We still have plenty of snow on the ground...but this too will change. As I stepped outside this morning, I could hear geese overhead flying north. The robins are back even though there is still a lot of snow.
The snow is still too deep in the woods to train, but maybe next week, that will be changed. Our over a mile-long access road into camp is soft, and we do not travel on it unless it is frozen. We have been parking out by the forest road and driving in with the UTV or ATV.
In less than two weeks, there should be a beautiful litter of puppies on the ground.
Nago x Molly cross is being repeated this year. The first breeding was nothing short of impressive, and the ability of these young pups at such an early age was everything I have been working toward in almost ten years of breeding setters.
The cross will be 3/4 French. Nago is a son of Natan and has the natural grace of the European setter, along with the incredible balanced and smooth form of these setters. He has a long nose, and soft mouth is athletic and stealthy; these are just some of what Nago brings to this breeding.
Molly is half-French and US breeding. She has hunted out west, multiple times in Canada as well in Wisconsin. As a very young dog in Canada on her first major hunting trip. Dave had a grouse go up in thick cover, he shot. Molly went in after the bird and retrieved it back to Dave; however, Molly turned around and ran back into the thick cover after retrieving the grouse. She reappeared in a bit with a second grouse. Dave had no idea he had shot two birds at once. The cover was very thick. However, Molly figured she couldn't carry both so she would make two trips. Molly from the start was a quick study on finding birds and has a tremendous nose. Both these setters have tremenfous natural ability espeacially on wild birds.
By working with my own bloodlines, only then can I really know what I have.
For over 25 years, I have breed dogs, and have lost track of the number of breeding or how many dogs I have owned. However, the one constant is that if you do not work with your own bloodlines, train them, develop them, and carefully watch the genetics that is part of them, you never truly know what you have. By training the puppies, this helps me to know the potential of the crosses, the sire, and dams.
I have been asked why do I focus on Ruffed Grouse. That is an easy answer...a grouse dog has to be better than any other bird dog. From having guided for 20 + years the level of training that goes into a grouse dog is more than any other. Grouse are tough, and a young dog needs to have …patience, a calmness in the thick of it, an outstanding nose, and the ability to work the bird and work with the owner at the same time.
These are the traits, I saw in the off spring that Nago and Molly produced in 2019. I am looking forward to working with these pups. A few will go to a couple of clients that will be working with me in the development of their puppy and most will be in new homes at six to seven months as started pups. However, I am thankful for the summer ahead to work with the puppies and watch how they develop.
Molly has settled in nicely up at camp and is getting huge. So we are all looking forward to seeing what she has and the journey that will soon start in the training of these puppies. I can hardly wait. It was a thrill last year to work with them, and I have thought of new aspects I am going to incorporate in my training for this year.
I have some very nice started dogs that I am working with that are headed to some great homes this fall. Looking forward to spring training and seeing them develop more in the next six months.
We are staying put and keeping to ourselves during this time of uncertainty. Here at Northwind, we wish everyone to be safe; we know it is a difficult time for all.
Ann & Skip
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