gun shy
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Thread: gun shy

  1. #1
    Member Alastair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default gun shy about to take my pup out and intro her to the gun,any body know the best way(this is my first huntin dog & i dont want to screw it up)

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  3. #2
    Senior Member DRAKEHAVEN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Clear Lake Wisconsin


    Get in touch with Kevin Howarth at Wintoba Kennels, he will get you where you need to be.
    Discipline is no excuse for a lack of enthusiasm !!

  4. #3
    Senior Member GG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Lompoc. Ca.


    here is an article i wrote on the subject; Hope it helps
    It seems that everyone has a definition of"gun shy" and they
    all differ slightly. The degree of gun shyness will determine whether or not the dog can be helped. My definition of incurable gun shyness is when a shot goes off and you finally find the dog in the next town. If a dog is that terrified from the blast of a gun it's doubtful that anyone can help him get over his fear. Gun shyness is one of those problems that's all or nothing; cure it or turn the dog into a pet. Before attempting to tackle this problem my advice is: be damned sure the dog has some redeeming talent that makes such an effort worthwhile. "But I love the dog" does not qualify as worthwhile.
    I have never had a gun shy dog in training. (I just reread that and it sounds like my ego is showing, so let me explain.) The majority of dogs that I get in training are young and most have never heard a shotgun blast. When I get a new pup he is placed in his crate on the dog truck and taken to the field. I work only one dog at a time so the remaining eight dogs on the truck get charged up when they hear the shotgun sounding off. The young pup senses the excitement from the other dogs and makes a positive association with the sound of the gun. I do not shoot birds for a young dog until about the second week he is in training and by that time the sound of a shotgun means something good is going to happen. Of course, the shotguns are out in the field about 50 yards away from the dog. I don't shoot next to the dog until later when the association between shooting and retrieving is stronger. So when it's his turn to work he is looking forward to hearing the sound of the gun.
    While shooting trap at the Santa Ynez Trap Club one day I noticed a man drive up with a young dog in the rear of his pickup. He put a leash on the little guy and tried to walk towards the gunfire; the pup dug in his heels and tried to resist but this man dragged the terrified pup to the edge of the firing line. Forcing this pup to face something he was afraid of did not create a positive association for his first time ever hearing guns going off. The ideal thing to do for that puppy would be to stop at a distance from the gunfire and allow him to get accustomed to the noise. Give him a dog treat and love him up as you bring him closer to the firing line. When you see the pup getting apprehensive don't try to move him any closer; that's as close as he feels comfortable around the noise today. Dogs, especially puppies, are naturally fearful of any loud noise until they understand its significance and are comfortable around it.
    We must all try to remember that gun dogs have certain instincts given to them at birth by mother nature. Shotgun blasts are not covered in that birthright. But,if introduced properly, before long the noise from a shotgun becomes music to the dog's ears.
    good hunting

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  6. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    You need a helper. Have the helper back off about 100 yds with a primer pistol or a .22 and shoot a time or two while the puppy is doing fun retrieves. If the pup doesn't pay any attention or act scared, then have the gunner scoot in a little bit. Go slowly. Keep scooting in until the gunner is about 30yds away. Then stop. Make sure that the pup is not acting scared and make it really fun for the pup. Do this a couple of times, and then start all over with a shotgun. Any fear should result in a backing up of the gunner.

    The above is all predicated on the fact that you have been clapping and making loud noises before/during feeding.

    If you take your time you will never have a problem. If you rush it you are pushing your luck.


    "You may not think I'm funny but I do, please don't take anything I say seriously because it's probably not."

  7. #5
    Senior Member Ken Archer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    San Antonio, TX


    I've never had a gun shy dog and I've never specifically "introduced" a pup to gun fire. I have had a 7-week-old pup sleep most of the day 40 yards from a shot flyer station. I usually start my pups with hand thrown marks, graduate to BB marks at 20-30 yards and, after they are driving hard to the BB marks, introduce them to a 209 primer before the BB mark is thrown. They soon go crazy when they hear a gun shot because they think something is going to fall out the sky and they can go get it. Once they reach that stage, a shotgun blast just means more excitement.

  8. #6
    Senior Member Kevin Eskam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Pierce, Colorado


    I would do the same as MRGD said!

  9. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Upstate NY


    There's a difference between a dog not being gun shy and a dog not being gun shy and associating gun fire with a task to be done and the fun of a retrieve. My first retriever was about 30 years ago and I took her to the skeet range. I have no doubt that tens of thousands of dogs have been through this with success, and let me mention that I do not recommend it. Start in the parking lot and with the report of a gun going off, give dog a treat and praise. Read your dog and slowly make progress towards the line, giving a treat and praise with each advancement. If dog shows any timidness or fright, back off and proceed at a slower pace, or return another day. Depending on what's between your dog's ears, you can accomplish the goal in a trip or two, or maybe more and what do you have? A dog that is not gun shy.
    There is a better way IMO and the difference has been noticeable between the two. Those who have posted up to this point have all touched upon it. You want your dog to associate a gun going off and something to retrieve. There's no prize in accomplishing this in one outing so why try? A helper is a good thing to have, but not a necessity. If you you have the helper, start at the hundred yard mark and with a hand thrown bumper or bird, and a shot from a primer pistol. You release dog for the retrieve. Repeat it with a couple of shots.
    Reading your dog for any timidness or reluctance, decrease the distance, and repeat the procedure. More times than not, you could blow right through the reduction from 100 yards to nothing in one session, but why try? What is to be gained by it?
    Next time out, start at the 100 yards, then 75, then 50, then 25, each time with a mark to retrieve. Always be reading your dog's body language. At the first sign of reluctance or cowering, back off. Most of the time, if you have not rushed things, you will never encounter this behavior. Gun shy dogs are made, not born, and it's such a simple thing to avoid. Once you've gotten down to to the pistol being fired at the line with the dog, go back to the beginning and repeat the procedure with a shotgun, keeping the muzzle pointed away from your dog. Done this way, your dog will learn from the beginning that a gun going off will more often than not mean that there is something to retrieve.
    Without a helper, if you can put your dog in a sit, simply walk out the 100 yards, fire the gun, throw the bird and release the dog. It's simple enough, but sometimes people just don't think it through and jump into it blindly. Better to proceed slower than too quickly. Nothing is lost that way. The fact that you're asking is a good indication that it will go smoothly. Alwas be reading your dog and good luck. Let us know how it goes.

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