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Gus Update

Gus Update

Postby IANative » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:33 am

This is an offshoot from my "Vizsla vs. Pointing Lab" thread, in which I eventually chose neither of those two and opted for a Braque Francais puppy instead. Gus is now 19 weeks and growing like a weed. We did a lot of basement work/play during the bitter cold December we had here, and have been spending a lot more time outside in 2017 as the weather has been unseasonably mild. Gus recalls reliably both vocally or via the whistle, and is beginning to read my body language for directional cues. I haven't done any "training" on hand signals, per se, he just seems to be picking it up intuitively and I'm going with it.

Gus is a retrieving machine- scented bumpers, wings, frozen quail, etc. He's no longer terribly interested in retrieving balls or toys, but if it smells like a bird, he's all over it. He retrieves with considerable enthusiasm- hard to the mark and hard back to hand. The retrieving started in the basement, then moved to the yard and eventually to the weeds 'n brush. It was in the weeds where he learned to hand off to his nose...

... his nose seems remarkable to me. Of course, this is my first experience with this breed in particular and pointing dogs in general, so I'm easily impressed. Gus already understands "dead bird" and will hunt for it given that command. I plant scented and winged bumpers in the field- wind in his favor- and he finds them all. I'll even plant one near the truck as we start out, and an hour or so later as we're done and heading in he'll scent and locate that bird. I've started to toss winged bumpers into heavy cover with the wind NOT in his favor, and he's starting to cast a little bigger to find the scent.

This past weekend was his first intro to live birds- pigeons- under the tutelage of an experienced trainer and trialer. She was very complimentary of Gus, said he had a "great big brain." We did hidden birds and tied-down birds, and he was beginning to point on his own towards the end. We mixed in some launched birds for flushing, and I was amazed at how he was naturally steady to flush. Maybe a little startled, but not scared. A little bit of chase on some and he watched all of them fly until they were out of sight. After a while, the trainer was even comfortable introducing gunfire via a capper, and three of the flushes were accompanied by the caps. Gus only acknowledged one of the three, and not with any fear. All in all a fantastic learning experience for both of us, and we're going back in 3 weeks. In the meantime, she encouraged me to start his steadiness/WHOA training, and demonstrated for me how she would do it.

I'll add that none of Gus's training thus far has been "intense." It's nearly all been disguised as play, with lots of a praise and more than few treats thrown in as rewards. I work from home and Gus is with me nearly 24/7 and my primary focus has been establishing and solidifying THE BOND... which has made the rest fairly easy. Anyway, many thanks to the members of GDF who've offered their support, wisdom, advice and encouragement. And now, the pics...

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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:35 am

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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:35 am

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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:35 am

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Re: Gus Update

Postby deseeker » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:31 am

Sounds like you and Gus are off to a good start. Wait until next hunting season when it all pays off :D
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IsThisHeaven? » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:35 am

Looks like a lot of fun and a great experience. Good deal!
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Re: Gus Update

Postby setterpoint » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:59 am

nice looking dog and sounds like you are off to a great start keep up the good work
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Re: Gus Update

Postby MNTonester » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:30 pm

fine looking dog and great photo essay
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Sharon » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:21 pm

Great pics! I did a little reading up as I wasn't familiar with that breed.

"Despite the fact that they superficially resemble small German shorthairs, Braques are very different than their larger cousins (the German shorthair was also derived in part from Spanish pointers and various European hounds) andDespite the fact that they superficially resemble small German shorthairs, Braques are very different than their larger cousins (the German shorthair was also derived in part from Spanish pointers and various European hounds) and a new owner who expects a Braque to behave exactly like a small German shorthair is likely to be disappointed with the results." quote Brad Fitzpatrick -2013( Gundog Mag.)



Question is : What does this mean?
"Despite the fact that they superficially resemble small German a new owner who expects a Braque to behave exactly like a small German shorthair is likely to be disappointed with the results." quote
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:55 pm

Sharon wrote:Great pics! I did a little reading up as I wasn't familiar with that breed.

