Václav Ouška: Respect for all Competitors
Václav Ouška was born on 29th of March 1982 in Jindřichův Hradec. He lived in Kardašova Řečice, where he also attended the elementary school. He graduated from Secondary Forestry School in Pisek, so his profession is actually a gamekeeper :-). However, he has never done this profession as his job. After completing his military service, he joined the police force, where he is working to this date. He works as a special forces dog handler for detection of explosive accelerants and explosives. He is married and lives with his family in Novosedly nad Nežárkou. He has two children with his wife– Marie Anna (3.5 years) and Jan Matěj (1.5 years). Vasek’s biggest succes in dog sport is the WUSV World Champion title, which he won on 9th of October 2016 in Meppen, Germany.
Vasek, WUSV World Championship 2016 is behind us. What are your feelings after achieving such a fabulous result with your dog Qvido Vepeden?
It is definitely my biggest success in life so far. The reality is still not hitting the home somehow. I have never ever thought that I could win WUSV…
What were your expectations and feelings when you were leaving for Meppen and how are you feeling now?
I was really looking forward to going to Meppen after seeing last year’s BSP (Bundessiegerprüfung), which I attended as a spectator. I knew how beautiful the stadium and atmosphere were. I was secretly hoping we could finish in the top ten with Qvido, that was my dream . I have even managed to beat that dream and I am incredibly happy :-).
Have you ever been center of so much attention? What does it mean to you – are you enjoying the attention, that is for sure coming your way now?
I have never ever experienced so much attention that we are getting now after winning the WUSV. I really appreciate all the people who kept their fingers crossed and cheered us on. Whether they did it from their home or at the stadium. I would like to say thank you to all of them once again. It was my honour, thank you! 🙂
Are you a person who likes to be in the spotlights? 🙂 What about nerves , how do you handle those? Do you have a recipe how to overcome the nerves?
I do not particularly like being center of attention. I like to live my life and I do not like to draw too much attention. As for the nerves … I discovered that there are more important things in life after my children were born, so I am not getting very nervous now . Although I do still get this healthy adrenaline rush before the competition, I love that! 🙂 I do not really have any general recipe how to conquer the nerves, but I went fishing with my daughter before obedience and protection at WUSV and that for sure calmed me down :-).
Where did you and your daughter go fishing ? Have you been poaching, or do you have a fishing permit? What do you use to catch the fish –bottom bouncer,float, or both? You know, I come from a fishing family … 🙂
We were fishing at the place of our accommodation in Holland. It was an artificial lake with a large numbers of breams. The fishing permit came free within the accommodation. We were succesfully using bottom bouncer and float as well … and Czech bone worms as a bait. Success guaranteed 🙂 We got about 30 breams!
Could you try to describe what winning the WUSV means to you? How do you feel? What are the purest feelings?
To me, the victory at the WUSV means the pinacle of the dog sport – the most that can be achieved. When someone says “WUSV “ I feel respect for other competitors. I am glad I was able to participate there and I am already looking forward to attending this prestigious competition few more times.
How long have you been involved in dog sport and when did you start training dogs? With what breeds do you have experience in training?
I started with dog sport basically in early childhood. I was applying my first training attempts to my grandmother’s Dachshund. My journey then continued through hunting breeds (Czech Pointing Griffon, German Shorthaired Pointer, Wirehaired Dachshund) until I discovered the service dogs and got to my cherished breed, which is the German Shepherd. As I had the opportunity to work with people who were at the top of IPO (Martin Matousek, Jaromír Vácha, Martin Pejša), I got involved in the dog sport. I also have experience with Belgian Shepherd and Rottweiler. I am currently looking forward to the Bavarian Mountain Hound puppy.
What does the world of dog sport mean to you?
Dog sport for me is fun, friends, happiness, stress, huge adrenaline rush and fullfilment of my life.
Do you have any other hobbies?
My job and service dog work are my hobbies besides dog sport. I think, that both disciplines have their own charm and overlap each other. My two kids are another of my hobbies.They do not leave me much time “to breathe”. I have to engage them in the dog training and preparation of dogs for sport :-). My other past times are going to the forest, where I basically grew up and fishing. I am really not bored at all :-).
That is really interesting, how exactly do you include your little children in dog training? 🙂 Are you a gamekeeper then Vasek ?
I involve them mostly as a distractions of all sorts and levels. Unpredictable behaviour and screams of children really do prepare the dog for anything :-). We also prepared Qvído for tracking with Marijanka. She was putting articles and dry food down for him and laid the tracks. Qvído enjoyed it and so did she :-). Yes, I am a gamekeeper since childhood.
What is important to you in relationship with a dog you are training and competing with?
For me, it is important to see the dog’s potential. Because of my experience with hunting dogs, I know that the dog either has inherited traits and is usable for the work or not.
What is Qvido like?
Qvido is my “little pony” as I often call him because of his size :-). It is a dog with a big appetite for work as well as food, which I really appreciate about him. He is ready to work anytime and anywhere. I like him :-).
How would you describe your part of relationship with Qvido? What good and bad qualities do you both have?
I am the one with most of the bad qualities in this relationship :-). Sometimes I am lazy and cannot be bothered… but Qvido won’t let me get too lazy :-).
Is Qvido stronger in one particular phase, more so than in the others? How often do you train and how are you preparing for competitions?
