Grand champion a first for the state
Meet South Australia and Marion's first dog obedience grand champion.
This article appears in City Limits magazine - Issue 47 - December 2014.
A German Coolie that was a handful as a puppy and a woman who has become an expert at bringing out the best in her dogs have combined to give the Marion district and South Australia its first-ever Obedience Grand Champion.
Daniella McCullogh and her seven-year-old "best mate" Gabrielle have been picking up awards with monotonous regularity for more than five years, a remarkable achievement considering the dog's early attitude. But Daniella has an outstanding record of success with her dogs at the Dover Gardens Kennel and Obedience Club and knew this one had something special.
"I had great success with my German Coolie called Xena and was hunting for my next one, which took some time because finding the right breeder is very hard," she said.
"I finally went with my friend Linda, who also wanted a dog, and had a look at 17 gorgeous puppies. It was funny because Linda came home with a happy little puppy and the one I got was just angry. She may have had an attitude but Gabby learned things very quickly, including a variety of clever tricks and, at nine months, she won her first trial."
Gabby went on to win a string of titles at national and regional shows right across the country, adding Agility Champion titles to her Grand Champion status. While the Grand Champion award is obviously a first for Danni, winning national prizes is nothing new for the handler.
Daniella has been involved in dog obedience since taking it as a school elective at the nationally-recognised Dover Gardens club as a 12-year-old and has done the club proud ever since.
She has competed with six of her own dogs over 30 years - two German Shepherd Doberman crosses, a Jack Russell Terrier, Border Collie and then a German Coolie. All were outstanding competitors, and Xena was a dual national champion, but it's fair to say Gabrielle lifted the bar even further when, in May, she became the state's first Obedience Grand Champion.
"She's done us all proud and still has plenty of years competing ahead of her," Daniella said.
"Xena competed until she was 12 but, as they get older, you look to ease their workload and bring a younger dog through, which I'm already doing. In Gabby's case, she will definitely have earned it."
Gabby has also featured on Channel 7's Today Tonight and its weather program.
- Watch a Marion in a Minute video of Gabby performing her tricks on City of Marion YouTube.
- See more photos of Danielle and Gabby on the City of Marion Facebook page.
City Limits Magazine
The City Limits Magazine is a community publication that keeps Marion residents in touch with what is happening in their community. It includes information about major projects, council initiatives and events, as well as profiles of community members.
It is published three times a year and distributed to 40,000 residents and businesses in the Marion Council area.