Dog ownership has rocketed during lockdown, so this heartwarming documentary exploring canine science and psychology couldn’t have come at a better time
The dog television market is a busy one. Whether your canine broadcast preference is in the genre of “emotional rescue”, or you prefer fix-em-up behavioural stuff, or you’re a hardcore “who knew dogs could do that?” fan, there are plenty of options in the schedule. What BBC Four might bring to the mix was anyone’s guess, though I had suspected art history and maybe a story of a composer whose greatest work was inspired by a puppy. Instead, Dog Tales: The Making of Man’s Best Friend is a sensible scientific documentary that comes to a surprisingly moving and satisfying conclusion.
If you are not a dog person, this is unlikely to convert you to the cause. If your preference is feline, don’t worry, there is a companion film next, about cats. At the outset, Dog Tales promises to investigate the “revolution” happening in the world of dog science, and even suggests that we may be able to read our pets’ minds. At the outset, I wasn’t sure I wanted to – what if a dog’s inner thoughts are “I find ‘good boy’ patronising, actually” or worse, they truly hate us, and humour us only for our ability to provide biscuits and warmth?