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JHays1

Breaking a puppy into gunfire

15 posts in this topic

What is the best way to get your dog broken into gunfire? I am training my dog myself and am not sure what methods work the best to get her used to gunfire at close range similar to what she would experience in a duck blind.

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There has been past threads on this subject and obviously everyone has there opinions from banging pots/pans while the pup is feeding to having the pup watch hunting programs and/or sending the pup to a trainer, ect. I personally took my pup to a trap club several times and just played with her so she got use to the sound and activity and then progressed from there. Good luck on what ever you choose to do...I'm sure he/she will do well.

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When Maynard was a puppy - I exposed her to gunfire at training. But it was from a distance. When we started gun training - a gun man stood 40 yards away - low based shell - pointed away. I threw a clip wing out - and as soon as Maynard got to it, I raised my hand and he fired. Did that a couple times.

Next week, we moved in a little closer.

In one month of training - meaning - 4 individual training cycles, she was OK with gun fire and we shot over her with planted birds.

Just watch the pups reaction and don't comfort them if they get scared - because it reinforces the behavior....

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My uncle has a foolproof method - he starts out small, with a BB gun. Uses a dead bird (a grackle or a pigeon usually) and gets the pup super excited, then throws the bird and shoots the gun. Pretty soon he steps it up to a .22 when he throws the bird. Soon you can just shoot the gun and the pup gets real excited and looking around. Then you can graduate to a shotgun at a distance, usually I will fire the gun 50 yards away when he throws the bird for the dog.

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i started off with a starter pistol. I would play with my pup(@ 3 months) in the house with typical play dummies(rolled socks) and after he would get wound up i would toss a dummy down the hall way and fire a shot off after he he was truckin his little way down the hallway.

i would also let him and the wife out into the backyard to play around and I would walk around into the front yard and shoot off a couple rounds with the starter pistol.

after a while i would get closer and closer to where i could let off a starter pistol next to him while he was eating or heeling beside me. Basically just conditioning the dog to were the sound of gunfire(starter pistol) was a common sound.

After he was very very comfortable with the starter pistol i would carry him along to my buddies house to play with my buddies dog. while the dogs were playing my buddy and I would shoot clay pigeons with 12 gauges 20 or 30 yards away from the playing dogs.

Since my dog was already conditioned to the starter pistol the crack of a 12 gauge didnt even turn his head. Eventually that day the dogs tired out came over and laid behind my buudy as i as we continued shooting clays.

A few months later and a lot of retrieving work later i started using a gun while training with the dummies. He eventually new that when a gun went off it was time to retrieve(his favorite thing).

The first time i carried him out to the blind was great. The morning was slow but as soon as the gun cracked at the first duck he couldnt hardly retain himself.

During the second hunt whenever he heard the sound of a gun he was shaking for me to send him, it didnt matter if it was our gun or someone else gun off in the distance, as soon as he heard a gun crack he was shaking with excitement.

Now i cant even watch waterfowler tv or whistle wings. Everytime i turn the show on he right there with you watching along waiting for a magical duck to come falling down into the living room.

anyways, there a hundred different way to condition a dog to gun fire and every dog is going to react differently. Just take your time and dont over do it. If you over do it its going to a lot of time to fix it.

Daniel

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Go Slow. Bang Pots and pans around when eating and playing.

Buy a starter pistol - use it during play time.

Go to a trap range - start out far away and make it fun. Get closer OVER TIME

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First of all congrats on doing it yourself. Most of the comments so far are similar to what I did with my pup. There are several books and videos that address this topic as well. Many of them use a bird as a means to get the dog distracted. This also builds an association of guns and birds. If the pup has good prey drive he will want to get the bird. If he is very focused on the bird he should ignore the gunfire. My friends have also used this method with good results.

It does require that the dog has already been introduced to birds and has developed a drive or desire to catch the birds. The gun is usually something small, .410 or 20 ga, and is done from a distance. I used 12 ga popper loads, just a primer, no powder.

When the pup is in hot pursuit of the bird the gun is fired by a helper/assitant from a distance (20-30 yards). If the pup doesn't show any signs of being bothered by the shot then the process is repeated and the gunner can get closer and closer until they are beside the pup. If he still isn't bothered you can step up to a larger, louder, gun. If at any time he's bothered you go back to just letting them chase birds and develop their prey drive further.

It takes some time and may seem to be quite involved but from what I have been told it is extremely difficult to correct a gun shy dog so why risk that by trying to rush things. Good luck.

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tealitup's program is about the same as I did with my dog, especially the pots/pans idea.

When they're muzzle-deep into their dog dish, drop a noisy old metal pan or pot on the floor and don't make eye contact with the dog one bit or say a word. If it get's scared and runs away or piddles, don't look at it or say anything. Pretend it never happened and go on your way with whatever you were doing. I would stand with my back to the dog at the kitchen counter and let a pan "slip" from my hand. I didn't do this every feeding but just at random times and on different days. The biggest thing is to ignore how the dog reacts or it'll look to you for comfort when scared if you try to console it, and do things like this when the dog is comfortable such as feeding or playing so it associates it with "good stuff". If it sees that it didn't bother you, it'll learn that it shouldn't bother them either.

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Exactly. I just heard a horror story about a guy who was worried if her puppy was gun shy - so this other guy shoots a dummy launcher off by the dog.

Good grief, what were they thinking....

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Well, they weren't.....

Lots of good advice here, when I was training my dog and now that I am helping a friend, we are using a plan similar to goblueM's

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As posted before, use the trap range at your own risk. It can be done if you have the patience to do it correctly. Most don't. As posted before, we introduce gunfire before birth with a cap pistol by the mother and all through the 7 weeks we have them. Not one gun shy dog yet.

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These are some fantastic ideas. It can be taught faster, but it depends on how "not-shy" your dog is. I had my dog trained by a pro and they completed bird and gun conditioning in two weeks. Training sessions were twice a day 6 days a week.

I definitely agree with the ideas of associating the gunfire with chasing the bird. Its important for the dog to understand its part of the game and not a scare tactic.

Now my dog is two years old with one hunting season under his belt. I was a little concerned how he would be this year as his first year as a "returning" hunter. So last week I started slowly with some gunfire to see his reaction. I used a .22 rifle at a distance, just some plinking, and as soon as he heard the shot he ran up to me and tore off into the woods where I had my target. The rest of my target session, he sat next to me until the shot and then I would release him and throw a frozen chukar that I had from last season.

He knows what the gun is for!!

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Once the dog is doing great with a shotgun shot over them I shoot one gun over him and have someone else shoot .22 at a distance to get them used to hearing multiple gun shots. Slowly bring up the volume as we progress

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Besides the loud noises when eating, starter gun etc. etc. all good ideas. I have always used the trap range plan also. 1st week last row moving up a row each week etc. The dog not only gets used to the noise but also multiple guns going off at once so she does not become distracted when the action gets heavy. Never had a single gun shy dog ever doing this but as Bryce states it needs to be done properly!!!

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I must be really blessed to have a training group - as Maynard pretty much gets shot over at least 1x a week.

The dang bird bill is going to force me to get a 2nd job, though.

Good advice - this is a really valuable forum!

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