Mr. Stunt Dog, AKA Chris Perondi, takes pound dogs and turns them into extreme canines. New to the Minnesota State Fair, Perondi’s stunt dog show entertains packed crowds three times a day on the North Woods stage.
Perondi, a native of Stockton, Cali., has specific criteria when searching for a rescue dog for his show, and they aren’t lap dogs. “I look for high energy dogs that love to have fun. Dogs that like to soar, spin, fly and jump. It takes a good six months to a year to train them in tricks and stunts,” he said.
Perondi selects pups that have what he calls tunnel vision. “They can focus on one toy,” he said. He motivates his show dogs on toys rather than treats as a reward. “It’s more about playing and having fun than about food.”
Perondi and wife Suhey own twelve dogs and eight stunt dogs are at the State Fair. Two dogs are retired and now living with grandma and grandpa, he said.
The Perondis spend eight to nine months on the road traveling with their stunt dogs. Chris Perondi created the Extreme Canines Show in 1999 and left his IT job in 2001 to work full-time in the entertainment industry. He has produced 7,000 live shows all over the country, he said. He has made appearances with his stunt dogs on the Late Show with David Letterman, the Queen Latifah Show, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Ellen Degeneres Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show. His canines have been featured in Sports Illustrated and a 2014 Rose Parade float, according to the Stunt Dog website.
Perondi wants everyone to have a “dog-gone good time” at his show. Audience participation is a big factor and he doesn’t have a lack of volunteers from the spectators. Vincent, 8, and Rose, 6, came on stage to cheer on the diving skills of two dog teams. “The louder you cheer, the farther they jump,” said Perondi.
The State Fair built a dock and pool for the dogs to perform in, said Perondi. “Wait till you see the crowds. Our biggest shows yet.”
The Extreme Canines Stunt Dog Show is free, with gate admission, daily at 11 a.m., 2 and 4:30 p.m. in The North Woods.
A video highlighting their State Fair show can be found on their Facebook page.
The Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 21 through Labor Day, Sept. 1.