I recently sold a 2 year old started dog that's has always been a firebreather when it comes to work. The dog has been shot over it's whole life and I dove hunted the dog last year with no issue (as in he was fantastic). He has always marked well off the gun barrel and has always been enthusiastic about guns, calls and sounds that go along with working. When the dog was shown to the buyer we set up some marks and used live rounds and as to be expected there were zero issues, the dog doesn't even blink with the gun going off. Fast forward a week the dog is in his new home he goes on a hunt. I was told when guns go off he is acting gun shy. He retrieved one bird and took it up the hill behind the blind trying to avoid being around the gun. I was floored as an issue from this dog is the last thing I'd expect. I then told the buyer to bring me the dog and I'll try to figure out the issue as I know the dog is not gun shy. I was also told that the dog would duck and tilt his head when a call was blown. Dog returns 2 days ago and last night I bring him in the house and I'm banging around and clapping my hands to see if theres any reaction. I notice quickly he starts head shaking followed by him pawing at one of his ears. So we head to the vet this morning to find out he has a yeast infection in both of his ears and his ears are very sensitive. He was also running a small fever of 102.3. He was prescribed Mometamax for his ears.
Now that there is a possibility he has associated the gun with pain I know I'm going to have to tread very carefully. My plan is get his ears and health back to 100% and then reintroduce the gun the same as with the pups. Has anyone had an issue with ear infections causing issues with noise? What was the outcome and how did you deal with it? This dog is extremely birdy so we have that on our side but I also understand an issue like this can snowball very quickly. Thanks in advance for any thoughts or ideas!