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PHESANTHUNTER25 02-07-2011 09:42 AM

gun shy
I have a 1 yr old black lab that i would like to train to hunt birds with me. i took her to the local shotgun range and had a friend shoot the 12 gage whike i had her on a leash maybe 50 yards away in the parking lot. as soon as he fired she got scared ****less wanted to run as far as she could but i made her stay with me, he fired once more and same thing. i put her back in the jeep and she just sat there kinda cowering and definitly scared. is there any thing that can be done to get her not as scared of gun fire? any info would b great thanks guys.

4evrhtn 02-07-2011 02:07 PM

You did the number 1 thing that creates a gun-shy dog. Using the "Let's See What Happens" method just created a ton of work for yourself. And now you want help undoing what you've done.... Now you have to condition your dog to associate loud noises with something rewarding like treats or food or play. This topic has been covered on here many times. Be patient and do what you should have done in the first place, realize it will probably tale you 2 or maybe 3 times as long now to condition your dog to loud noises without apprehension. All I can say is good luck!

Doc E 02-07-2011 03:19 PM

S T O P what you are doing ! ! !
Gunshyness is almost always man-made, and now you see one of the ways it happens.

My first question is : How "birdy" is your dog ?


JW 02-07-2011 05:16 PM

The dog is young so that is a good thing. If you do not feel qualified to fix the problem you have now created I work for a kennel that does specialize in gun shyness.

They can fix your problem - get the dog hunting and retrieveing birds but it is all at a cost.

Contact them if interested.


cosmo45 02-07-2011 06:12 PM

The best advice i can give is to start out with a starter pistol 1st. start out at 75 yards away from your buddy, he will have the starter pistol and the dummy.have him throw the dummy high in the air so the dog sees it ,when the dummy is at the highest point have your buddy fire the pitol. then send the dog, its not a big deal if the dog doenst bring it to you right now.we just want the dog to get use to the gun.( we want him thinking [email protected] birds [email protected] birds!) We want him to associate guns with a good thing,(getting to retrieve something)
when you start to see him less aware of the gun start moving closer but dont rush it ,it will happen. Now that you got this far start all over with a 4-10 doing the same thing,then a 20 gauge and then the 12 gauge.
It sounds like your behind the 8 ball at this point so take it slow and remember to keep it fun for the dog with lots of praise.

Mite 02-08-2011 01:58 AM

You've created a problem here. Personally, I would start very very slow. Like Doc E is asking how birdy is your dog? If he's already been fed treats, I don't think treats are going do it. Birds are quite different than treats. Treats are treats, but with birds you are working with the dog's natural instinct.

I would start with a cheap cap pistol from a toy store. Something that's not very loud. Go to a gamefarm and buy a dozen birds. Tie the legs w/ chord on the first one and tease the dog. Get the dog so hyped up that the sound would be un-noticed. If the sound still bothers the dog, put the gun away till another time.

You can also use a pigeon with primary wing feathers pulled so it can't fly but the method is the same. Do it till the dog ignores the sound. Then graduate the sound. Someone to help in shooting will also help alot.

I would use: cap gun->starters pistol w/.22 shorts (or something like popper rounds)->.410ga primers ->.410ga ->20ga or 12ga. It may be overkill but the dog is already showing signs of gunshyness if not already gunshy. So, you have to start real slow.

Good Luck

cosmo45 02-08-2011 07:59 AM

this place has a great starter pistol that wont break the bank and is reliable.
880 blank pistol .22 cal. 24.95
crimped blanks .22 cal 9.95 sounds like kids cap gun.
cci smokeless crimped blanks .22 cal 10.95 little louder retort

I also agree that live birds might be your golden ticket! let your dog come unglued while chasing them around,if he eats them so what,are goal is to get your dog crazy over birds! all other training can wait until you get over this hump.

If you cant find any live birds where you live, google(bears birds)they sell live pheasants and ducks for training. they might be able to help you out by shipping them. I think they were 8.00$ a bird

good luck

Sheridan 02-08-2011 10:35 AM

"My first question is : How "birdy" is your dog ?" DOC

Exactly !

The first thing you need to do is to get her interested in hunting by making it fun.

Then introduce her to softer "bangs", WHILE SHE IS DISTREACTED by her favorite Bumper/Pheasant Wing or Toy.

It's like a hunter who never feels the recoil from their gun while shooting at game.

4evrhtn 02-08-2011 05:20 PM

The bird with noise method works well especially if the dog isn't already gun shy. I think at this point you should seek help from someone who has experience undoing gunshyness. The last thing you want is for the dog to fear birds by shooting a gun while the dog is in close contact to live birds. This method works well if done right but has also caused a timid dog to fear birds as well when it starts hearing gunfire which it already is afraid of. There is no sure fix and what does work for most may or may not be helpful to you. You need to take 3 steps back and not go right back into gunfire even at a distance for now. Take your time and allow your dog to adjust to progressively louder noises increasing the volume SLOWLY and not in a hunting scenario. Meanwhile build your dogs bird drive with penned birds in the yard, teaching him birds are the best thing ever so that he doesn't later confuse birds with a negative such as gunfire which it currently perceives as a threat or danger. Once the dog is more confident and not skittish to loud noises then begin combining the two. Be Patient and Persistent.

cosmo45 02-09-2011 07:57 AM

One last thing,
Fireworks !!!
Fireworks !!!
Fireworks !!!
These can be the kiss of death to any gun dog. at 1 year old i am assuming she has heard them.It doesnt matter if they are bottle rockets or the big pretty ones that go boom,they are all bad! I tell you this becuase my dog freaked out when the blackhawks won the stanley cup.He did the same thing your dog did,ran into his kennel and shaked like a leaf on atree on a windy day.When the 4 july came around i turned up the t.v. put the radio on and prayed for the best. All is good now,I got him going bonkers for live birds,really let him come unglued chasing them around.then slowly and i mean slowly introduced the starter pistol with the live birds,and proceeded from there.

I hope this makes you feel all is not lost,with patience and alot of praise you will get there

good luck!

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