Gun Shy Dog
Put my shotgun right next to her food bowl.
When she was playing with my wife and receiving treats, I fired a cap gun in another room. I would also slam a book down on the counter, again in another room and while the dog was having fun and being entertained.
Went hunting with a empty gun and would point at birds, say bang and then go look for the 'bird' all the while encouraging her and being happy.
When doing bumper practice, I would get her very excited, throw the bumper and then fire a cap gun. It took a couple weeks for her not to pause on the way to the bumper. When she would pause, I would do the drill again but with out the bumper.
On the 4th of july, I went out in teh back yard with a bag of treats and we played and wrestled while the neighbor hood fired off fire works.
It took about a year but she is now a hunting machine. If you put the time and love into the dog, you will get her/him turned around.
Take some 3/4 inch lumber. Cut 2 pieces of wood 2inch X 8inch. Then join them together on one end with a small hinge. You might have to cut a small dado to seat the hinge to be level with the wood.
To create the desired noise just slap the faces of the 2 boards together. The boards need to meet face to face to get the desired cracking sound. You can control the intensity and loudness. Shorter pieces of wood would probably be quieter, longer pieces louder. Simple, cheap, effective.
The hinge is really optional and convenient, you get the same effect by just slapping the faces of the 2 boards together without the hinge.
I have brought several around from it. Its always time and going slow. If it is at all possible in your household. Leave your gun out. Near where she feeds, the door she normally goes out. Multiple ones if you got them. They just become common place. Start slowing making a few noises while feeding. Not to loud at first. Working up to banging a pan or two. But not right over the dog.
I'm just starting a GSP as well. No birds here to plant or play with like that. But that's not the way to introduce the gun anyway. Like many have, and you will find vids on it Im sure. We start playing fetch. Dog is having lots of fun. Maybe 5-10 retrieves into it. I will have the person 50-100yds behind me depending on gun. Shoot once the retrieve command is given and dog is off. Stepping forward 10yds at after each shot. If the dog stops, flinches, looks back in anyway. The gun is done for that day. The process is started over the next day. I use a 5 gun process. First 22 cal pellet gun loaded. Then same gun dry fired. Louder than most normal 22's this way. If dont have this. Have uses CB's and then up to a LR. After these I go to a louder pistol. Normally a 25, but my 22 revolver works too. either way 3 steps of low noise. Working up to shooting over the dog with each. If things are going well then it's to the 20ga. Lastly it will be the big boom of the 12. A training pistol with different size loads works too. I just use what I got.
No matter what it is now a long slow process. Will easily be ready for next fall, and steady to the shot.
It may help to have other dogs around unfazed by gunfire. I was able to turn a Lab around who was deathly afraid of gunfire, so it can be done. Let them get used to the sight of a gun too.
They do make quieter 22 shells also one can try.
I would seek some one on one time with a professional trainer. the LAST thing you want to do is try this on your own and get no results - or permanent bad results. Depending on where you are at I would look up Jeff Lemennes at Lumpy's Kennels in the Fondy area (920) 948-2982 or Tom Waite at Dale Creek Gundogs in the Burlington area (262) 514-4747.