With only a few days left of our first full season, I wanted to give you an update on Gus. To put it shortly: What a dog!
Before September even ended, I realized how special Gus was as I watched him in the field. He learns so fast and has so much fun out in the woods, that it was an absolute pleasure to be out there with him. This was his first real year out there, but he seemed like a polished pro. He mastered woodcock hunting in no time, and by early midseason, he was holding grouse from 20-30 yards. He was even patient with me as he watched more misses than hits when it came to those grouse!
I quickly realized that he was even naturally beginning to be steady throughout the whole shot process. With a little in the field training, he began retrieving both grouse and woodcock. He quarters and casts, keeping in range, and I've only had to call him in close a few times at best in a day. We have no problem being a team in the woods, really with little to no verbal commands necessary. On top of that, when we are done for the day, he just sits there on the back of the truck and patiently lets me comb all the burs and ticks out of his coat, not fighting me at all or trying to get away, even on those tough ones that get close to the skin or the ticks that get in his ear, already digging in and requiring a little extra attention.
All in all, he is everything I could have ever wished for in both a bird dog and a companion at home. He's gentle with our son, quiet (I can count on one hand how many times he's actually barked), and very relaxed when in the house. You've really done a great job in developing this line, and I hope to have more like Gus in the future when the time comes. I can't thank you enough for all of your help and guidance. You've always had the time to chat over the phone and give me some pointers and homework that has helped Gus become the dog he is today. I can't imagine what he will be like in a few more years!
The highlight of my year was going back up to the U.P., using your Scout N Hunt to find a good spot, and taking Gus and my dad out for the day. Gus went on point not 200 yards from the truck, held steady through the shot at a quick grouse, and it didn't take him 10 seconds to find the bird and bring it back to me even without me asking. It really couldn't get much better than that.
Since I was about 13 years old, watching Hunting with Hank on TV, I dreamt of having a talented english setter, and that has absolutely come true.
I hope you had a good season out there, too, even with the trouble in the Wisconsin grouse population. I took your advice you gave on one of those podcasts and went for areas of sandy soil, and that seemed to make a difference for grouse.
Thank you again for all you've done! Here are some pics of Gus from the season.
Bit of background information Gus is from the Maestro and Josie litter of June 2017.