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Gun shy dog...

8 posts in this topic

I bought my brother a yellow lab last year for his birthday, turns out he is gun shy. We let him tag along last fall a few times pheasant hunting and he wasn't scared at all. He shot over him today and he ran and ran, you get the point. What, if anything can be done about this. Thank you.

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Did you previously do any gun into for this dog, or just take him hunting last fall? Not to sound harsh but dogs are not born gun shy.

It may take a lot of work to break him of this, but it can be done. It may take a week, month, or more. You don't want to rush through it. You would need to go back to the beginning and do a proper gun intro. You will really need to make it fun for him and start any shooting a good distance away. There are articles online that explain in more detail how exactly to do this. You may want to get some birds to help you through this as that may be one of the most exciting things for your dog.

Has he been on birds?

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I don't know how he's introduced him to guns since last fall. He has been trained on birds, to what extent I don't know. Thanks for the advice.

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I dont know if I can recommend products here but I had a yellow lab that was gun shy from fireworks, and the product worked great and he has become a fantastic hunter. do a google search for "Masters Voice dog training". The product worked so good I now play it for our puppies when we have a litter before they even have there eyes open.

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Gives a whole new meaning to: An ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure! Put rubber band or tape around the primary flight feathers on one wing of a pigeon and throw lots of retrieves. Really get the dog fired up by chasing low flying birds a long ways. Next when the dog is chasing about the 100th bird have someone 50 to 75 yards behind you fire a small gauge shotgun 410 or 28. Have them fire on your signal that should be given when the dog is at a good distance and just before the bird comes down. Watch the dog very closely for any sign or reaction to the noise. If none keep moving the shooter closer and closer to the handler until they are standing next to them.

Then have the shooter 100 yards to the front shoot 410 or 28 once and throw a pigeon for a retrieve back toward the handler and dog. Hopefully this will give the dog a positive experience of hearing a noise and then getting a bird. This process can take several months and should not be rushed. GOOD LUCK

Tink

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You can also start with a blank 22 training pistol... they work quite well to introduce the dog to the sound.. I agree with using live birds and getting the dog excited so his mind is on the bird/retrieve...

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Once the dog has been spooked by the BIG NOISE, you have your work cut out - - - but its not difficult, just takes a little time.

Get a cap pistol. I like the ones that use the red circular plastic caps. They have a little bark, and don't leave a lot of mess.

Start off in the house, far from the dog. The helper pops off some rounds while the owner plays with the mutt. Keep a close eye on the dog. Any sign of flinching or fright means you can't move closer.

Gradually, over the course of a week or three, move the cap gun closer and closer. Begin shooting the cap gun when its time for food. Continue the slow progression until you can pop off the cap gun while the dog is eating and he doesn't flinch. This may take a while - so read the dog and don't rush things.

I had my 11 week old pup out to the gun range two nights ago. He has been undergoing a pretty major course of exposure to anything and everything I can dream up - including the 4th of July parade, fireworks, a little Rolling Stones blasting on the garage radio, every neighbor within walking distance (and their dogs and kids). He has gone fishing and in the canoe, messed with frogs and turtles and chased the birds in the yard. When we got out of the truck at the range, he totally ignored the gunfire.

After an hour of prowling around up and down the line, including the sporting clays range, the biggest reactions he had were wanting to be petted by the people with the guns, and wanting to chase the clay pigeons.

In a few months, I will begin using my cap guns around the house, and especially when we play THE GAME. The game is when the puppy dummy comes out and we play a very loose and unstructured game of fetch in the house. He only sees the dummy when we play the game. Its put away before he has a chance to get bored.

Barring some stupidity by me, I'm not worried about him becoming gunshy. Shy or fearful dogs are created by a lack of stimulation and interaction. Expose them to anything and everything, and they learn not to fear every new thing.

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In my training group - we started Maynard out with a 20 gauge 40 yards away pointed away - I threw a dead pigeon, and when Maynard got to the bird, they pulled the trigger. We worked with that for a couple weeks and that was it - then moved gradually closer. We were very cautious with him, because if you cut a loud fart, the dog would jump. But he was also into birds in a big way - so he tended to ignore the gun. He ended up just fine and now associates the sound of the gun with his "special purpose."

Slow increments are the way to go. Sounds like a lot of guys have good suggestions here - good luck to you and your pup.

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