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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So as I have mentioned a few times I just got a GSP pup. he is 5months old and we have been just working on basics. (here,whoa, and just being out in the field). nothing formal. the problem is this, i have read several different books that say that a pointing dog shouldnt be introduced to the gun till it is whoa broke. others say that once a dog is bird crazy that the best way to break them is to get them chasing a bird and start shooting around them;(he has been introd to birds and is nuts about them) i know this sounds like a no brainer, but here's the kicker. i got the pup at 3.5mos and he had been socialized but never shot around, he gets nervous and moves away from any sudden loud noises. I have fired a gun twice when he was about 50yds away from me running through the field and he came running back not necesarily scared but not sure what to do so i havnt shot around him since. this dog has alot of drive and natural talent i just dont want to ruin a long term investment because im trying to rush things. i never had any of these problems with my lab.
thanks
Jim
 

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Labs and pointing breeds are way different creatures when it comes to the gun. Start banging 2 pieces of 2x4 together anywhere and every where. DO NOT react to any reaction. Don't look at the dog , don't speak to the dog, do not react. It is as if nothing happened. That is a good starting spot. Same goes for any spook behavior , do not acknowledge the dog's response. If you even look at them, they think there is something to react to......
I personally get the dogs bird crazy and intro 22 on a long chase, about 80-100 yds away.Then gradually get closer with the 22. Then I start all over again with a shot gun.
Good luck, Bridget
 

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I would not shoot around him when he's just running around. When I introduce a pointing breed to gunfire, I make sure they are excited about chasing birds first. Then I take a bag of pigeons, skip one or two across the grass so they tease the pup into chasing them as they skim the ground and then fly up and off. When pup does that well, I'll fire a shot, usually a blank pistol, when the pup is a good distance away from me chasing a pigeon. The blank shot is fired behind me and away from the pup.

The fastest way I know of to make a dog is gunshy is to shoot around it to find out if it is gunshy. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The fastest way I know of to make a dog is gunshy is to shoot around it to find out if it is gunshy. ;-)[/QUOTE]

yeah:oops:.... my first instinct when i read that was to get wound up and defend my actions but, i knew i messed up when I did it and know it now.

i appreciate the advice given here and also the PMs i have recieved. Thumbs Up, you will more than likely here from me today.
jim
 

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Every dog is different. I've had pointing dogs and labs and not one of them reacts to gunshots the same way. Every notable trainer gets the dog fired up or distracted before shooting a gun and it is always a quiet first time. personally, i start with a kids cap gun on pups. Birds are great but anything that gets the dog's attention works. I broke a gunshy setter with a tennis ball. If a dog loves to retrieve, does it matter what breed it is? forget waiting until he is broke to introduce guns. The dog is young enough it won't matter. Personally I would rather gun break a dog who isn't whoa broke. let him chase a lot of birds. I like the post that recommended carrying a bunch of pigeons around and shooting while the dog is chasing a flying bird. Here's the best piece of advice I heard, Don't hurry the training, especially with pups!
 

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The fastest way I know of to make a dog is gunshy is to shoot around it to find out if it is gunshy. ;-)
yeah:oops:.... my first instinct when i read that was to get wound up and defend my actions but, i knew i messed up when I did it and know it now.

i appreciate the advice given here and also the PMs i have recieved. Thumbs Up, you will more than likely here from me today.
jim
Sorry about that....didn't mean to wind you up. ;) Kindly accept my apologies. I fix a few of those dogs every year, and always feel bad for the guys that bring 'em to me.

With a five month old pointing dog, I wouldn't even worry about whoa. Get the prey drive going, teach basic obedience, like "here", do some play retrieves, and let him be a pup, with lots of long walks in fields/woods, etc. Normally we don't start the formal training....steady/whoa, etc. until the pup has gone through one hunting season and gotten absolutely wild about finding birds. Too much control/being told what to do too early in life takes something out of a dog that can never be put back....they need to have some independent spirit (talking pointing dogs here, not retrievers ;) ).
 

