The night was split into two best in show competitions. After the first, one team would be eliminated allowing for the final best in show competition of the night to decide the season’s winning team.
The first challenge? An interview. Yup, just an interview with the owners and their dogs. The interview was focused on what have you and your dog learned during the competition, and is the dog ready to interface with the world at large if selected the winner. Andrew was given a play test with Judge Diamond’s dog and Presley was given a one on one lesson by Judge Stillwell on restraint. Both passed. I guess Galaxy didn’t need any special attention since she’s such a well trained sweetie.
So who got booted? JD and Galaxy.
This showed that this competition wasn’t just about the dog but also about the relationship between dog and owner. I like that concept, however, there can be a great divide between what someone says in an interview versus what someone does. So this ‘competition’ was all about saying the right thing to the judges.
Now I know many of you won’t be sad to see JD go, but ask yourself what answering a question has to do with the greatest dog in the world. The judges should have been allowed to view the training leading up to the competitions to get their answer. To me, this was an easy way for the show to get rid of someone they don’t like.
That left Andrew, Presley and their owners to compete in the second best of show, broken into two segments, of this eveining’s episode to bark it out for $250,000 and the title of Greatest American Dog.
The first segment consisted of an obstacle course beginning with a maze, a few teeter totters, a jumping section and finally retreiving a toy from under an elephant. Yeah, that same elephant they used a few shows ago. Apparently it looks great on TV, so it’s OK to terrorize our canine friends.
Presley ripped through course quickly until he got to the elephant. Travis crawled under the pachyderm with Presley to help him get the toy. Not bad. Andrew had a slow beginning but really picked it up in the end, showing, once again, that he had no fear of 9,000 pounds of gray matter standing over him. As far as I could tell, this challenge was filler because it wasn’t used in the judging for the eventual winner.
The second segment was another interview with one question, “Why should your dog be the Greatest American Dog?” In front of all the former house and dog mates, Laurie and Travis offered the reasons for their pup to win. Both handled it well, giving solid answers.
In the end the judges had to decide whether to give it to a young, growing couple or a seasoned team with strong ties.
…so, the winner is …
Travis and Presley
As a team, they grew the most over the 10 week competition, and their enthusiasm and love for each other is what we should all hope to have in our relationships with our fuzzballs. I know they will be great ambassadors for the human-canine bond.
Taking a step back, I have to say there are a lot of things to love and hate about this first season. I think with a bit of tweaking, this could become a great show for all dog lovers. Look for a future posting talking about changes I’d like to see, if only to get some of your thoughts on the subject as well.
But tonight…Travis and Presley, we at Dogster salute you!!