[QUOTEOK, I am sorry for the adverse advise. I did not realize I would be barraged for having a slight opinion/suggestion.][/QUOTE]
I got my first hunting dog was I was 19. I took him hunting for the first time and shot over him,,,he immediately ran between my legs and stayed htere for the first couple months. Luckily there were enough birds flushed back then to awaken his drive. I "fixed " it by continually shooting birds that flushed while he hugged tight to my leg.
I would let him play with the birds and throw them for him. By the end of the season he was hunting upland like a champ. Do you think I introduce dogs to the gun like that these days. I lucked out his drive to chase birds out weighed his problem with loud noises that come out of no where. He eventually put the 2 events together despite my ignorance. It could have turned into something I could not fix by my self and I could of ended up with chesapeake's or flatcoats thinking it was the lab portion in him that was afraid of noise,( remember I was a newby back then and any odd thought was possible).
There are best ways ,,good ways,,,ok ways and not so good ways to do things. Introducing gunfire by desensitizing is not a good way. That would be last resort and only if the dog lacked sufficient food,prey pack drive and if that were the case the dog wouldn't be suited for hunting any way,,so thats a wash. Introduce the dog to bangs by putting the dog in its highest sensory drive and let the dog make a correlation between the drive engagement and a light pop. then increase gradually.