,
it's about swimming round that buoy and getting back.
But I think that what we're going to see here,
the real strengths that will come through,
are the bonds that these people have formed with their dogs.
They've got to get their dog into the water.
They've got to work as a team.
It's not about independent swimming. It's about swimming WITH your dog.
Come on, then, come on.
Joint leaders of the Yellows,
Josh and Doug spend a lot of time on the beach in their Devon home.
Come on, then. Come on...
But the prospect of swimming together
has put the pair out of their depth.
Just watching Douglas, he wants to be out of the water.
He is happy to go in for the ball, but then he thinks the thing is to bring it back to the shore.
Absolutely. But they've got some time to practise.
Good boy, Dougie, keep going, mate. Good boy. Good boy, Doug.
They've got into a very fixed behaviour pattern around water,
so when there's water, Josh throws the ball, or a toy,
Douglas goes in and get it, brings it back to Josh on the bank.
Swimming WITH your dog is far from straightforward.
Owners need to stay in tune with their dogs,
swim at their pace and be alert to any signs of anxiety,
and that's why it's the ultimate test
of how successfully they can see the world through their dogs' eyes.
I wanted to see Doug out swimming with me.
If I can get to the buoy and back with him next to me, I'll be happy.
With a win in the obstacle course
meaning they're still in contention for a place in the final,
Colin and Mitch dive straight in to practise.
Mitch is not frightened of the water at all.
When they arrived here,
Mitch wasn't a dog that looked like he'd ever played at all,
and now, he's bouncing around in the water after a tennis ball.
That's significant progress, and not just for Mitch.
Jake and Monty and Badger and Bodger
are all looking at home in the water.
I can swim and he can swim.
I just wonder if he's going to stick by me,
or if he's going to swim off.
I feel good.
If I had a bet on, I'd probably bet on myself.
But not all dogs are showing such an eagerness to get wet.
Come on, Benny.
Ellie can't persuade her dog, Benny, to do much more than paddle.
-That was brilliant timing.
He's gone into the water.
-Did he swim?
-He hasn't swum.
He got a little bit out of his depth for a couple of steps,
but he hasn't done any prolonged swimming.
So what's the difference in when he's swum before to now?
Because it's, like, a different environment for him.
-So, when we're at home,
it's, like, same route, same pond, same lake, so he knows it.
He's familiar with it. He always jumps in.
But for here, it's a matter of clicking a restart button
and, sort of saying, "You need to get used to it bit by bit again."
He is making huge progress.
But we'll actually make faster progress
if he's happy each time he takes a step forward,
rather than feeling slightly, like, "I just want to come for the food."
Come on, then. Who's a clever girl?
Zuri? Zuri? Zuri...
And Daisy is struggling to convince Zuri to venture out of her depth.
If they keep going in and out,
she might go a little bit further, she might pluck up the courage.
But the main thing is we're not going to force her to go further.
-She's going to out her pace.
That is a change in Daisy's behaviour
that we've seen over the course of the challenges.
What she was doing was trying to use food
to get Zuri into situations that she didn't want to go into.
-Oh, you're so clever.
With practice time over,
Daisy and Zuri and Ellie and Benny decide to opt out of the race.
I'm so happy with the way that he's done today.
Every single time that we've gone into a challenge, I've been like,
"Ooh, I don't know about this one, don't know about that one,"
and every time, he's given it his best shot
and that's all you can ask, that's all you can ask of him.
I'm just really pleased with how far we've got today, and it's brilliant.
I'm not going to destroy it by forcing her to do something
that she's not comfortable with.
For the rest of the pairs, it's time to race.
And it's the Yellows who have first chance
to get more points on the board
and the possibility of securing a place in the final.
OK, line yourselves up.
-Is everyone ready?
-Who's your money on?
On your marks, get set...go.
-That's lovely. Josh and Douglas together.
Monty's leaping out there.
-Come on, then.
-Come on, mate, come on.
Jake looking over his shoulder, making sure Monty is with him.
He's turned over on his back and, again, he's not sprinting ahead.
-Monty's coming with him.
-Look at Josh and Douglas
and Bodger and Badger - they really are together.
Jake's round first.
As they approach the buoy, it looks as though Josh and Doug
are having problems.
They're in trouble.
They're all tangled up. They're all tangled up.
I'm feeling quite tense. I'm feeling REALLY tense.
No, it's all right, he's got him on top of the float there.
Josh was looking out for Douglas.
-It's about teamwork.
-Absolutely, and about taking care of your dog.
