ESCONDIDO — On Nov. 16, dogs took center stage for two performances at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.
On a stage generally reserved for human performances in various artistic disciplines, Chris Perondi brought his Dog Stunt Experience to an audience rife with parents, children and some adults couples, as well. The dogs performed a slew of tricks, ranging from clearing high hurdles, jumping over a set of kids ducking on the ground, an agility contest and more.
“Our specialized high-energy stunt dog shows are visual, unique in format, professionally presented on the microphone, have seamless transitions, are choreographed to music, and feature the worlds most talented performing dogs,” the Dog Stunt Experience website reads. “It’s guaranteed our productions will leave your audience in awe by offering shows in a variety of themes and formats.”
For the sake of entertainment, Perondi — who also emcees the show —runs the show as a two-team competition. Think of it like an Olympics, but with dogs competing and all in a single hour and a half outing.
Hailing from French Camp, California near Stockton, Perondi told The Coast News that he did not fathom creating a show which tours across the country in his younger years.
“It started as a hobby, I wanted a dog to catch a Frisbee,” he said. “I adopted this cute little puppy that changed my life. I taught him to catch Frisbees as far as I could throw them by the time he was 5 and a half months old.”
Starting as a Frisbee-only show in 1999 and known at the time as the Extreme Canines Show, the show had morphed into being known as The Extreme Canines Stunt Dog Show by 2001. By then, the show was similar to today’s version, “featuring dogs jumping rope, doing tricks, racing, high-jumping, comedy and more,” said Perondi.
Today, Perondi says his company — which he runs with his wife, Suhey — does more than 1,000 shows per year and he hopes one day to bring it to the San Diego County Fair. The troupe already performs at events such as the Texas State Fair and Minnesota State Fair, he added.
Perondi has taken the dogs on some even grander stages. Those have included the Rose Bowl Parade, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Yet, Perondi was quick to praise the Escondido crowd, as well.
Calling them very energetic and saying that they seemed to enjoy the show very much, Perondi did say he had one minor regret: he did not get to spend almost any time exploring Escondido while there for his two shows.
“We were only there for a day and spent most of it in the theater so we didn’t really get a chance to hang out or do anything in the city,” he said. “This is the tough part about doing what we do. The quick turnarounds can be challenging.”
The dogs for the show are rescue dogs. And Suhey Perondi told the audience that the trainers for the show only uses positive reinforcement to train them.
“They’re our personal pets first, performers second,” she said. “They come home with us every night, they sleep in bed with us and they stay with us even after they retire from shows.”
Author of the 2019 book “The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks and Stunts,” Perondi said his touring season recently came to an end, having been on the road since June.
“We will take the winter to rest/releax and train some new dogs and tricks,” said Perondi. “We start back up with shows mid-March.”