My princesses

My photo
Sava Sara Brakada, AKA Xsara was born on 06-27-2004. She was raised in Kennel Brakada spending the first two months of her life on beautiful countryside Gorenjska (Slovenia) with her siblings and parents. As soon as she came to Ljubljana we started a puppy class, followed by an obedience class. She passed her B-bh exam with 96 points (instructor Agility EO winner Polona Bonač). We now continue with Rally-Obedience under Polona's supervision. Our biggest passion however is Agility. We started our first Agility class in October 2005 (club Agility Ilirija, instructor Silvia Trkman, two times agility world champion). When Silvia stopped teaching agility classes, we switched to Daša Zakotnik. We regularly participate in Agility trials in Slovenia and sometimes abroad. Xsara also loves to learn new dog tricks, you can see some of them in our videos. Her other passions include long walks, big meals and playing with dogs, specially her pyr shep sister Tani, her crazy agility pals and her sister Sena.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Teaching Tricks

We are getting a lot of questions about teaching tricks, so I posted some indications in Xsara's Forum. If your dog knows any fun tricks, you can share them with us, we would love to read about them.
One of the most difficult things we had to learn (besides the destroying-things-is-NOT-good lesson) was how to play. Some dogs always love to play, you just show them a ball or start tugging and that's it. Xsara is not that kind. I had to intentionally teach her how to play (I used the food tube because she likes food). She's crazy about her yellow toy now and training is a lot easier this way. However some dogs might never get toy crazy and that's fine, they just need another type of motivation. But I guess the more ways you can get your dog's attention, the better.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Puppy Disaster

People always assume Xsara was an obedient puppy because she knows so many tricks now. To tell you the truth - she wasn't! She was destroying my things, listened to me only when she wanted to and she was making me crazy sometimes. The only reason why this behavior changed is TRAINING. She is teaching me so much about dogs, difficult dogs will do that to you. To show you what I mean, I created this funny album with some of her best artworks (I didn't make photos of all of them, mainly because at one point I stopped finding it funny). You can view it clicking on this button:

Seeing this photos anyone will agree I simply have to work with her if I want to live with her, and I love every second of our training. I really believe she needs this - she was bred for work and since I can't go hunting with her, the least I can do is work with her in a different way. And working with her is the best thing in my life. When I can see how she finally understood a new trick or finish a nice run with her, that's just the best feeling ever. It's as close to perfection as one can get!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

First Snow

First of all: we got our first blog award thanks to our new friend Momo. She says: "this award is presented to a successful blogger, one who can “be the blog” - making it their own, staying with it, interacting with the readers, and just plain having fun." Thank you so much, Momo! We want to pass it onto Jazz and Dixie, Randi, Pacco, and Million Dollar.

This morning we got our first snow of the year in Ljubljana. I'm not crazy about snow but Xsara loves it so much that I'm still happy when I see it outside. The snow is not visible on this picture from our morning walk, but it started snowing a lot more just now so it will definitely be more obvious on the next pictures. Since we couldn't go to Belgium we will at least manage to give Xsara a nice long walk in the snow.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good, Bad And In Between

Good news and bad news.
The good news is Xsara is one of the calendar girls for Slovenian Agility Calendar. You can view the entire calendar and order it on Agility Portal. I think that Andraz Cerar and Iztok Noc have done an amazing job, again! The calendar is just beautiful.
The bad news is we had to cancel the agility trial in Belgium (Kortrijk Euro Dog Show) because two of the girls we were supposed to go with got sick and have very high fever. We were really looking forward to it but health comes first. If the weather is nice we will use the weekend to go somewhere else instead.

Another thing I want to share - I just loved the tip of the month by Maureen deHaan in the latest issue of Clean Run: "When things go really bad and frustrating during a training session, stop and hug your dog. You can't hug your dog and be mad at the same time." Very nicely put and so very true - don't you agree?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

So Much To Do

We are working on a lot of things at the moment. First of all we are trying to improve our turns using Silvia Trkman's famous Cik&Cap method. You can read all about it on her very cool and educational website which can be found clicking here. We're still in the inital part of it because I don't want to rush her. I want her to be 100% sure what I want from her before I start including it in our agility training. I don't want her to be confused about anything - plus it wouldn't really help our training since the main goal is to improve times and you can't do that if the dog is unsure.
Other than that we are working on changing position from distance for our RO class. It's going very well - she can now go from lay down to sit, from sit to lay down and from sit to stand from about 10m to 15m away from me, which is quite good for two days of training it.
Of course we are also working on some new tricks but I'm not giving out anything - it will all be in Xsara's new video which I will hopefully manage to make very soon.
For those who haven't noticed I also posted Slovenian agility regulations in Xsara's Forum. Check it out if you are interested. That's it for today - have fun by

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Crazy Agility People

I remember the first time I thought we were becomming obsessed with agility. We had been training for a couple of months and my trainer Silvia Trkman told me I could come again on Saturday. "But Saturday is Christmas Eve ...". She gave me a very confused look: "That's OK, you can come next week then". And all I could think was - I would rather be here than anywhere else. I mean, I was gonna take Xsara for a walk anyway, what difference does it make. We usually go out of town for New Year but not Christmas, I'm never having people over for dinner since everybody knows I can't cook, and most of all "what else would I rather do on my day off"? I guess that Christmas Eve I officially became
The crazy agility person - and proud of it!

This Saturday we had no trials - the season is over and Winter Cup hasn't started yet. We're going to do some trials abroad and train a little more until this break lasts. Fortunately we have a lot to work on!

Thanks to Sandra for this photo.