Sushi was born in November 2005 as a result of an accidental mating of my husband’s Wolfhound cross Dusty with a Wolfhound cross Sasha who had been left with my husbands family and abandoned by her owners. From the start, Sushi was a very independent little girl that was happy to explore the world and do her own thing. One after the other, all her litter mates found homes and Sushi was the last one left. I had just lost my dog that had died of gastric volvulus and did not want to have another dog. But no one wanted to give the little girl a home and she stayed with me.
At first her temperament provided a challenge for our training. Having trained my previous dog based on negative reinforcement and the occasional pat, I quickly discovered that my little hound did not respond well to this approach to training. But then I discovered positive reinforcement training and training started to progress well. Our first experience with dog sport was with agility. Sushi loved every minute of it and turned out to be a real talent. Next on the list was Canine disc. Again, Sushi excelled and became North Queensland’s Novice Canine disc champion in 2011. Unfortunately, due to her willingness to always give 110% and my then limited experience in training sports dogs, she has always been prone to injuries which prevented her to further compete in agility and canine disc.
But it did not stop her from tracking! We started tracking in 2009 after a workshop with Mal Holland. And we were hooked from the start. Sushi has always loved to follow her nose and now she could put it to good use. At the start of her tracking career, she thought speed was of essence and always finished her tracks in record time. Indication of articles has always been a challenge, I think in Suhsi’s mind indicating is a waste of time that distracts from the end goal; finding the lost person! And sometimes we tracked so fast that we overshot the corner and lost the track. Within the increasing challenge of harder and longer tracks Sushi slowed down a little and has become even more focused on the track.
Sushi gaining her tracking champion title was a very special moment for me. I also hope it will encourage other handlers with mixed breed dogs to give tracking a go and discover how much fun it is!
Sushi has been my friend, companion and teacher. She has taught me some valuable lessons over the years. Every time I thought I knew the way better than her, she showed me that I should always trust my dog, because she knows better! More than once she found her way back to the track after I insisted on taking a different way. She also taught me that positive reinforcement, kindness and patience in training will give you a dog that really enjoys to work and will try hard to get it right.
TRACKING CHAMPION 2011