April 29, 2001 - "...Gus is doing great. He has fit in with our ever-growing family like he has always been here. The older two girls love him and although they pull, poke, and chase him, as a four and
two year old will, he just goes with the flow."
"As the enclosed photos show, Gus has been introduced to water and took to it like a fish. I don't think he will have any issues on our first Teal hunt in September. Gus' yard work is progressing nicely.
He hups on command on or off the leash and will generally stay pat until given the release of "OK". Heal has taken a bit longer but I am not pushing the issue. The retrieving desire, which you placed in
him, has remained steady. And "Here" on three whistles has also remained with him. I can't wait to finally introduce him to some quail in the next few weeks...."
"...All in all we are tickled pink to have Gus with us. People who are around him will ask several times "now how old is Gus?" They just can't believe a five-month-old pup has such wonderful manners and
a calm demeanor..."
October 2002 - "...Gus is doing great. We had a good season last year and we are looking forward to starting our flushing work this year. We had a great wild bird hunt with my friend's Dad who owned the
Saighton. He was so impressed and I was so proud. It took some time for Gus to get acclimated to the wild coveys but once he did, look out! The picture of the three men is of that hunt. That is me on the right."
"So far we have just been dove hunting as it has been so hot down here. The other pictures I took while on a hunt near LaPryor, Texas, a little town south of San Antonio. Gus had a great hunt, much better than
opening day, I can tell you that!"
"We had worked all summer on hup and staying still, something since he learned, has not had a problem with until we put feathers in front of him, and he started breaking. Ugh. Opening day he would break
whether the bird was downed or not. It even got to the point where I would see a dove coming down the pipe, I would turn to Gus, say HUP, shoot and he would still break. Ugh, back to the drawing board we go."
"I didn't know how to work with him on this because I couldn't recreate a dove hunt easily, so we just worked on hup as often as we could but really nothing different than we would do during the summer. In
the meantime I had bought a one man skeet thrower and in between opening day and our trip to South Texas, I shot skeet. I would make Gus hup in the shade behind all the shooting. When he would move I would pick
him up and put him back on the original spot. All the shooting and "pigeons" flying around and being shot, I guess in his mind simulated feathers enough that by the time we went on our next hunt, he was as
steady as a rock. Gus wouldn't move whether the bird was hit or not. It was such an improvement! I was so proud of him."
"When he saw the bird fall he would take the perfect line. On the blind retreives he would take a good line for about 25 yards then if he hadn't found it he would start quartering way off base until I put him
back in the area then he would find it. That will be the next step and something we can work on when we start working with quail again next month. Staying on line. It's a trust issue that, with time, we will overcome."
"He is such a great dog with the kids, with other people and with other dogs. The whole neighborhood loves him because he is so friendly. I am just so thrilled he is part of our lives that I cannot thank you
enough. Take care and I hope to send you some more pictures as the season progresses..."
September 2003 - "I wanted to pass on a couple pictures from this past weekend's dove hunt."
"Gus did great! He is becoming quite a dove dog. We worked this summer on a
few things that really paid off. The first thing was holding steady in the
face of feathers and Gus was awesome. He broke once and after about ten
yards realized what he did, turned around and came back to heal and hupped
by my side. He is much steadier than the beginning of last year that is for
"We also worked on heal all summer and again he did great. This early in the
season it can be warm and one thing I learned last year was not being at
heal is not an option when we are walking to or moving spots. If he gets
heated up running around, when we get to our spot, and he gets a retrieve he
can be tired or have scenting problems. So this year when we are on the
move, he is by my side at all times. I can tell he doesn't like it because
he is just like a coiled spring, but I think it has paid off."
"The other thing we implemented is a hunt dead whistle command. When he is
sent on a retrieve he has a tendency to run right over the bird if he did
not see it fall. This happens a lot because when we are on stand it usually
is in grass that can be as high as four feet and he might see the bird hit,
but cannot mark it. Also, as you know the heat hinders his scenting. So what
I do if he is having problems, is to handle him to the vicinity of the bird
and blow the hunt dead whistle and he knows to get his nose on the ground
and start working the area. It worked! I was able to stay in the cover and
continue to hunt as he was finding downed bird."
"Gus found all the birds that were downed, which is rare, quite frankly, but
there was one of note. The field we hunt is huge therefore we do a lot of
"stalking". We were in short grass and Gus, being mostly white, wouldn't be
able to make the fifty-yard or so stalk we needed. I hupped him behind a
tree but he could stick his head around to see the action but wouldn't blow
the stalk. I made it into the field, the birds flushed and I proceeded to
knock one down. I know he could see the bird fall but stayed perfectly still
behind the tree and I blew the "come" whistle. He ran his heart out and
hupped by my side. I sent him on the retrieve, and when he ran over the
bird, I was able to stop him, blow the "come" whistle until he was back in
the area. Stopped him again, and blew the hunt dead whistle, he put his nose
on the ground and made about two eight foot circles, found the bird, and
retrieved it perfectly to hand. It all came together on that one downed bird
and I couldn't be more proud!"
Gus' Family in Houston, Texas