Bodger's coming in. Bodger's coming in.
It's Badger and Bodger, isn't it? Side-by-side.
Swimming well, but not so side-by-side with Jake...
He's not got his dog.
..Monty is taking a detour.
-Monty, come this way.
Monty's just gone a bit...
Oh, he's spotted Jake now, hasn't he?
Monty's miles away. Come on, Bodger.
The close understanding that Badger and Bodger share is clear,
as they swim shoulder to shoulder.
Bodger and Badger are coming in really fast.
And they're first across the line, followed closely by Jake and Monty.
That was very good. That was very...
-Yes, I agree, I agree.
Oh, my God - yes, I agree, I agree!
-You stormed that.
-I can't believe how fast she can swim!
There was your little face, her little face, just together,
and it was really, really lovely.
It was so sweet, I loved it.
A moment of togetherness and connectedness, just beautiful.
You did so well, Bodger, and I know you want to go back in.
Come on, then, Doug, good boy.
But for Josh and Doug, it was a less comfortable experience.
He just got tangled up in this.
And he just couldn't, kind of, swim, so...
I don't know.
For others, the race was a revelation.
I'm so proud of Bodger.
She is a better swimmer than I even thought she was.
I still can't believe how fast she was.
So I'm so proud of her, sticking with me, it was amazing.
Jake, you set off at a great pace there with Monty.
Yes, but then he decided to take a detour via Lake Windermere.
It's now the Reds' turn to race.
On your marks, get set...go.
Let's go, let's go, let's go!
Come on, Jackie. Come on, Jackie.
That's really nice to see Andrew making sure
that Betty is with him before he goes.
Yeah, and Betty's doing well.
-She's keeping up.
-Bless her, she's got to start swimming
long before the others.
But look at him, he's right there with her,
he's absolutely making sure that he's got her
and there he goes, she is about to go...
She's on his shoulders!
Goodness, Betty's actually on Andrew's head!
I can't even see Andrew, I can just see Betty riding round!
After a strong start, things quickly change for Colin and Mitch.
Mitch has changed direction.
Hold on a minute - Mitch seems to be heading back.
Mitch? Good lad, we haven't been round the buoy yet.
Oh, Mitchy, Mitchy - no...
He can swim, but he's not the most enthusiastic.
As Andrew and Betty take the lead...
Andrew's on the way back.
Betty on his shoulder. Betty's on his shoulder.
'..Toni and Flapjack aren't far behind.'
Come on, good girl, Betty.
Come on, Boo. Come on, Betty. Come on, Betty.
And it's now going to come down to Betty's swimming speed
versus their running speed.
Come on, Toni, run!
Toni's taken a bit of a tumble.
Come on, little girl, come on, little girl.
Good girl. Good girl, Betty.
Oh, goodness me.
Betty, you can swim!
How close was that?
That was absolutely fantastic, Betty, well done.
-Absolutely totally chuffed.
-You're over the moon.
-Absolutely over the moon.
-That was absolutely brilliant.
She did jump on my back.
She's learned, "This is really easy,
"so as long as Dad's still swimming along,
"I'll get away with it as long as I can."
That was quite tough on my lungs, I think!
While some feel triumphant, for others, there's relief.
Yeah, he's absolutely fine. As soon as we came out, he wanted to have the ball and play with the ball.
There's nothing wrong with him. I just saw that look in his eye
when he was really scared,
that was what I was a bit upset about.
And when we were swimming in, after the tangle,
he was next to me and he was kind of looking for me.
That was nice - that's something I want to go forward with,
swimming with him, so, yeah, it was a really good step, it's good.
But for Colin and Mitch, the race has really taken its toll.
I'm more upset because I saw the expression on his face
when he was in the water.
All of a sudden he looked scared.
HE SIGHS TEARFULLY
And I just felt it was very unfair all of a sudden
to ask him to do something he didn't want to do.
Oh...am I allowed to hug you?
Do you know what?
Honestly, you did exactly the right thing.
He was happy to follow me and all of a sudden,
-he just, like...
And I felt as though I almost betrayed him.
No - you would have betrayed him if you'd forced him to keep going,
but he will trust that if he shows you that he's worried,
you pick up on that, you turned around,
you came in with him.
I've definitely got more recognition of feeling for my dog now.
Guys, what a challenge that was.
Not just a physical one, but an emotional rollercoaster.
It was amazing, wasn't it?
It absolutely was.
Every single person in front of me,
you have demonstrated such wonderful relationships with your dogs.
