Gun Shy Dog

12/25/15 @ 9:31 PM
ORIGINAL POST
H2O
H2O
USER since 5/25/03
I have a big problem... My 10 month old GSP is gun shy after taking her hunting for real the first time and shooting over two birds with her - that she pointed at. After that she wouldnt really leave my side for the rest of the day and kind of stopped hunting. She is now hesitant and looks a little confused when she finds a bird and sure seems like she ties birds with gunshots. I have access to pigeons and the last few days have planted them (while I carry and empty gun) and she finds them - then stops and looks at me. I encourage her and eventually she gets real birdy and plays with them. The 1st time I did this and thought I was getting somewhere. Tryed the next day, same routine. Have had GSPs before and never really had to ease them into the gun, but should have had a better plan with this one. I dont want to get lectured, I just want to know if I have a chance and any tips anyone has. I just plan and getting her back on birds while I carry an empty gun, then slowly make some noise while she is birdy, then finally have someone shoot a ways away. I also see they make CDs for gun shy dogs, anyone have any experience with those? Thanks Rob
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Displaying 1 to 10 of 10 Posts
1/15/16 @ 1:46 PM
Rempump
Rempump
USER since 5/8/03
Some things I did with my gun shy Lab-

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.

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1/15/16 @ 10:28 AM
river_chaser
river_chaser
USER since 10/3/12
Back in high school we did running practice with a little contraption that perfectly imitated a starter pistol.

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.

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1/15/16 @ 6:36 AM
Wright6
Wright6
USER since 2/5/14
I like the balloon popping thing. I would associate it with food. I have heard of this, but never had tried it. When she is eating make loud noises as they are zoned in on their dish and it becomes second nature to them. I had a gun shy springer when I was a kid that that never did get broke of it. My dad didn't really try, he just gave her away. That's the old way I guess.

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12/30/15 @ 11:44 AM
H2O
H2O
USER since 5/25/03
Thanks for all the advise on the board and PMs. Well, after 10 days or so she is does not go to a negative mood at the sight of a gun or the finding a bird. Couple of things that seem to work so far - Like everyone said birds only, only positvie reinforement and no shots yet. I also have taken a 3' black pipe and put some gun oil on it (scent) and carry it around the yard with her and have it when I let her out. That way Im not carrying a gun everywhere. This seemed to fix the shyness at the sight of a gun after a couple days. Still do it though. Also, read somewhere to pop ballons - another cheap thing I can do easily in the yard. Control the noise level by distance and how much the balloon is filled up. I want her at this point not to associate birds with loud noises and at the same time get her unafraid of gunshots separately.

Thanks again.

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12/30/15 @ 11:27 AM
muddog22
muddog22
USER since 10/21/10
I am experiencing the exact same problem. Please share if you have success and I will do the same. For now, just birds I guess.

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12/30/15 @ 9:49 AM
swamp people
swamp people
USER since 5/14/12
Please check your pm.

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12/28/15 @ 8:48 AM
Steve White
Steve White
USER since 3/17/04
Yep, you are on the right track, and lots of great advice so far. There are lots of vids on youtube as well for the introduction to guns.

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.

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12/27/15 @ 7:04 PM
muskrat30
muskrat30
USER since 10/14/01
I've found the key is Going very slow, with live/dead birds or at least wings available. A gunblast over the head is kinda loud. I have often used pellet guns starting off, when transitioning to shotguns kept it fun, birds, treats, no shooting right over the dog.

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.

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12/27/15 @ 7:02 PM
PntrRookie
PntrRookie
USER since 4/4/05
Rob, you are on the right track but I would totally eliminate any gun - even if empty - right now. No loud noises either, for a while. Birds Birds Birds...this may take a while - you must go slow. Now you are on the dog's time table, not yours.

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.

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