Stars of Hope Always in Love to Lupin - Ben

I hope you enjoy browsing my site, and I hope Ben makes you laugh as much as he makes me. Ben was born on June 5, 2008, in a litter of four puppies. He spent his puppyhood with his breeder Anita, whom I would like to thank here for all the love and caring you gave to Ben and for the tears in your eyes when I decided Ben is coming home with me. I couldn't imagine a better breeder for my little Ben!

My greatest and only wish when I decided to have a dog was for him to accompany me 24/7 (which was also the reason why I preferred to take a small dog over a long-wished big one). However, I soon realized my puppy was an energetic bomb who resembled more a monkey than a dog. Long walks and hikes were never tiring enough. That's why we decided to use the brains and started to learn tons of tricks and to take agility classes to make some use of this extra energy.

ponedeljek, 03. december 2012

Ben & Winnie's WagSite



Still working on the new website, hopefully it will be finished by the end of the week!! :) You will later on find us under Ben & Winnie's WagSite. For now, just a quick update on both of them. We went to a trial in Motešice, Slovakia and another one in Ivanić Grad, Croatia. Ben was just brilliant in Slovakia, and REALLY fast! I was so proud of him. Little Winnie ran faster too, she obviously started gaining some confidence and... she also developed some more hysteria. She did really good in all of her runs, she was actually mostly clean, but she ran past a tire or a wall in every run because she is not familiar with these obstacles yet. Ben didn't run in Croatia as I don't want to run with him on artificial grass anymore because of his previous jumping problems, and that problem is now successfully solved, so no need to go through this again. Winnie ran on that kind of a surface for the first time, it was very slippery, she had many problems with the surface, there was absolutely no place to warm up your dog, especially not Winnie, who is very uncomfortable around otherdogs, and the whole place is very small and loud. However, she did great, she had a fault in agility - weave entry - but that was entirely my fault, perfect contacts and everything else... She won agility anyway and she also won jumping with a clean run. I only have some pics from Croatia, 3 pictures of my Gargamel, I must say I am shocked to see every next picture of her is more scary, that dog sure is CRAZY! Unfortunately no photos of Ben :(

And a video from Motešice, Slovakia, including both of them: Click

And another video of Winnie on training: Click

četrtek, 27. september 2012

Winnie starting her agility career

Photo by Uroš Bokal
Winnie is 16,5 months now and started competing. Very successfully indeed! Her first two competitions were a good start, she was very careful and hesitant, so she did not really run at her full speed, but other than that she was being her crazy self - barky, crazy, wild. But still focused and attentive. I love running with her! But her runs were - all of them - almost clean! Some wrong tunnel entries, an extra tunnel, or a missed contact here and there, that's pretty much it. On her third competition I could already see the "Gargamel look" on her face, crazy, willing to eat anything on her way :) Definitely still careful and hesitant, but faster. She had a clean run in jumping and was disqualified in agility, because she ran past the A-frame. She is not confident on A-frame as we train is so very little, once a month.

A lot of people are asking me about life with Winnie, about her parents and if I intend to have puppies with her, so I'll just answer them all here...

So what is life like with Winnie?

Difficult. Very difficult. She used to be terribly fearful, now she is "just" fearful. She hates dogs, she doesn't like other people, she only loves me and some of my friends and family. She is snobbish and has an enormous ego. She loves chewing everything she finds, she never sleeps, only at night (but not always). She is never tired, the more you run and walk with her, the more energy she has. She steals food from everyone and from everywhere. She can open any drawer, cupboard, box or bag if there's food in it. She jumps on the furniture, she barks at strangers, she loves to tug on sleeves and trousers. As a puppy she didn't want to play at all, I had to teach her how to play.

Still, all that said, it's so easy to love her. She's just irresistable! There aren't many things she loves, but she puts all her efforts and energy into things and people she loves. She loves life, she loves me, she loves Ben, she loves working and she LOVES agility. She's always happy, and always up to something. She will do anything to have it her way and always succeeds in it. On our walks she is constantly in the air, all of a sudden she comes around running full speed to jump into my lap. Out of nowhere. Sometimes she will do it every minute! She gives me a zillion kisses all over my face everyday. She's a master of disaster :) On agility, the world it hers. She learns everything in a minute, she memorizes way better than I do, she runs like hell, and she never stops. When you want to give her a break she runs on her own. Her eyes glitter when she sees agility obstacles. She grew from a nightmare into my dream dog, she fits perfectly with me and Ben, there are no words to explain how special she is to me, she's my hero.

To answer the second question above - no, I do not intend to have puppies with her. She is too tiny and too fearful, but my main reason is that I don't want to go through with this with her, I'm terrified something might go wrong and I really don't intend to have a puppy for a long time, so... Ben and Winnie keep me occupied every day, I can't find the time to sleep.

