DIXON — By the applause and big smiles, the Extreme Canines Stunt Show entertained the crowd of children and adults on the final day of the Dixon May Fair.
The husband-and-wife team of Chris and Suhey Perondi have put on about 100 different shows per season with their 10 dogs. The newlyweds have been entertaining and promoting pet adoptions for the last five years but all of this started long before that in 1996.
Chris Perondi is originally from Stockton. He started out wanted to teach his dog, Pepper, how to catch a flying disc. From this humble start, he continued training his dog to do more tricks and adopted two more dogs. Eventually he created the Northern California Disc Dogs Extreme, which became more than just fun when he received offers to do shows and other venues.
It’s a job that has taken the couple to half-time at games at Candlestick Park in San Francisco to a wildlife park on the East Coast.
“This just started as a hobby,” Chris Perondi said. “I wanted to teach my dog how to fetch a flying disc.”
Eventually he adopted more dogs and trained them to do a variety of maneuvers.
“This is like a triathlon for dogs,” he said.
He teamed up with Aerobie Inc. to exclusively use the safe and durable SuperDisc, which they also sell after the shows. The discs have a slight edge with colors such as red, blue or green and a white center.
“That has been great, the dogs love it,” he said.
The team has taken their production to the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Every dog the duo owns has been adopted from either a shelter or the pound. A big part of the show is bringing awareness to the adoption programs across the country and educating the public about the opportunity to save dogs’ lives.
“Millions of dogs are put in shelters in this country, and many of them don’t make it out alive,” Chris Perondi said during the show.
Determining which dog would be a good fit for the shows takes a keen eye.
“I look for dogs that can focus, they stay on task and don’t look away. Sometimes we get a dog that gets distracted, and it turns into a comedy show. They are like ‘oh, smell that? It’s meat.’ Then it’s ‘oh, back to the running and jumping.’ It can be pretty funny,” he said.
To train the dogs it takes about eight months to a year.
“We teach them to their best abilities. Some are runners, and some are jumpers,” Chris Perondi said.
One of the biggest concerns is safety. Because the dogs are jumping over people, the team has to pay attention to the surroundings.
“Today we didn’t have the dogs really jumping because of the wind. Some of them get really distracted by the smells. It’s really about safety,” he said.
After several years, the couple has already retired a couple of dogs.
“I am really lucky to have my parents around to take the dogs for us,” Chris Perondi said. “They are still part of our family but they just don’t go on the road anymore.”
Suhey Perondi loves what she is doing and the dogs mean a lot to her.
“This job is like just going out and playing with our dogs. Only it’s in front of people,” she said.
The half-hour show played three times Sunday. After the finale the team loaded the RV and left for the next venue.
“We are working on a 90-minute variety show for Branson, Missouri,” Chris Perondi said.
For more information on the Extreme Canines Stunt Show, go to www.stuntdog.com.
Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or [email protected]