Nestlé Silo Charman, and her human handler Erin Mizzoni, are quite the dynamic duo—after a fantastic introduction into the glitz and glamour of the President’s Choice SuperDogs show last year, this pair is back and better than ever for 2015!
I recently had the chance to interview this SuperDog competitor and her human—we went for a walk in Bowness Park and I learned all about Nestlé’s preparation for Stampede time.
Treats were had and hard hitting questions came flying at the hound and handler. How did Nestlé become so super, I asked?
“Aside from being a SuperDog, Nestlé is certified as a Canine Good Neighbour (CGN), Agility Novice Selected (AGNS), Agility Jumper Selected (AgNJS) and Scent Hurdle Dog Champion (SHDCh)” says Mizzoni, “she’s also a therapy dog!”
(Q): What is Nestlé like when not performing and working?
(A): Dachshunds are a loyal breed. They typically attach themselves to one person. Early on, it was clear that Nestlé was very eager to please me and loved learning—she’s naturally a calm dog and a very smart, quick learner—this makes it easy to train because she is in the right head space. She also loves snuggling, spending time in nature, hiking and treats.
(Q): What made you want to try out for the SuperDog show?
(A): Stampede time is one of my favourite things about being Calgarian. To be able to share it with my dog is quite rewarding—I get to take my dog onto the grounds and show her off.
I picked up early on, after meeting the litter, that with Nestlé’s calm demeanor—she never whined or worried about anyone who picked her up—I thought it would be fun to play in the agility world and see if she was interested … after that, the dog world sucked me in and we really got into the competition side of things.
(Q): How often do you train to get SuperDog ready?
(A): For the SuperDog show, the Calgary cast members typically train once a week in the months leading up to Stampede time. It’s for working on skills, getting exercise and getting used to each other.
We take glucosamine supplements to keep her joints healthy. We also do exercises—think of it like dog physiotherapy—which we try to do, two to three times a week—this helps to strengthen her core and jumping muscles in her hind legs.
(Q): Has Nestlé made any friends in the SuperDog show?
(A): She has bonded with the other dachshund, Wesley, and greatly enjoys the company of the Italian greyhounds.
(Q): Do either of you have dog heroes that you look up to in the community?
(A): Nestlé looks up to Wesley a lot—they are great friends and she always enjoys the company of another dachshund. We are also huge fans of Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund and his blog.
(Q): What do you like most about your SuperDog job?
(A): Even though meet and greets are sometimes a stressful part of the job, the biggest thing that we’ve enjoyed is meeting kids; for example, a parent recently came out with a young child who was afraid of dogs and didn’t want to approach the cast. Nestlé was a great start because of her size and because she is so non-threatening.
It’s very much about changing the minds of children who are afraid of dogs and getting the change to teach them about how dogs can be really cool. When we get kids that come up to meet Nestlé, their faces light up and when she licks them, there are always giggles—it’s so rewarding!
(Q): What tips do you have for aspiring SuperDog dogs?
(A): One of the best thing you can do is to expose your dog to as many things as possible. You don’t necessary have to sign up for classes, although they are awesome. There are lots of resources online to teach you how to do things; lots of Facebook groups and people willing to help out in the community. The more you expose your dog to, the more open they are to learning new tricks.
(Q): For all of Nestlé’s adoring fans out there, who want to cheer her on in July, what’s the best way to do that?
(A): You can take home your own miniature dachshund plushie after a SuperDog show or purchase a SuperDog leash and collar for your pooch at home. We believe that even if your dog is not on the stage. Your dog is still a super dog!
We’re also huge supporters of the Alberta Dachshund Rescue (ADR) and they are doing amazing work—please donate if you can! Nestlé does a lot of work with the Calgary Lowriders club to raise support for ADR.
Lastly if you see us at Stampede, please give us a big western howdy with #GoWienerGo!
* For the past four decades, SuperDogs have entertained more than 35 million people. This year, they are loading up on star power for their brand new, bling-filled, blockbuster show HOLLYWOOF! These sensational performers will jump, weave, leap and act to electrifying Hollywood hits. Fast paced, interactive, heartwarming and hilarious, SuperDogs are admired and not to be missed at this year’s Stampede. New for this year, SuperDogs hosts Super Soccer Stars, a new interactive game that gives wee ones the chance to shoot and score on their favourite SuperDog playing in net. Featuring SuperDog stars, this mini-show incorporates crowd participation while the dogs demonstrate athletic skills and command responses. As always, SuperDogs is free with Stampede Park admission and regularly hits capacity seating for every show. Get your tickets from the SuperDogs Box office located on the north end of the Big Four Building and line up early!