ACTON, Mass. (AP) -- Max the Border Collie can roll over on command, herd crowds and sit still on a table while his owners eat.
But Grace and Michael Ham want their dog to do more — like climb people's backs and then leap into the air to catch a Frisbee. So, they have sought the help of Zak George, a dog trainer made famous from YouTube clips who now is hosting a reality TV show aimed at teaching old dogs new tricks.
A crew for Animal Planet's new show — tentatively called "Fetch Me a Beer" — recently filmed Max while he was learning his new moves. The 20-episode series, scheduled to premiere in October, will show George teaching other dogs such skills as riding a bike and helping a helpless human land a date.
"The dogs are easy. It's the people who are more challenging," George says. "There's nothing we can't attempt to teach a dog."
So far, eight episodes have been shot in Miami and the Boston area. Later this month, the crew will tape Brumby the Australian Shepherd completing his training with George on learning to bowl with his owner. Yes, bowl.
Seanbaker Carter, executive producer of Powderhouse Productions, says viewers will see all sorts of skills from dogs they didn't think were possible, such as seeing a dog "literally fetching a beer out of a fridge" and bringing it to its owner.
"It's the one trick we probably all need to happen," says Carter, whose company is producing the show for Animal Planet.
Another episode, he promises, will have a cat using a toilet.
The show's producers discovered Max after Grace and Michael Ham, of Brookline, Mass., responded to a casting call earlier this year. Before the call, the couple had followed George's YouTube training videos.
Max was quickly picked and a crew began recording the dog's progress. Michael Ham says it took more than a month for Max to learn how to leap off his back and jump for a Frisbee. "He can do all sorts of tricks but this was pretty difficult," he says.
George says Max had come a long way from their initial meeting. "When you see the progress this dog has made, people are going to be blown away," George says.
During the Wednesday taping, Max was joined by other dogs who have competed in a number of advance competitions, including two dancing dogs and a few advanced Frisbee catchers.
Grace Ham says that after participating in the show, she thinks Max will one day pick up some of those advance skills. "We didn't know we had a world-class, competing dog," she says. "We learned that through this show."
George says "the sky's the limit" on what other dogs can learn. Then he pauses — finding an idea. "The sky? Maybe we should teach a dog to fly a plane."
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