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Southern Alberta dog trainer featured in upcoming Disney documentary series


Calgary-area dog trainer Jennifer Fraser and her dog Daiquiri will be one of six teams featured in Disney's ' The Secret Life of Dancing Dogs'.

"It's a docu series," she said. "So it's just a small six part series that follows six different trainers going and competing in dog dancing."

Fraser and her eight-year-old Australian Shepherd are no strangers to canine cultural limelight. The duo hold 13 Guiness world records for their challenging tricks like the fastest backup, the most clothes fetched off a line, the fastest treats caught and the fastest weave through the legs.

"The biggest one and the most difficult one was the most tricks in 60 seconds," said Fraser. "I submitted 72 but Guinness said that can't be possible -- even though the video footage showed them 72 tricks! They're like, 'We're gonna cap it at 60, you got 60!' -- and now that record is unbreakable."

Fraser and her husband Les operate Paradise Kennels on their acreage about an hour's drive east of Calgary. She started her first training school, and began competing with her dogs when she was 13 years old.

"I love agility that's my top (choice) but dog dancing, I find a lot more challenging especially with the subjective judging," she said. "You have no control over that, it's just you and your dog going out there and having the time of your life and hoping that the routine that you put together is going to shine."

Dog dancing is defined as a modern dog sport that combines a mixture of obedience training, tricks, and dance that allows for creative interaction between pets and their owners. Fraser says trick training her dogs happened by accident when the family lived in Italy for a year. She was waiting outside a museum her kids were visiting with three of her dogs and was keeping them occupied with a handful of tricks.

"And someone came up to me and gave me five euros, they thought I was street performing and I'm going well, I can do this," said Fraser. "The kids were going to school, the kennel was being run back home so I started putting together a trick routine with Daiquiri, Sambuca and Sprite, I would rotate the dogs in the piazza and I had crowds of hundreds surrounding me every single day and I'm like oh, I'm into this."

Fraser says many people don't understand the dedication and commitment it takes to get a well-trained dog that can focus and perform a dance routine in front of a massive crowd.

"You don't just take an obedience class and become a dog dancer," she said. "You have basic obedience, puppy obedience, advanced obedience, excellence obedience and then you can start all over again with your tricks go through multiple trick training, making sure you have that tight bond with your dog, making sure that they can focus on you 100 per cent -- and then you can expand to dog dancing."

Her husband Les supports her and helps build props for the dance routines and drives the dogs all over North America to performances.

"I mean three or four minutes of routine is all you see," he said. "But it can take months of behind the scenes work before it's all finally put together so I mean it's a lot of fun, keeps you entertained, it's not exactly what I thought I'd be doing when I graduated university and all but you know, it is what it is."

The Frasers have four children from 20 to 14 years old and also have 11 dogs of their own at home. Les says it's a handful and can be a little disheartening because most of the time the dogs are focused on Jennifer.

"I can be on fire standing in the corner jumping up and down but the dogs completely ignore me if Jennifer's in the room," he said. "That's where their focus is, if nobody's around and Jen's not around the dogs will actually listen to me, I can probably put together a decent performance but they will not listen if she even walked by, they would just leave."

 'The Secret Life of Dancing Dogs' will air on Disney+ in December. Top Stories

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