Gage became a member of our family in Sept. 2007. At the age of 13 weeks, the only exposure to hunting had been his trips to the shooting range. Gage spent the next 7 weeks adjusting to his new home in New York with only one field adventure.
So by 5 months, with virtually no training, we brought Gage to "Dusty W" to begin his formal hunting education. Mike certainly had his work cut out for him. He reviewed with us his training techniques and explained that the learning would be a fun and exciting experience for the dog.
Through frequent updates we would learn that Gage was developing the necessary skills to be a hunting companion. During Gage's 5 week stay, he not only attained excellent
hunting behaviors and field ability, he also learned valuable lessons related to house manors and socialization with people and other dogs.
Gage arrived at "Dusty W" with none of the skills necessary to perform a successful hunt. Halfway through his training we were able to observe his newly acquired skills and we were thrilled when he pointed 9 out of 10 birds released in the field.
We have hunted with Gage on two occations during the end of his training. His progress was remarkable. While we had resigned ourselves to the probability of having only an average hunting dog, we were completely overwhelmed by his superior performance and his enjoyment of the sport.
Mike and Jen, as a team, provided Gage with a well rounded experience and the hunting companion that we returned home with has far exceeded our expectations.
Steve and Jane Lucente
We got Duke at 2 1/2 months old in October 2007. He is a Llewellin Setter (English setter from the Duke/Rhoebe-Laverack bloodline). He is a great family dog but had no hunting training. I had only worked with him on basic commands and had introduced him to gunfire using a cap gun and occasionally taking him to the local gun range. I had picked him primarily because of his calm friendly disposition and had hoped for a great hunting partner. I, however, knew very little about actually training a hunting dog. After reading a number of books, I decided that I required professional help. I did not want to send Duke "away" for training because I really wanted to be a part of the process. After many phone calls and internet searches, I was given Mike's name and number. This was the start of great experience.
Mike had returned my phone call and spent some time discussing his philosophy regarding training and dogs. I was impressed not only with his professionalism, but by his genuine respect and care for dogs. He explained that his dogs were part of the family and that he never kept dogs outside, including those sent to him for training by others. When I had explained that I wanted to be part of the training process and didn't really want to send my dog off to be trained, he was respectful of that and willing to work with me unlike many others. He took the time to really learn about Duke from me and we set up an initial evaluation.
We first went to see Mike at his home at the end of January 2008. Duke was now 7 months old. Mike took his time to let Duke get to know him and then calmly introduced him to live Quail to judge his reaction and interest. Duke immediately got excited and seemed to know what to do. At the end of about a 30 min introduction session, Mike showed me how to begin training Duke to point with a wing and fishing rod. He gave me the wing with which I was to use during the week to train Duke and we scheduled our next session the following week. I also got a list of items I would need to get to help train Duke and work him in the field. Over the next several weeks, Mike showed me what to do by example with Duke on the weekends and I carried the training into the week. Mike made sure we could use live birds on the times when we were with him and adjusted training based on Duke's response. I was really impressed with Mike's gentle hand and ability to judge Duke's level of competence and adjust the training accordingly.
Duke turned out to be a really fast learner and after 5 weeks worth of training we took him out for a Chukar hunt. Duke did fantastic, pointing birds on occasion up to 15 yards away by scent. He even performed a few very long retrieves. I don't know who was more excited, Mike or I. We both were grinning ear to ear the whole time. I really appreciated Mike's natural ability with the dogs and his willingness to train me as well. I feel like both Duke and I have made a new friend. Now if Mike could only provide the owners some shooting training... Duke still gives me the eye on occasion for the 3 I missed.
I the end this was a very enjoyable experience and well worth the effort and money. Duke and I are already planning a few more hunts.
Thanks for everything.
Eric and Duke
We became aquainted with the Wagner's on our purchase of our GSP puppy that we bought from the Dusty W GSP's in July 2008. At six months old I returned with Mason for training. Mike started training Mason to point with a wing on a fishing rod. After two weeks working with birds, Mike said we were ready for a chukar hunt! What a great experience it was, Mason performed excellent!! We both were happy with his performance.
I can't thank Mike enough for his patience, and the great training he gave Mason!! I now have a great hunting dog and a very loving pet.
Thanks Mike and Jen for everything!
Gary and Mason
I got Bo, an English Pointer, as an 8 week old pup with the intension of having a great hunting partner. I started Bo's training on my own just by reading books and watching instructional videos. Our training was going very well, progressing through the initial steps quickly and efficiently; but we hit a huge road block when I was teaching her to hold point. Other than the holding point issue she definately had the passion and excitement for birds and the drive to hunt. But at this point I knew I needed professional help to progress her toward being a great hunting partner.
I heard about "Dusty W" through a friend of mine. When I called Mike and told him I had an English Pointer that I needed assistance training he welcomed us with open arms, we set up our first training session right away. Our first session was indescribable! A switch flipped in Bo from an excitable puppy to a bird dog. Mike was instrumental in this. it was amazing how Mike could observe her and correst her little actions that made a huge difference in the final product. He definately has a way with dogs. He also taught me how to hunt with a dog, ways to move and cues to watch for. With only three sessions under our belt Mike is confident she is prepared for a chukkar hunt. The chukkar hunt was incredable; Mike had Bo tuned in to work just like a hunting dog should.
If it wasn't for Mike's passion for the dogs and love of the sport, Bo would still be an excitable puppy in the field. Thanks to Mike for making my puppy into a hunting partner I can enjoy.
Dear Mike and Jen,
Thank you for taking the time Sunday to evaluate our little guy Sniper. We are ecstatic that he caught on fairly quickly and shows good hunting potential. We are confident that Sniper will become an avid hunter with the help of Mike's training. Sniper looks forward to seeing you guys in the near future, after Mike's speedy recovery.
Luck Must be on our side. As you are well aware of Sniper's Story, Adam and I find comfort in now knowing he comes from a reputable breeder who loves animals as much as we do. Our little guy has had a rough two years, and we hope to bring that streak to an end. We would like to think Sniper is happy being apart of our family and will enjoy putting his natural instinct to hunt to good use.
Also, we would like to thank you for your generous hospitality you showed us. You guys are good people and we're happy to have met you. In April we will be giving you a call and hopefully setting up many visits in May. We look forward to Sniper learning to hunt to the best of his ability with the help from Mike. Until then, best wishes on a speedy recovery and hope to see you soon.
Jessica, Adam, Alabama, Sniper
Hey, thanks for the great afternoon of hunting last Friday! Glad we could book you again this year. Brother Mike and I had a great time with you and the girls. It was good to hunt with Spyder & Monkey again. Having Brandy along was a bonus. She really did well to hang in there with the younger girls and did her share of pointing out the occasional bird as well.........certainly did a better job of it than we could!
I did want to send along the pictures we took - a couple of good ones of Brandy.
One of our brothers was upset that he didn't get invited to the hunt and that raised a question: If we had 3 or 4 hunters (we have 2 more brothers), how would we handle a hunt together? Is that too many to put together? Suggestions welcome. We really would like to do another hunt this season if we could. If not, we'll definitely be asking for you again next year.
Again, thanks for the great day we had and hope that you & Jen and the entire clan have a great Christmas!
Joe & Mike Humphrey
Our dogs in this Picture from left to right.
Spyder, Monkey(Meg), Brandy (13 years old and still hunting)!