Question is : What does this mean?
"Despite the fact that they superficially resemble small German a new owner who expects a Braque to behave exactly like a small German shorthair is likely to be disappointed with the results." quote


I didn't read that particular article, however, in the link below you may find find some insight that answers your question(s). In my search, I was told that Braques are like GSP's, only smaller and calmer... that they didn't shed as much as Shorthairs, that they were couch potatoes in the house, and that they were a sensitive breed that didn't respond well to harsh or heavy-handed training techniques. Thus far, I can attest to all of those claims, except perhaps the low-shedding... he didn't shed a lot at first, then went thru a two or three week period where I'm surprised he didn't go bald, but then it tapered off again.

http://www.gundogmag.com/breeds/gundog_ ... ue_082004/
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Watermen » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:52 am

Been following this, because I am picking up a BF pup in 2 weeks to complete my team. I'm curious how the natural range of your dog is?
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:06 am

Watermen wrote:Been following this, because I am picking up a BF pup in 2 weeks to complete my team. I'm curious how the natural range of your dog is?


Right now it's about 40yds. He's still very young and he's very attached to me, but I think/hope the scent of/quest for live birds in the training field will naturally extend that range as he gains age and experience.
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Watermen » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:36 pm

I've watched dogs from the first breeding and been told these will be very similar 40-50 yd dogs. Occasionally they stretch to 100 or a little more.
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Up North » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:32 pm

Looks like you're doing good,and having fun!
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Urban_Redneck » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:13 am

He's got that "I means business" look :)

As the owner of a 8 1/2 mo old French pointing dog, I feel qualified to clarify the "couch potato" term that the dogs are often tagged with: When said pup finally tires herself and everyone else out, she will seek out the softest upholstered furniture available for a nap, this most often is your couch.

Best of luck to you both!
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:42 am

Urban_Redneck wrote:He's got that "I means business" look :)

As the owner of a 8 1/2 mo old French pointing dog, I feel qualified to clarify the "couch potato" term that the dogs are often tagged with: When said pup finally tires herself and everyone else out, she will seek out the softest upholstered furniture available for a nap, this most often is your couch.

Best of luck to you both!


Well, my Gus is nearly 5 months now and he is great in the house. Very little crazy puppy behavior, although although he loves chewing/biting on my wife's slippers, whether they're on her feet or not. For the most part, he's super calm. His has a bed in my office where he spends most of the day while I'm working. In the evening, he alternately moves from the fireplace to the shag rug to the couch- everyplace except the deluxe dog bed I bought for the living room. When he's on the couch, he HAS to be touching one of his humans.

He's kenneled at night in our bedroom, and he can do 8 hrs in there with no trouble, as long as I limit his water consumption an hour or two before bedtime and take him out immediately before kenneling for the night. We initially kenneled him in another room, but he was never good for more than 4 or 5 hours before he'd start whining. I moved his kennel into our room and he immediately started sleeping thru the night. It's funny... around 9pm or so, if we're not already getting ready for bed, he'll go stand by the bedroom door and look at us to let us know it's bedtime.

I'd like to think the routine I have him on helps w/ his behavior in the house. I take him for two short walks/day during the work week religiously, mid-morn and late afternoon, of about 1/2-3/4 mile. Those walks include 3 or 4 retrieves of winged bumpers. We also work on steadiness in the basement for about 10 minutes each day. On the weekends, we do longer weed walks of an hour or two w/ nose work mixed in. It helps keep me in walking shape, too.
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:00 pm

Some pics to update Gus' (and my) progress... I've been working with a trainer in Iowa and she has done very well in unlocking Gus's natural abilities, while teaching me at the same time. One thing you can't teach is the nose- they either have it or they don't- and Gus's nose is impressive (not just me saying that, lol). He LIVES to find birds. He doesn't get nearly excited about the flush, the shot and/or the retrieve (even though he loves to retrieve) as he does about finding the next bird. It's all he wants to do. He's also backing nicely behind multiple other dogs.

Still a ways to go, of course. All of his bird exposure thus far has been planted pigeons, although we stumbled onto several woodcock in the timber during the northern migration back in March. He pointed a few of them after he accidentally flushed a couple. Anyway, wild bird exposure is next. He's also still rather tentative about the water- takes a lot of coaxing to get in- which is entirely my fault for not getting him exposed to it more. So, more work to follow. Now for the pics...
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Gus Point 4.jpg
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Gus point 2.jpg
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Gus in the Chequest.jpg
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:03 pm

More pics
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Gus Point 3.jpg
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Gus Point 7.jpg
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Gus pigeon retrieve.jpg
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:05 pm

... and more pics...
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Gus point.jpg
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Gus Point like Domino.jpg
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Gus Point close up 5.jpg
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Sharon » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:23 pm

Great picture show! Thanks.
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Cicada » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:30 pm

Beauty!
He sure has a mature look for a pup!!

