Welcome to the Party! - Molly Sumridge Introduction
Hi Couch Wolves Members!
Your response to the website and the group has been amazing, so it’s about time the staff formally introduce ourselves. I'll start with a little about me.
A lot of my colleagues think I was dropped on my head around the time a graduated from college. I grew up with German Shepherds, who lives a totally different life from the dogs I surround myself with today. It all started one day about 20 years ago, when I met a small fuzzy orange dog in a veterinarian’s office. We locked eyes and that was the beginning of the rest of my life.
The dog I connected with was a Shiba Inu. My friends, family, fellow trainers and even my vet thought I was crazy when I got my first Shiba. But I was the one that thought they were crazy. I had met my soulmate dog. Five Shiba Inus and a cattle dog mix later, I had accumulated numerous obedience titles and was perplexed at where these legendary untrainable dogs were hiding. In the meantime, my education in dogs, behavior, training and hands on skills grew exponentially. My colleagues and hundreds of clients taught me a lot. My dogs taught me so much more.
Then I decided to needed more. I am a firm believer to go to the source for answers to questions. Go to the source of a problem, a challenge, or a theory. Since I couldn’t find an “untrainable dog in Shibas, Basenjis, Akitas, CAS, Canaans, Carolina Dogs, ect, I had to go deeper, rarer. I can’t recall how it happened but I think it was the Animal Planet Dogs 101 video on New Guinea Singing Dogs, that got stuck in my brain and never left. I had found my teacher. Like a novice in search of a wise master, I wanted to find a dog that would push my knowledge, passion, patience, and creativity. I was going to a raise and train a Singer for dog sports and burn into my brain every lesson along the way.
In 2012, I was entrusted with a little brown and black fuzzball with a tiny white blaze on his nose. I looked him in the eye and knew we had a long road ahead. To honor this, I named my Singer Kihaku’s Road Less Traveled, call name "Journey". And it has been all that and more.
Journey has done a lot in the five years he’s been on this earth. He has been to conferences like Clicker Expo and Fenzi Dog Sports Camp. He has met a laundry list of admired professionals. And our hard work has paid off, too. As of the publishing of this piece, Journey has earned numerous Rally Titles, Barn Hunt Titles, CGC titles, and even competed at an Obedience and Rally Championship! Presently we are actively competing in those sports as well as Nose Work. We begin working formal obedience and agility titles this year!
The rest of the crew participate in just about everything either at competition level or at least enthusiast. Agility, Barn Hunt, Nose Work, Obedience, Rally, Tracking, Tricks, Canicross, Pet Manners, and even models in commercials!
The speed of my dog’s titles has nothing to do with training ability and everything to do with my free time. It’s hard to make time for competitions with two businesses, seven dogs, multiple Board positions, an in-progress manuscript, all while pursuing a Masters Degree in Anthrozoology. Through all these commitments, my dogs are stalwart companions. I am blessed to have these special dogs in my life I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
Everything I have learned has been influenced by them. I never employ a technique that is not primitive dog approved. Only the most empathic and motivating results for these wise and special dogs. They have put up with us for thousands of years. They deserve the best understanding and cooperation I can.
My primitive dogs have been the richest, most worthwhile journey of a lifetime. I implore more passionate trainers and pet owners to consider a primitive dog in their life. But only if you’re ready to split your heart and mind in two and share them for the lifetime of this dog and possibly beyond. Just remember to bring not just love and patience, but also a lot of chicken!
My crew and their titles as of this posting:
Innisfree Mashigura of Kihaku HIT, BN, PCD, CD, ASCA-CD, CD-C, CDX-C, GN, RE, RL1-AOE, RL2-AOE, ITD, RATI, RATN, CGCA, CGCU, All Star Team 2010 & 2012, - "Mashi" (Shiba Inu)
Nozomi Kihaku Tsuki No Usagi - RLP-AOE, RLPX, RL1-AOE, CGCA, CGCU, TKI, "Saga" (Shiba Inu)
Niji's Queen of the Dragons RN, THD, RATI, RATN, CGCA, CGCU, All Star Team 2012, - "Saphira" (Shiba Inu)
Kihaku's Poetry in Motion RLV-AOE, CA, CGCA, - "Haiku" (Shiba Inu)
Saras Himalaya's Epic of Kihaku - "Shinra" (Tibetan Mastiff)
ARCH Kihaku's Follow Your Heart RL1-AOE, RL1X, RL2-AOE, CGCA, CGCU, TKI, All Star Team 2014, - "Tracker" (Australian Cattle Dog Mix)
Kihaku's Road Less Traveled RLP, RLPX, RL1, TOTs - All, ORTs - All, RATI, RATN, CGCA, All Star Team 2014, - "Journey" (New Guinea Singing Dog)