There are dogs jumping, running and doing flips at the Yorkton Exhibition Summer Fair. Extreme Dogs features the skills of a number of different dogs, whether they’re catching discs, jumping into the water, running through obstacle courses or doing acrobatics with their trainer.
Deirani Collazo, one of the trainers with the group, said that their goal goes beyond putting on a show with their dogs, they hope to inspire people. They want people to get outside with their dogs and having fun.
“It doesn’t matter if your dog is adopted or purchased, just go out there and do something with your dog, the possibilities endless.”
The tricks in the show are going to be more advanced than more people can do with their dog starting out, but they’re based in activities that are easy to do. Collazo points to throwing a disc as a great thing for families to do with their dogs.
“It’s not only fun for the dog and you’re not only exercising the dog, but it’s really fun as a handler to just aim and throw that disc, and you don’t have to go get it, the dog brings it back. You just play with your dog, you’re throwing the disc, and it’s fun. You don’t need to be doing the flips and this big stuff, but you could and I encourage everyone to try it!”
The majority of the dogs are rescues, and they want to show how amazing rescue dogs can be, going from being in the streets or abused and neglected to putting on a show and happy in their new life, said Collazo.
The first step for training is to establish trust with the dog, Collazo explained.
“We don’t know the background of these dogs most of the time, we don’t know what they’ve been through, so they usually come with something. They’re scared of people, or they’re scared of loud noises or music, and we have all of that during the show, so we have to establish trust with them.”
Next step is a bit of obedience training, which Collazo explained as being language between the dog and the trainer, so they can know what is expected of them, and they can have a bit of control over the wild animal. From there, they figure out what the dogs like, and use that to figure out what tricks they will do. Some dogs don’t like jumping into the pool so they wouldn’t do that trick, but they might like catching the disc, for example.
“We treat each dog as an individual. I have a dog I adopted and within a month she was performing. I have another dog who was found wandering the streets, and when we brought him in he was so scared that you would clap and he would hide. It took me five years to get him to just be comfortable with the rides and the music. Training never stops.”
Collazo jokes that they look for the dogs that nobody else wants. They want high energy animals who are “annoying.” The reason is they are looking for dogs who have enough energy to learn tricks and perform for the public, and those dogs are often given up because of families who are unable to handle them.
“There has to be an outlet for that energy, otherwise they’re going to ruin your couches and all that.”
They live in the RV full time with all ten dogs, and the dogs that were once annoying are now calm travelling companions.
“It’s fine, because they’re just chilling in there and resting, because they’re working all day and doing what they love, so they sleep.”
She said that for families, they need to do research before getting a dog, to ensure the dog’s energy matches their family’s energy. She wants people to know that the right dog for them could be a rescue.
“There is a dog for everyone out there.”
The crowds have been big through the fair so far, and Collazo said that it has been a great week so far, and they hope that everyone comes to see the dogs over the course of the fair.
“We’ve been loving the vibe here in Yorkton.”
Follow their adventures at TheCanineExperience.