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Thread: Fixing a gun shy dog

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon Potter
    Toughest gunshy dog I've had to repair so far: A gorgeous English Setter, who came to me both gunshy and bird shy. If you showed him a bird, he'd urinate on himself while trying to crawl under something and hide.

    After evaluating the dog and seeing just how terrified he was, I figured there was only one thing I could try. I told the owner I thought the dog was salvageable, but it would be tough on the dog for a bit. Owner said go for it.

    So....I put the dog in one of my T.E. Scott kennels. And withheld dog food for a day, then put in a live quail. The dog sat in the back corner, scared to death of the bird. Three more days passed before survival instinct took over the fear, and the dog caught and ate the quail. For two weeks, this dog had a steady diet of pigeons and quail...no dog food, just birds... with gunfire reintroduced at the very end. Sixty days later, the owner came to pick him up, and the dog pointed, held beautifully, and retrieved birds to hand with no problems.

    Just as a caveat....had I thought at any time the dog was in danger, I'd have pulled the plug on the whole thing and sent it home to be a pet.

    Ms. Potter, that was one of the best examples of creative dog training I've read anywhere. Lucky are the dogs who learn their skills while under your care. I look forward to learning more from you over the course of your posting on this board.
    power without lumber, raciness without weediness

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  2. #12
    Senior Member Lesa Cozens Dauphin's Avatar
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    Ms. Potter, that was one of the best examples of creative dog training I've read anywhere. Lucky are the dogs who learn their skills while under your care. I look forward to learning more from you over the course of your posting on this board
    She also writes super articles for Retriever Journal.

    lesa c
    Ramblin Maxx Retrievers

  3. #13
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    My girl wasn't gunshy, but she did flinch quite a bit at a shot when I first got her, especially if the mark wasn't a bird (like using a retrieve-r-trainer.) So I ran her through that Masters Voice program. It's basically music and gunshots that you play when they are in a safe comfortable place. Each track, the gunshots get louder, the music gets softer, until at the last track, it's all gunfire. You build them up to each track, playing each one over and over for a few days until they seem comfortable. It seemed to help, she doesn't flinch anymore, but she is a little older, and I think she also figured out that the gun usually means birds and retrieves and fun.

    If your friend wants to try it, I am done with my copy, shoot me a PM.
    Kurt Bergner
    Portland, OR

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by threemuch View Post
    So I ran her through that Masters Voice program. It's basically music and gunshots that you play when they are in a safe comfortable place. Each track, the gunshots get louder, the music gets softer, until at the last track, it's all gunfire. You build them up to each track, playing each one over and over for a few days until they seem comfortable. .
    I'm trying to find a copy of this program for my gun shy GSP.... If anyone know where I might find one please let me know.

  5. #15
    Senior Member windycanyon's Avatar
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    Reading all of this, I'm really glad to live where I live: one mile north of a gun club (they shoot 2x a week, in my direction), and ~2 miles as the crow flies from a major military training area (which covers a lot of desert miles but the bombs.... oh my! The Japanese forces are here right now). Plus if it's fall/winter, mine hear the shots from hunters too which echo up the canyon. One dove hunter did seem a bit wizzed yesterday when he set up directly across the canal from me and found he had at least 6 labs plastered on my fence wanting to "help" retrieve his birds.... bad choice for a hunting spot if he didn't want to excite a few residents... sorry buddy.
    Last edited by windycanyon; 09-05-2013 at 12:23 PM.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Brettttka's Avatar
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    Google it and can find it. Guy is based out of St Louis and is willing to talk with you and help. Also gun dog supply sells copies of it. With that being said have not tried the program but it has a 97% success rate. Battled with not a gun shy dog but a gun concerned dog and after a lot of poppers and making the gun a fixture of my arm in training we have came along way. Big thanks to the trainer for many many phone calls and texts throughout the process. Shot live rounds the other day and not even a flinch out of my man. Live flyers he goes crazy like there is nothing else around.
    Last edited by Brettttka; 09-05-2013 at 12:37 PM.
    Lone Oak's Marley Man.. (My first)

  7. #17
    Senior Member Mallard Mugger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogtrainer4God View Post
    I don't know how much this will help but I found this on Dogs Afield. http://www.dogsafield.com/prodinfo.asp?number=R181-001
    Also, in thinking more about it. What would happen you recorded gunshots and played in in the house all the time. Just over and over and over, starting quietly and turning it up a little more as dog gets used to it.
    Just a thought........

    Abby
    I want my dogs to associate gunfire with a retrieve - what they love doing best. I don't want my dogs to have a tolerance of the noise. Will the background noise work, perhaps, but I think it's not nearly as soundproof as to the method Sharon uses. We do something very similar but it all boils down to being bird crazy and associating a retrieve with the gunfire.

  8. #18

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    They way I trained my pup was that at an early stage I would crush aluminum beer cans right by the dog. He got used to the loud noise of the crushing can easily and then I transitioned from there. Try it out with Ur best alcoholic beverage can and u will see good results as well.

  9. #19
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    Post 7 in this thread, and post 16 at this url http://www.retrievertraining.net/for...ht=gun+shyness are probably the best advise you will get depending on severity of the gun shyness in this dog.
    Last edited by freezeland; 09-05-2013 at 05:33 PM.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    I used the quail approach once and it worked like a charm. I don't remember it taking as long as with Sharon's dog but all dogs are different. Mine was lab.
    Wayne Nutt
    Go Nutts with dog training

    HRCH Patton's Parker Co. Shadow "Shadow"
    HRCH Clineline Hijacker "Jack"
    HRCH Marks a Lot Midnight Hudson, SH "Hudson"-retired
    Castile Creek's Rawhide, SH "Rowdy"

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