I think his strongest phases are protection and obedience. We were struggling a lot with tracking because of his temperament, but we finally sussed it out. I train every day if I can. I pay a lot of attention to fitness, so we are going for bike rides and swim regularly. The final preparation before the competitons are then done at various football pitches. One can achieve nothing alone. I am lucky that I have a bunch of great friends from ZKO Suchdol nad Lužnicí around me. One of them is Jenda Böhm who finished second at this year’s FCI IPO World Championship. He is my good friend and when it comes to training our dogs we compliment and help each other. I would like to use this opportunity and thank them all once more.
Is there something special about Qvido? Did you choose him as a puppy? What was different about him compared to other puppies?
Perhaps that he is big :-). I like big dogs. I had a pick of the litter and I took the biggest one. I would like to say thank you to his breeders Petr Veselka and Petra Plsová for breeding a superb litter.
To what extent do you think the future success lies on the quality of the dog and the handler? How much in your opinion success depends on the combination of other circumstances? In other words, what do you think is needed to achieve such a great result that you are now celebrating with Qvido? 🙂
I think, that primarily the handler and the dog must get on really well with each other and training must be fun for them. Then high goals can be achieved. After that, it is just about how much time, money and other comforts do you want to give up. It is same as in other sports – nothing is for free.
Could you please describe each of your individual performances on WUSV 2016?
Protection:When I drew number 106 and I have found out that I am starting with protection again. This was for the third time I had attended the WUSV (for the first time it was in 2013 in the USA and then in 2014 in France) and started with protection. I thought to myself that it was no longer a coincidence :-). I was pleased that my “little pony” worked to his usual standard which he was producing reliably in training. I can only thank you again to my amazing helper Jenda Böhm: “Thanks, buddy!”
Obedience: Strangely enough I was not nervous at all before we went on the field, although the adrenalin was pumped around my body to the max. I immensely enjoyed it and so did my “little pony “. I felt the vibes from the cheering grandstand – what a wonderful experience for me , this is what I am training for.
Tracking: Our weakest phase. I have concentrated mainly on tracking during our preparation and I think that the hard work has paid off. When he lie down on the last article, everyone in Czech Republic must have heard that proverbial “rock” that fell from my heart! 🙂
Even though I had my biggest concerns about tracking, the fate arranged it so that I was not and could not get nervous at all. My son got injured after the obedience. He fell on his head and had to be transported by the ambulance to the hospital, where they kept him till next morning for observation. I would like to say thank you to all staff from the Meppen hospital for a very professional and friendly approach. For the entire Thursday and Friday I was travelling between the hospital and the hotel. I have then realized how fragile everything is. The success and fall go hand in hand and the line between them is very thin. Fortunately, everything turned out ok. My friend drove my family and my son up to the tracking fields and me and Qvido could start our tracking in peace.
What was it like waiting for two days for the result, even though you were already finished in all three phases? 🙂
Given the events of previous days, all nervousness and everything else disappeared straight away when we finished our last phase. All that was then left was just pure euphoria. I knew that I would be in the top five and that really made my day. I felt unbelievably happy already and eternally grateful. The fact that we won , was like an incredible dream of a completely ordinary boy from Southern Bohemia – and yet it was all true! 🙂
Vasek, last year you competed with dog Yraus Terezský dvůr (with whom you became the Champion of RKČR 2015) at the IFR World Championship – are you able to train any dog? 🙂
Any dog can be trained to some extent, but each one of them has that limit somewhere else. It depends on a dog and on a breed. The last year’s IFR was a great experience for me and I am glad that I could participate in the Rottweiler World Championship and represent the Czech Republic.
Do you have any canine related dreams and goals?
My goal and my dream is to continue to enjoy my work with dogs and that the work keeps me fullfiled.
What is really important to you in everyday life? How did you change when you became a dad?
Family is the most important thing to me.Nothing can be achieved, if one is not chilled at home and haven’t got a clear head. Therefore, I would like to thank my beloved wife Monička that she managed to survive everything with me. My life had turned around by 100% when my children were born. I had a rethink about lots of things and it really is true that “If a life is not at stake, nothing is. “
May I ask you a very private question? When you talk about your children and wife Vasek, have you been present at the birth of your children?
Yes, I was present at both births, but both children were eventually born by Caesarean section. So I was behind the door anyway – it was even more stressful … 🙂
How do you like to relax? Do you like sleeping? What is your favourite food and music ? Do you have any bad habits?
Relaxation for me is going fishing or when I am sitting in the woods and just looking around, switch off and feeling the beauty of the nature. I am definitely not a morning person, I like to sleep and I hate getting up … 🙂 As far as food goes, I like meat in any way, shape or form, fresh fish and seafood. On the other hand, I do not like pasta. My habit is definitely unpunctuality. I always have enough time for everything and then I am rushing around … like with this interview for example :-).
What are your future plans with Qvido? Are you going to have a holidays now or are you going to continue training straight away?
My future plans are MM ČKNO in Suchdol nad Odrou. We are looking forward to it already and then WUSV 2017 in Holland. We are definitely going to have a break now and start training properly again in the spring … That is, if my “littlle pony” let me have a rest.
Do you have any life motto?
“If you are prepared you wont be surprised!”
And a little note at the end?
Enjoy life while it lasts … 🙂
Interview: Draha Mašková
Translation: Marketa Braierova
Photo: Tereza Suchánková and author’s archive