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Re: Gus Update

Postby Urban_Redneck » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:17 am

He looks great!
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:19 am

Gus has embarked on a 3-week long "bird dog boot camp" with my trainer, a "drinking from the fire-hose" daily regimen of birds, dogs, birds, BANG!, birds, water and birds. Plus some more birds. Here's some pics from Day 1...
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Gus backing .jpg
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Gus 8_21_17.jpg
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Gus & Bella.jpg
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:15 pm

Some pics highlighting his intensity...
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Point right.jpg
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Gus intensity 2.jpg
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Gus- intensity.jpg
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Up North » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:59 pm

Beautiful dog! I have been looking into the French Pointer myself, but still a couple years out.
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Featherfinder » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:11 am

IANative, that is a wonderful looking dog! Your trainer looks to be doing a great job too. I caution you about one aspect of what I read from your postings. If I am correct, your dog is with you "24/7" because you work out of your home. You also relented and allowed the dog into your bedroom because he didn't like being in the next room.
I'm not sure of your future hunting plans for this dog but I suspect your challenges will not be in the field. They will revolve around your dog coping with absences from you. That can mean when you are staying away from home, away on business, when the dog is boarded or staying with family because you have to be away, possibly even when travelling in the back of a p/u truck on longer trips, etc.
Most peoples definition of bonding is typically over-rated. Your dog looks to you predominantly for shelter and food. Most everything else has to do with the owner's needs. Too often, the owner's needs create a dog that is volatile in the event of even a minor change in environment, which can REALLY stress out the dog. Albeit unintentional, it remains a form of mental abuse.
Perhaps you can foster your dog out for a weekend with friends or extended family or leave him with the trainer periodically for a week at a time. I'm only suggesting this to make your dog more able to handle day-to-day stress that comes from separation and temporary changes in environment.
I share this with the best of intentions for your dog and wish you continued success! Great pics too! Keep them coming.
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:48 am

FF, valid points made, many if not all of which have been confronted over the several months since the post you're referencing. Gus's kennel is back in the laundry room. He still spends nearly every day with me, but that's the nature of working from home. He has been under other care/supervision while we were gone on two trips- once for a week and once for 10 days, and always getting bird work or obedience work from his host- with no ill effect. He's also been under family care/supervision on a few other days. He's currently with my trainer for 3 weeks, the primary aim of which is training, of course; but it's also intended to "expand his horizon..." ... I can promise you he'll quickly realize how good he has it at home, lol.

Most of Gus's challenges have been resolved by maturity- the kennel in the bedroom, for example- and his growing confidence. I'm finding my Braque to be a very sensitive soul who (other than when hunting birds) wants nothing more than to be with his pack. If the family is at the dining room table, he'd prefer to be laying/sleeping on the hardwood floor under the table vs. laying on his bed 10' away. He loves other dogs, has never demonstrated any aggressive behavior beyond barking at people outside thru the window, and would be the absolute perfect model of man's best friend... if only I can teach him to run a vacuum. I swear he sheds his body weight in hair every day. :?
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Featherfinder » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:35 am

That sounds perfect IANative! Now, if you can get him to run that vacuum, you will have a lot of demand for your dog. Folk pay big bucks to have that done for them!
Sounds like you have a VERY nice dog there but it also sounds like he's lucky to have you/your family too.
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Re: Gus Update

Postby BraqueFrancais115 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:52 am

Gus looks like a great Braque Francais - gotta love it when the lightbulb turns on and field experience compliments his natural hunting ability. If I may ask, what breeder and sire x dam pairing did he come from? Feel free to PM me with details if you don't want to discuss over a public forum.
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Re: Gus Update

Postby Urban_Redneck » Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:38 am

Gus looks great!

At 1 year, it seems a switch was flipped and my pup just calmed down overnight.

I'm with my French dog (BA) pretty much all the time as well, I think we're both better for it :)

Have a great season.
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:38 am

Urban_Redneck wrote:Gus looks great!

At 1 year, it seems a switch was flipped and my pup just calmed down overnight.

I'm with my French dog (BA) pretty much all the time as well, I think we're both better for it :)

Have a great season.



Tell me your pup stopped shedding at 1 year, too... please... :D
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Re: Gus Update

Postby IANative » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:20 am

More pics from last night...
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Gus point 8_30.jpg
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Gus steady....jpg
Gus steady....jpg (185.99 KiB) Viewed 361 times
steady to flush.jpg
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