'Dogs in the City': Woof!

THE SHOW "Dogs in the City"

WHEN | WHERE Wednesday night at 8 on CBS/2

REASON TO WATCH It's (almost) summer and the livin' is easy -- and so far, the pickin's are slim. too.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT There are eight million stories in the naked city and 1.5 million dogs, who have stories. too -- mostly about their owners, who can be total fruitcakes. Not that the three profiled tonight on this new unscripted series are anything of the sort (you be the judge).

They have dogs, and they need help. Who they gonna call? Justin Silver, a self-described dog guru whose secret is "knowing how to speak dog and also knowing how to speak human . . . " In this episode, he helps three New Yorkers with three problems -- a bulldog who refuses to accommodate his owner's new wife; a Bernese who's maybe getting one ice cream too many; and a dog of indeterminate breed who is kept by her owner in her office. That problem? She attacks whomever comes in.

MY SAY Even by the admittedly looser standards of summer TV, "Dogs in the City" is an incredibly soft entry. A show about a dog trainer? A nice guy who dispenses sound advice to people who don't always have enough sense -- at least in canine terms -- to come out of the rain? Whatever. It is produced by Carol Mendelsohn, one of the most powerful people in television (the "CSI" franchise), which may or may not explain why "Dogs" secured this particular piece of prime time real estate.

But no matter. "Dogs" is a perfectly pleasant show based on the perfectly reasonable proposition that dogs are people, too. Silver isn't the dog whisperer, but the dog talker: He speaks directly to them much as he does the owner. Funny thing is, the dogs listen. It takes the owners three or four times for his basic pointers to sink in. (Another truism: Sometimes dogs are smarter than people.) The dog is bugging you in bed at night? Put up a toddler gate to keep him out. Worried about your Bernese getting fat? Don't let strangers feed her ice cream. To which I add: Duh.

BOTTOM LINE Woof. You and your hound just might like it.

GRADE B

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