We think you should all be incredibly proud of yourselves.
But let's put some scores on the board.
Let's go with the Yellow team first.
Josh and Douglas, you started off with 16, you came third today,
picked up 2 points,
which means that you are on 18 points at this time here.
Bodger and Badger, you were on 16, you came in first,
4 points for you, which means that you're on 20 points.
-20 points, hellfire.
-What about that?
Daisy and Zuri, you decided to sit this one out,
you were on 9, so you are still on 9 points there.
Jake and Monty, you were on 5,
you picked up 3, which means
that you have 8 points.
There we go.
Josh and Douglas and Badger and Bodger
are going through to our final.
Let's hear it for them.
Let's put some scores on the Red team, then.
Andrew and Betty, you started with 13.
You got 4 today, which takes you up to 17 points.
Toni and Flapjack, you were on 14, you picked up 3,
so that, again, gives you 17 points.
Neck and neck here. Ellie and Benny, you sat this one out,
you remain on your 10 points here.
And then Colin and Mitch, on 13,
you picked up 2, which means
that you're on 15 points.
So, it's not decided who is going to go through to that final,
it's still very tight there.
So we have another challenge to come.
Badger and Bodger and Josh and Doug
are top of the leaderboard.
They're so far ahead
of their fellow Yellows
that they've done enough to earn
their place in the final.
In the mid-table,
there's still all to play for,
so they'll have to face
one more challenge to decide
who will go through.
Their fellow Reds Ellie and Benny
join Daisy and Zuri
and Jake and Monty
at the bottom of the board.
These three pairs have too few points to catch up,
so, sadly for them, it's the end of the road.
But some are firmly focused on the final.
We are very happy with our achievement today.
We'd love to win.
I think Bodger and Badger are going to be amazing in it.
I think they'll take some beating. But I'm really looking forward to it.
I'm still competitive
so I was disappointed that we only came third.
But I've still got my eyes set on whether we can compete in the final.
Although Daisy and Ellie failed to make the final,
they'll be staying on to cheer on their team-mates.
I think it would have been lovely to participate,
but every single challenge that we've done,
even though, yeah, we might not have placed,
and sometimes we might not have even got to the actual challenge,
we've managed to say, "You know what?
"He's overcome another hurdle."
He's done brilliant every step of the way.
Zuri and I are getting on a lot better.
Our bond is stronger than ever.
She has definitely improved in her behaviour
and I think, by not putting pressure on myself and on her,
we're more relaxed when we are together.
So everything is positive.
It's been wonderful.
But Jake and Monty have decided to head home.
It's been lovely to spend time with him.
We've learnt new stuff, so that is great,
that only expands our experience of each other.
What that means for our relationship in general,
it just means that it's better on lots of levels.
Stay in touch, everybody.
-See you, Jake.
See you, Monty.
Next time, with two pairs already through...
Congratulations to you.
..one last challenge designed to draw
on their dogs' intelligence.
We want to do well. We want to prove ourselves.
..will determine who will take the remaining places in the grand final.
It's very tense.
A human-dog triathlon...
-You ready to go, mate?
..where the finalists will run...
-Go on, Bodge.
-Go on, Josh!
..and cycle together.
Good girl, Bodger.
..drawing on everything they've learned,
and one pair will be crowned Me And My Dog Champions 2017.
The winner is...
This physical and mental competition plays out in the Lake District where eight owners and their dogs compete together in a series of challenges - all in a bid to make it to the grand final. Only one pair can win but experts are on hand to help them all unlock the full potential of their partnerships. Chris Packham hosts and unveils the science behind the incredible bond between human and dog.
Owners hail from all over the UK and the canine competitors come in all shapes and sizes, from an energetic border terrier called Betty to a stoic labrador named Flapjack. This episode's challenges are all designed to test the owners' ability to immerse themselves in their dog's world.
The eight pairs are split into two groups, the reds and the yellows, and it's the yellows who have the first chance to score points in scent-based orienteering. Owners must use their navigation skills, allowing their dogs to sniff out buried cheese. For Josh, it's a great opportunity to see what labrador springer cross Doug is capable of, but there's no cheese for one dog when its owner gets thoroughly lost. The reds take on a woodland obstacle course where owners test the theory that dogs can learn just by looking.
The final challenge is an open water swim, and one pair blows the rest of the competition out the water. There are tears for others when they realise just how much their dogs mean to them.
Final scores reveal that while some are contenders for the final, others have too few points to stay in the contest.