And Winnie's parents? Tourbillon d'o bleue de Loubajac and Dark Angel de Loubajac.

Photo by Uroš Bokal

Photo by Uroš Bokal

Photo by Uroš Bokal

Photo by Uroš Bokal

Photo by Uroš Bokal
Have to go, dinner time :)

A video of Winnie on training: Winnie training
And Winnie on competition: Winnie starting her agility career

petek, 24. avgust 2012

Website


I am preparing a new website... The focus will be on my dogs, of course, including everything we do - agility, tricks, hiking, dog dancing, working with children, etc.

So at the moment I am working on Winnie's and Ben's presentation videos, trying to cover their personalities as much as possible. This should take some time, but good things always take time ;)

For now just two photos, I chose them as they really are like mirrors of their personalities :)

Photo by Laurence Schlick
Photo by Metka Buček

ponedeljek, 06. avgust 2012

Summer photos + Winnie agility video

It's been hot as in hell lately. Up to 36°C. I guess I could say we don't really like the heat, but we're acutally dealing pretty well with it. We've been swimming A LOT! As I will soon be left without a job (really sad about it, since I enjoyed working in Komen so much!) and it wouldn't be wise to go on holidays now, we often visit our friends and spend time there, much cheaper but still loads of fun. Being a water-addict I actually appreciate the heat, as it is a great excuse for swimming! Ben and Winnie both love swimming too, Winnie has discovered a new discipline - water jumps, it's so much faster to reach a ball floating on water. Ben prefers the slow way, he seems really relieved about the water temperature.






















And swimming is pretty much all we can do in this heat, too hot for hiking, agility or anything else. Big big BIG thanks to Iztok Noč for the photos, Iztok is a great photographer who has photographed many many agility events and dogs all around the world, if you're interested in Iztok's photography, you can check out some of his pictures on his website: http://myspace.agility-slo.net/

And of course, a promissed video of Winnie on agility! Oh yes, that's my girl! <3 a="a" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftHgx7xa2rY&list=UUez0_epfFZI1yJu6_K5Xjtw&index=1&feature=plcp">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftHgx7xa2rY&list=UUez0_epfFZI1yJu6_K5Xjtw&index=1&feature=plcp

torek, 17. julij 2012

Winnie the Maniac, Winnie the Brainiac



I've always been saying she's a talented girl. But she's a lot more than that. When she was two months old, I took her to agility with me, when I wanted to train with Ben. While setting the course I looked away for a second and I found her in the middle of the dogwalk. Then the next minute she was on the A-frame, and within the next few seconds I found her climbing the see-saw, that's when I needed to cut it off and run to catch her before it  bangs the floor. Every time we went to agility field, she would try to climb any of the contact-obstacles. She also wouldn't let Ben run, but would run after him into the tunnels, on the contacts, just everywhere, and try to get ahead of him, ever since she was little, she's been trying to tell the world she should be the only one and always the best one. I thought it must be a pyr-shep thing to climb anything one can reach - dogwalk, rocks, furniture or my head, whatever. But as she grew bigger, I realized these are not just her funny ideas, I realized she was born for agility, it's her passiosn, her job, something that makes a meaning to her life, she looked like she only lives for agility.


When I started to teach her running contacts, I just couldn't believe my eyes. She would do a few repetitions and then I stopped, as I didn't want to train too much, but she just wouldn't stop, she went back to the tunnel and run over the plank again and again and again, no reward, she would just run on her own. When we took Silvia Trkman's foundations class, she mastered everyhing with ease, cik&cap, contacts, serpentines, outs, whatever... And she was just getting crazier and crazier every day, to a degree when I couldn't get her off of agility field, as she wouldn't come to me when I wanted to end the training. She is so funny, when she runs on her own, she is incredibly intelligent and she runs all by herself, you just need to show her what to do and then she doesn't need you anymore, as you can remember from the end of this video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CjonEBfZG8&feature=autoplay&list=HL1340978076&playnext=6


But today was the biggest surprise ever. Lately, we've been running some corridors with poles in a slightly narrow corridor which wasn't even close to what is called slalom. I decided not to close it for a while as I wanted to train entries and other things first and I really didn't want to hurry with closing it. And then after a 2-weeks-break I went with Simona Limona to Postojna to train A-frame with Winnie and Simona wanted to train contacts with Nike. I did some A-frames with Winnie and the we were standing on the fielnd with Simona, talking and chating about something, when suddely I saw Winnie doing the weaves all on her own. She got bored as I was chatting and as usually she decided to run on her own and she just started weaving, how on earth did she learn that?!?! She looks fast and furious, like she's been doing it all her life! That is one genious of a dog! 


