Embrace your spring fever at Carowinds! To celebrate spring break, we’ve got an exciting line-up of shows and special events for the whole week. A fan favorite, The Marvelous Mutts, is returning to the park with its action-packed show filled with energetic pups and amazing stunts.
Who Are The Marvelous Mutts?
The Marvelous Mutts is a traveling high-energy dog show founded by friends Nadja Palenzuela and Kara Gilmore. Both have trained and performed with dogs for most of their lives, and decided nothing could be better than taking their talents on the road. The Marvelous Mutts have amazed audiences across the country, even boasting appearances on Good Morning America, ESPN and The Late Show, just to name a few.
Life With The Mutts
All the dogs featured in The Marvelous Mutts’ show are rescues. The crew stresses the importance of rescuing animals and adopting from shelters. Nadja even said, “One of my favorite parts of the job is hearing people say we encouraged them to rescue a dog, and that we’re leaving an impact by helping animals find homes.”
The mutts aren’t your typical show dogs; they’re Nadja and Kara’s pets. Nadja said she hand-picks dogs that are high-energy and don’t tend to do well in a normal home environment. Because of their energy levels and desire to play, the dogs need lots of exercise each day. However, the mutts spend most of their time at home laying low and enjoying life with their mom.
A few show dogs relax in Nadja's RV at Carowinds Camp Wilderness.
The Training Process
Training the mutts requires starting with the basics and focusing on positive interactions. “I reward positive energetic behaviors that most pet owners would discourage," says Nadja. "It’s ok if they get excited, as long as they’re staying focused.” Nadja finds stunts that require the dogs to pause or stop the action most challenging because they're so enthusiastic during performances.
Nadja and Cha-Cha-Cha practice one of their most challenging stunts.
Because the dogs usually perform and interact with large crowds, socialization is one way they’re prepared for show time. Nadja likes to take the dogs with her to places such as PetSmart and Home Depot to let them get used to meeting new people.
Nadja’s favorite part about performing at Carowinds is the audience. She loves that our guests really get into the show and enjoy interacting with the dogs. After each performance, the dogs stick around for a meet and greet so they can get up close and personal with their fans.
The Marvelous Mutts will be performing here at Carowinds through April 8, with showtimes at 12:30 pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm each day. The show is located in the grassy area between Harmony Hall and The Intimidator.