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UGH! I have been trying to PM you but the system won't let me.
Short version of my PM is: ask the breeder for the phone #s of the littermates and ask how they are doing around loud noises and gunfire - AND what the new owner's believe to be the prey drive in their puppy. Ask on GDF if anyone knows the breeder and the dogs in the first 2 generations. Don't let any titles blind you, a decent trainer can get past issues like this. Quality is bred and it ain't that easy to come by. Don't be so fast to blame yourself.

Francine
 

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call the other owners anyway. find out if the pups are sound sensitive. If some are then you might want to give it away as a pet,if you really wanted a hunting dog this dog will be worthless.The mother teaches the pups a lot about the world when she's nursing them - if the mother is fearful, she taught a good number of the pups to be fearful. And that's a fact.
Did the breeder send you pictures of the male hunting?On point? searching? If he owns the female,why has he not hunted her? Doesn't make any sense. "Hunting stock" is a BS line breeders hand down - so is "meat stock". JH is a waste of time and shows little,if anything, about a dog and what their get will be like. If he doesn't hunt her it's b/c she doesn't hunt -dare I say - gunshy,weak nerves?the proof is always in the pudding.
Sorry if I sound mean. It really rubs me the wrong way when people breed what they have and not what's good.I spend loads of money qualifing my dogs for breeding and joe shmo comes along,breeds crap he's got and pollutes the gene pool.And, lies about what he's got.
Ok, I'm off my soap box.
If you need any help or suggestions just shoot me a PM but you can find a lot of info on GDF or versatiledogs.com

Francine
PS- if you decide to jump in again and seach for a new pup send me a PM and I can let you know where to look, and I'll get breeders who will work with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
the breeder is some relation to a guy who used to bird hunt with my father and the friend of my fathers is the one who helped me to find the pup. the breeder quit hunting when the female was a pup because he had some serious health complications that would not allow him to hunt and his kids weren't into it. the guy who helped me to find the dog had hunted over the male several times and said that he was a decent hunting dog. this was not a planned breeding. other than this noise issue the pup has a strong desire to "hunt" and is pointing wing clipped birds when i have used them in training. im not saying that the breeding has nothing to do with the problems that i am having but am somewhat convinced that once i overcome this hurdle that he will make at least a passable pleasure hunting dog.
thank you for the input
Jim
also i intend to contact the breeder sometime tomorrow and ask him some of the questions you have mentioned
 

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When it comes to pointing dogs I would listen to Sharon Potter. I think she is associated with one if not the best pointing dog trainer I know of in the Smiths. I used Delmar Smith's methods for years when I had pointing dogs.
 

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Yes, I agree,Sharon Potter's advice is spot on. Thing is - her advice will only work on dogs that did not inherit a weak nerve,which is what I am questioning in this pup based on info I have recieved on the pup.

Prey drive,hardness and nerve are bred not trained.
Francine

Francine
 

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His dog did not run out of the field and hiding and quivering behind the truck....He ran to the handler and questioned what the gun fire was. I would not classify this as a weak nerve. This is a dog that needs to be introduced to the gun differently then THAT.
 

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I bought a GSp 4 yrs ago. I never had a pointing dog prior.

SO I thought Id train it like my labs, and add the pointing tricks as I went..

Then I figured I would train it to be a versatile dog.

He learned a bunch really fast, and was the best retrieving pointer many pointer owners had ever seen.

Then I fired a 12 gauge over him.

he ran back to the truck, and scratched the crap out of my door trying to get back in.


I took him to a pointer trainer. He put him in a field with live quail every day for a few weeks..first day, flush and chase. second day, flush and chase...get 100 yards out, fire a 22 blank.. and by the end of week 2, he was busting quail with a 12 at 30 yards while the dog was practically underfoot.

Further, we used "gunshy cure" cd's by Master's voice for about 2 weeks after that.