But she is not only intelligent on agility, she is incredibly cute and intelligent elswhere too. We went to Bohinj yesterday, with Simona and her dogs again, to take a swim in the most beautiful lake in Slovenia. Winnie disappeared in the woods for a second, I called her and whe she came back running, I gave her a treat. She then again went to the woods, I called her and gave her a treat once again when she came back running. And again, she went to the woods, I looked at her and I saw her standing there, looking at me, and then I learned she is doing it on purpose, we started laughing and called her and she ran to me like crazy for her treat. It was so funny that we just had to let her trick us a few more times :) If I could just give her another pedigree name, I'd call her "Life is too short to be boring".


Other than that, I gave up on her growing up. She still chews all my clothes, all food containers, all plastic objects, everything she finds, she still bites me on agility out of hysteria, I'll soon be left without any clothes, she still doesn't sleep, she still can't be left alone for 5 minutes if not in her crate, she still wakes me up in the middle of the night. I don't think she'll ever grow up, in fact, she is getting crazier everyday, now she is getting crazy for water, she wants to work 24/7, her energy has no limits. Just what I wanted! 

petek, 13. julij 2012

At School

Some children really love learning, it's such a pleasure to see children eager to learn! You would think children long for holidays, especially at the end of the school year, but you might be surprised how enthusiastic they are about learning, if only marks aren't involved. Children love learning, but they don't like being evaluated. During the first week of holidays we organised a kind of a workshop for children at our school (OŠ Komen). The workshop mostly included English lessons for small children (6, 7, 8, 9 years of age), but pupils also had some Italian and some sports, art, dancing and singing lessons inbetween.

I just couldn't help myself brniging my little Ben to school with me. Ben is just brilliant with children, he loves everybody and everybody loves him. All he needed to do was to stay with us all day until 4.p.m. and do some tricks with children, play and pose for the camera. A piece of cake for little Ben. I've always been saying that if Ben was a pupil, he would sit at the first bench, with glasses on his nose, the geeky one. He's sure proven me right :) Just look at the pictures of him, what a geek :)


However there are some things to be taken into consideration before taking a dog to school.
A very important thing is that the dog is comfortable with children, that he enjoys being around them, that he enjoys being cuddled and that he enjoys working with them. Children don't have a good self-control, they would all gather around the dog at once and try to cuddle him and boss him around. Ben enjoys attention, he would work with any child and he feels very comfortable and happy around them. It's also much easier if the dog is small, for a simple reason - children are less afraid. Big dogs can be a lot nicer than smaller ones, but big dogs are more likely to stir fear than small ones and I've never seen a child being terrified of little funny Ben. Another quality of Ben's is his coat. Poodles don't shed hair and their coat is hypoallergic (allergen free), so eventhough we had an allergic girl in the class, she was completely fine working with Ben.


I think Ben was born to work with people, children, to play a clown, to be cuddled, to be a mascot. I really enjoyed the whole week, but it felt kind of sad when it ended, knowing I'll never teach these children again, they are so special and so good. But it makes me happy to see how much fun they had and how much they loved every minute spent at the workshop. The whole week was very full and stressful, I needed a lot of preparations, but it was worth every extra minute of my free time.

petek, 08. junij 2012

Happy birthday, Ben!!!


Life is too short to be boring :) I know I'm late with Ben's birthday, but it's impossible to keep up with all the things right now. Lately my life has been a big mess, I could really use some organisational skills! Some big downfalls too, here and there, but I just don't give up on smiling that easily! This one sure fits me well: "I'm too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful and too determinate to be defeated", I guess I've always been a dreamer, not that I do not face reality, but I always make reality a dream. 

Right now I have a LOT of work at school with my children, and I love every bit of it. I also work in the afternoon sometimes, and in the meantime we go for a walk and train in the evening. Thank god, the days are long now.

At the weekends we spend all the time with friends, mostly with Simona Limona & co., and others too. Every weekend we have a competition, we still have a lot of off-courses with Ben, but he is finally jumping better and running faster. His contacts need some revision, though, so do his weaves... But aactually he is doing pretty well, but we both need more training. We could also get the opportunity to run on EO in Sweden, but I had to turn it down right away for several reasons.

No, that's not even half of it, we're also learning lots of new stuff with Ben, mostly distance training and new tricks for some commercial purposes, so actually we're never home. Alive and kicking.

And now happy happy birthday to the sweetest dog in the world, my little monkey, my Joey Tribbiani, my biggest admirer, my curly little clown, my soulmate, my everything. He sure is one of a kind, they don't make dogs like this anymore... :)

And don't worry, an update on Winnie coming up soon, too :) I'm planning to make a video of Winnie running agility soon, but it's so difficult to find the time!