Dogs take over the stage

Amer­i­cas Got Tal­ent’s fluffy win­ners are com­ing to Summerside

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - BY ALYSHA CAMP­BELL

Many peo­ple dream of win­ning “Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent”, but for the Olate Dogs troupe, it be­came a re­al­ity in 2012.

The Olate Dogs will be bring­ing their show full of adorable dogs do­ing “in­cred­i­ble tricks” to the Har­bourfront Theatre stage in Summerside on Aug. 15.

The dog show, led by Richard Olate and his son, Ni­cholas, along with their 11 dogs, were scouted by Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent and asked to au­di­tion for the show.

How­ever, they tried to say no. They had been on TV shows be­fore like “Regis and Kelly” and the “To­day Show,” so they didn’t re­ally want to drag the dogs over to the au­di­tions and wait in line, es­pe­cially since they had never seen the show be­fore, said Ni­cholas.

They were in Or­lando, Fla., at the time of the of­fer and when the scout told them the show was in Tampa, it was harder to say no.

“I guess we’ll go,” the fa­ther­son duo agreed.

Per­form­ing on TV shows is al­ways dif­fi­cult. You al­ways have to fig­ure out where to take the dogs out and where to hang out with 11 dogs when you’re not film­ing, said Ni­cholas.

Af­ter get­ting through the preau­di­tion in Tampa, they got sent to New York for the live au­di­tions.

The plane got in at 2 a.m. They fi­nally found a ho­tel that al­lowed dogs at about 3 a.m. and had to be at the stu­dio at 5 a.m. un­til the show tap­ing at 9 a.m.

“I don’t know if this is worth it,” said Ni­cholas.

When they stepped on that stage though, they knew it was.

The ex­cite­ment on that stage was so dif­fer­ent than what they were used to, so when they ad­vanced to the next round, they were ex­cited to keep go­ing, he said.

Richard has been teach­ing dogs to walk on their hind legs, do back flips and so much more for al­most 50 years and Ni­cholas has been walk­ing in his foot­steps for 19 years now.

Un­like tra­di­tional ath­letes, these dogs only train about one month out of the year, and it is far from strict.

“Dogs don’t ever for­get any­thing. Some­times me and my

dad will be rusty af­ter tak­ing a few months off, and the dogs will al­ready know what to do,” said Ni­cholas.

To be hon­est, the dogs are kind of lazy, he said.

Try­ing to en­cour­age them us­ing praise and love, that’s al­ways been the only tac­tic his father used.

Richard grew up quite poor in South Amer­ica, and when he took a street dog in, he didn’t even have food for him­self, let alone the dog, his son said.

In­stead of treats, 12-yearold Richard just loved the dog. Prais­ing, hug­ging and kissing, that’s all he could af­ford, and the dog loved it.

Now, with 11 dogs, the train­ing meth­ods haven’t changed much. Love is the best treat the dogs could get.

“If the dog pro­gresses quickly, they get kisses and love, and if it takes longer for them to catch on, that’s fine too, they still get pet­ted, kissed and loved,” said Ni­cholas.

The Olate Dogs will be on the Har­bourfront Theatre stage on Aug. 15, with the show be­gin­ning at 7:30 p.m.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Father-son duo, Richard and Ni­cholas Olate, and their 11 dogs will stop in Summerside to show­case their Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent win­ning rou­tines on Aug. 15.

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