Meet K9 Nash and his mum Sarah.
The dog with big goals, that despite a health set back, is still absolutely rocking the canine sports world.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? How long have you been training dogs?
My name is Sarah. I am a Veterinary Nurse and Dog Trainer with Australian Search and Rescue K9. Being in the Veterinary Industry, I have always been exposed to dogs that require training and socialisation and therefore about 5 years ago I started to get interested in canine behaviour. I have been training dogs with Australian Search and Rescue K9 for 4 years in a formal capacity and train a number of those dogs outside of ASARK9 as well.
What is your favourite breed and why?
Definitely Australian Koolies! I love their trainability, work ethic, loyalty and their ability to adapt to any situation.
What sports are you most interested in?
Dock Diving and Agility but we are also interested in Lure Coursing.
Tell us about Mr K9 Nash. Where did he come from?
Nash is an Australian Koolie who has just turned 3. He was bred in Northern Queensland. At the time I was looking for my next Search and Rescue Dog so I got Nash’s breeder to undertake a number of tests with her puppies to select which one would suit me best and would hopefully be successful in SAR. Nash was a clear winner so he was put on a plane and flown down to me in Melbourne to begin his working career!
What did you training look like when he was a puppy?
The number one goal I had for Nash as a puppy and a SAR prospect was to be confident in any situation. We started environmental socialisation the day after he flew down here. Taking him to as many places as possible, as many surfaces, noises, distractions you name it!
I also did a number of confidence games at home with him to build our relationship and his confidence. For example, I would set up a bunch of boxes on top of each other and put his food in for him to find. The boxes would sometimes collapse and fall down but he never cared and these were all perfect signs that he was going to be a very good Search Dog who wasn’t going to be fazed by much.
It was also important to build a lot of value in our relationship as Search and Rescue requires a lot of teamwork and we have to be able to trust each other.
What sports does he participate in?
Nash currently competes in Dock Diving and Agility – These keep us pretty busy but he is also a truffle hunting dog in the Winter months with Koolies Nose. Nash also loves nothing more than riding his skateboard, especially with my nephew on his board!
Tell us about your discovery of Border Collie Collapse? How has it affected what you do?
Nash was on a Search and Rescue Training exercise and he came out of the bush and collapsed. Originally we were suspecting snake bite so he was rushed to emergency but eventually given the all clear with no known cause. Over the next couple of weeks he had a number of episodes so I took him into work and he had a full examination, full blood work including blood tests for his heart which all came back normal.
The next step was to see the specialist Cardiologist who performed an ECHO and ECG on Nash to rule out any heart conditions. Luckily Nash’s heart was fine and the Cardiologist actually owns a Border Collie with BCC and then diagnosed Nash.
BCC is when Nash is in a high state of arousal (excitement) and he can no longer regulate his body temperature so he overheats and collapses. The good news is, he only takes less than 5 minutes to recover and there’s no long term effects. The bad news is there’s no cure and it can only be managed.
Our whole lives came crashing down as this meant that I had to retire him from any more search and rescue as the risk was too high to him.
We spent some time digesting this information and then I decided we could start competing in Dock Diving, as Nash had previously been attending some training sessions. So in 2022 Nash competed at Melbourne Dog Lovers Show and came 4th in Dock Diving.
In the last few months, I have been training Nash in NADAC agility. After only 5 weeks of training we attended our first trial where he came home with two firsts and two qualifiers for his Into title – clearly this was going to be something he would excel at and we are about to attend our second trial so fingers and paws crossed!
We are planning on attending Melbourne Dog Lovers and possible Sydney Dog Lovers in Dock Diving this year.
What do you feed Nashy?
Nash’s main diet is Prime100 Air dry and rolls. He also loves pumpkin, yoghurt, sardines and salmon!
How long have you been feeding Antinol for?
Nash has been on Antinol since he was 6 months of age.
One of my biggest philosophies is that because I expected Nash to perform like an athlete, I needed to make sure I was treating him like an athlete and a big part of this is looking after his joints from a very young age. He’s an extremely active dog with a YOLO attitude and Antinol gives me the peace of mind that I am taking the best care of his joints while allowing him to live his life. I also love how easy it is to dose and how shiny his coat is.
What are your goals for the future?
I’m planning on taking Nash as far as we can in NADAC agility and hopefully obtaining his elite titles in Regular Agility, Jumpers, Tunnel’ers, Chances and Touch and Go. Nash will be competing in Dock Diving at Melbourne Dog Lovers show in 2023 and we may possibly make the trek to Sydney Dog Lovers Show to compete too. Nash is such a versatile dog that honestly the sky’s the limit with him and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for both of us.