Rex has since placed in 6 pointing trials that were shoot to kill, has an SHR retrieving title, and has retrieved over 100 ducks and geese over each of the last three duck seasons.

This past year in Canada he retrieved 75 out of a boat with as many as 4 guns at a time going off. He is steady to wing and shot, and just about wets himself with excitement when he sees me going to the gun cabinet.

Dont give up on the dog.
 

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"he gets nervous and moves away from any sudden loud noises. I have fired a gun twice when he was about 50yds away from me running through the field and he came running back not necesarily scared but not sure what to do"

This is what was written about the dog in the opening post.
It was serious enough that the poster needs to question the puppy's actions.
50 yards is not far at all and the puppy may not have been all that distracted.
I want the puppy to be everything the owner wants and more.
I don't want him to give up on the dog either,only research into the breeding before spending time and hope. I do hope the methods mentioned above are tried and success is achieved. I am looking foward to hearing their success story.
marshmonster,
aren't Canadian waters to cold for a GSP? BRRRR.
Once the air temps go down to 20 or less we don't send our DKs for water retreives.

Francine
 

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It has been my experience that aversion to loud noise is not an inherited trait (not to be confused with timidity/shyness). That said, some dogs are born bolder than others, and some dogs are more easily intimidated than others. But no dog is ever born gunshy/noise averse, and it has nothing to do with being born with more or less nerve. There is always a root cause, if one digs deep enough.

Jimmyp's dog, as described above, is not showing anything besides uncertainty...I would not consider that behavior to show a lack of "nerve" or anything remotely close.

It's the prey drive that counts....if a pointing dog has that and it's encouraged and developed, it becomes the focal point. With gunfire eventually introduced, the dog learns that the sound of the gun means birds. Prey drive, prey drive, and more prey drive. With that, the dog gets "in the zone" mentally, and the world could collapse around it...the focus and intensity will remain on the bird.

Jimmyp's dog is going to turn out just fine.
 

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I agree with Sharon whole heartedly....

Much depends on what the people do when the pup spooks. Many , I hate to steroetype, but many women (and alot of men) will go to the pup and try and coddle them and tell the pup "it's ok, that loud noise is not going to hurt you" all sweet and mom like. This tells the pup that the behavior he was exhibiting was pleasing to the person. He had success getting all that sweet love , for being fearful.
If the OP talked to the dog or told him "it's ok" when the dog returned to him he was rewarding the pup.Not saying he did , but IF.

I am totally on Sharon's page about intro to the gun, after bird crazy. on a chase. Guns + Birds = fun
 

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"It's the prey drive that counts....if a pointing dog has that and it's encouraged and developed, it becomes the focal point. With gunfire eventually introduced, the dog learns that the sound of the gun means birds. Prey drive, prey drive, and more prey drive. With that, the dog gets "in the zone" mentally, and the world could collapse around it...the focus and intensity will remain on the bird."

Prey drive is not one size fits all. It ranges from none to very high. The softer the dog the lesser the drive.
Anyway, best of luck with your puppy.

Francine
 

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Let me re-write it.
Drives are directly related to hardness.
How easy it is to elicite a drive does not indicate the inbred level of the drive.
The level of the drive is determined by how much the dog is willing to endure,(this is where hardness comes in) and how easily the dog looses interest. Prey drive may be easy to elicite but maintaining the drive and intensity is what makes a good hunting dog.
When a dog goes on point and becomes aware of the handler but looses intensity would be considered a soft or not hard dog, there are shades of grey and each situation would need to be considered before determining the level of hardness(or softness).
Watch a few young dogs and you will quickly realize who is running willy-nilly and who is searching. The inexperienced will believe the willy-nilly dog is the better dog, but that's just b/c they are as cluless as the dog. A pointing dog must have focus.A pointing dog who does not show a decent level of hardness is not a dog I would feed or breed,regardless of how good the nose is.
Francine
 
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