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Many people ask me how I actually got into dog dancing. I´d like to briefly explain just how far someone can get even without a clear aim, the basic requirements or the support of those around you…. Read on:

The year was 1988 and I was born into a family whose only pet had once been a canary, but even he had to find a new home following repeated damage caused to the flat’s interior.... The path that led me to the world of dogs was not at all easy following fish, Benda the rabbit, (named after MP Václav Benda, the choice of which, at the age of 5 is still beyond me), tears, tantrums and promises. At the beginning of my first year at school my dad brought me, under his jacket, a longed-for Dachshund puppy. Looking back, when I weigh it up, it was the nicest thing he ever did...

Fears that I would get bored with the dog never materialised. On the contrary, I took Mates out religiously and taught him useful things like jumping through hoops or bringing the remote control.

With moving out to the wider centre of Prague came an ideal opportunity to acquire another dog. So, at the end of 2001, arrived a new member of our pack – Chihuahua Bastien Z Lipanské, who I renamed Brutus. My enthusiasm for the pup was dampened by our biology teacher, who during a lesson declared the Chihuahua to be a stupid breed of dog. Infuriated, I decided to do something about it – I enrolled Brutus and myself on a training class. The first one I tried wouldn’t take us, but I gained a place at dog training school Ambra. Brutus completed the basic training course, where, in fact, we both learnt something. With his help I passed the test ZOP, (Test of Dog Control), with a score of 96/100 pts. Traditional obedience training didn’t yet interest me. Soon after, however, a local school opened a course for children and dogs lad by Martina Nováková. She and her Belgian Shepherd performed mostly agility exercises, but her dog also demonstrated something of canine musical freestyle. As soon as I saw her dog perform I knew I wanted to learn such a thing with Brutus :-)

I started teaching Brutus individual dog dancing exercises. Through basic exercises such as turns, circling, slalom etc. I reached a point where no-one else from the group was able to match, but I wanted to go on. So I advanced on my own. I gradually taught Brutus various techniques of the more demanding exercises, “off-face”, in which the dog mustn’t look at the handler. During this time we also took part in our first competition – in 2004 in Blansko at the competition “Dances with Dogs” where we finished 2nd out of 18 contestants. Now I have dozens of tournaments behind me but I’ll never forget the stress of that first appearance.

In 2006 Brutus was killed by a cross-breed American Pit-bull Terrier. It was an awful time, and even now I don’t like looking back on it. At that time, though, I had at home little Roxy. Gradually the group grew to today’s count of three Chihuahuas and Brandy the Australian Shepherd, whose successes you can read about under their individual profiles.

Thanks to the dogs I’ve met, and continue to meet, countless interesting people, I’ve made good friends and enemies, travelled across a huge portion of Europe and received offers from several interesting events. Dog breeding isn’t my whole life. I think of it as a hobby and leisure activity rather than work. If someone had told me back then, while I was bringing up little Brutus, what was to come, and that in ten years I’d be Freestyle World Championship silver medallist, I’d have thought they were crazy. But can you really define what it is to be ‘normal’?


Vanda Gregorová

Prague 2012