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Dog Training??

Old 08-19-2011, 07:41 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1
Default Dog Training??

Hey everyone. Just joined the forum. I started hunting birds 2 years ago. Just before that I adopted a Lab and thought he would be a perfect dog and hunting partner. Well, because of money and time constraints, I wasnt able to get him any formal training. He is now just over 3 years old. I took him to the lease last year during dove season and he had followed me behind the cabin when I had my 12 ga with me. I decided to fire off a shot (with the advice of a friend who has been hunting for 30+ years) and my dog tucked tail and ran to the front of the cabin. I didnt chase him or try to console him from being scared. Anyway, fast forward to today, anytime I take my rifle or shotgun out of the closet, he just runs away and cowars in the corner. I am wondering 2 things.
1) Can I ever break him of this at his age?
2) Can I ever make him a hunting dog at this age?

Oh, and the other thing, he is afraid of water. He will get in shoulder deep but thats about it. Like I said, I adopted him after he was left on the front door step of a shelter so I am thinking he was traumatized when he was with his first owner.

Thanks everyone.
krazythaikat is offline  
Old 08-19-2011, 08:39 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 7,408

Yes it caMIGHT be done but needs to be done by a professional. The dog was never introduced to the gun properly. I see too many people take a pup to a shooting range or bang pots and pans and create a problem before the dog ever sees its first bird. Sorry but thats it in a nutshell. Age is no issue as with constant postive repetition for any dog.

To over come this the dog needs to be given birds for quite a while until it shows interest in the bird. It can be a simple dead pigeon but live birds and allowing the dog to chase said bird is the way to go. Hopefully the dog likes to retrieve. If the dog shows no interest in live birds you need not proceed any further. Nothing can be done as the desire just is not there.

But, once if the dog has its prey drive, and does like birds, a bird is flown and a shot is introduced at some distance away (can be as far as 100 yds or more). This is only doen when the dog is totally focused on the bird. If this all goes good the gunner can move closer until a bird could be shot for this dog. The retrieve here becomes the ending reward to the dog. But it can be a slow process and not done correctly may not fix the issue that as been created. Especially if the dog has no desire to hunt.

Water is the same thing. Never push this dog in, or toss this dog in. If the dog will chase birds use a wing clipped live duck with its feet taped in a shallow pond. Most times the chase, which turns on the prey drive of the dog, will help the dog over come the fear of the dog leaving the safe bottom and swim. Enough of this and in conjunction with above one could switch to dead birds thrown. But birds and lots of them will be the answer IMO.

But to me, seek professional help. I have seen hunting dogs who have been shot over many times develop quirks - one just never knows


PM me and I will give you a name of a kennel that may be able to help you.

Last edited by JW; 08-19-2011 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 08-20-2011, 02:33 AM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 860

I read two sentences and knew what this thread was going to be about a gun shy dog.

I would like to also add don't listen to your friend. Just because he's hunted for 30+ years doesn't mean he's a dog trainer. If he had trained a dog then I would wonder how many dogs he's gone through to finally find one that's deaf.

Now, stop whatever your doing. Rewind and start slowly. You need to start with birds, lots of birds. Then integrate a cap gun. Yes, a cap gun to start. Then a starters pistol. If the dog notices any of the sounds, stop. Do it again the next day.

You kinda get what you need to do. Gun shyness is man-made. Just that one shot made your dog gun shy. It may take a year maybe less depending upon how your dog reacts to birds.

Read the thread on a gun shy dog below.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:34 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 221

What you have to do is associate loud sounds with good things.
Example when you go to feed the dog make a lot of fuzz, bang that fed pan, etc....until he associates noise with you coming to feed him, and is so glad to hear that noise. Do the same thing when you throw a dummy for him to retrieve, do this all gradually, graduating to the sound of a 22 or a cap gun. Not all dogs are the same. Those with very good hearing are more sensitive to loud sounds. Learn to observe the reaction of you dog.
You can introduce the sight of a shotgun again WITHOUT the sound just to let him know it's part of your gear when you're having fun....but feeding time is when they are really attentive to you. There are good dog trainers out there, but sometimes you have to face the fact that some dogs are not really the hunters they are supposed to be....
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