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 Gun Shy Problems 
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:48 am
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Location: Big BR
Post Gun Shy Problems
I'm looking for some input on getting my dog to not "shut down" when shots are fired. He's a wirehaired pointing griffon and loves to fetch. He's been FF'd and does line work along with some pattern blind stuff here recently. Lately, I've worked (not consistently) with a popper in the house.

I understand that I made the mistake of taking him out too early. This could have been avoided but I got excited about finally having a retriever.

That being said, what kind of regiment should I look at as far as conditioning him to sound. The option that seems most ideal would be to get some live birds and clip the feathers. Then let him go crazy while shooting the gun at a fair distance, getting closer until I see him flench.

Has anyone ever had this problem that they've fixed?

For the record, we did a Navhda natural abilities test where they deemed him gun sensitive. When he's fired up about birds he comes back to me and checks me until he remembers theres birds to be found. I just don't know how to transition this to water as we will mostly be waterfowl hunting.

Any input will be appreciated.

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Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:58 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:19 am
Posts: 187
Post Re: Gun Shy Problems
Gun shyness is man made. It's VERY hard to ever fully fix, but clipped winged pigeons and a gun far away is where I would start. If anything can fix it, live birds can.


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Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:13 pm
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Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:59 pm
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Post Re: Gun Shy Problems
I've seen it recommended to start with a 22 or other small caliber gun far away...someone shooting while you're playing and retrieving. Then very slowly the shooter comes closer. The more you can associate the noise with fun and retrieving the better. As he gets used to that the shooter can use larger guns and repeat the procedure.

If another person is not available and you have an outdoor shooting range nearby you could park up the road and walk closer and closer instead.

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Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:42 am
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Post Re: Gun Shy Problems
You don't want to try the gun range thing. You want to build an association that a gun shot means a bird to pick up. It builds excitement and a positive association rather than acceptance.

Some use 22's but if you start someone 300 yards out and progressively work it, you will be just fine avoiding an extra step and just start with a 12 gauge


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Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:29 am
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:48 am
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Location: Big BR
Post Re: Gun Shy Problems
I've heard that a gun range would be a bad idea. I don't think it would give me enough control if it starts to go wrong.

I have a starter pistol that I plan to use. Just need to find a place to use it.


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Gatortail Extreme 1856 w/ GTR 37 efi


Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:26 am
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Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:59 pm
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Post Re: Gun Shy Problems
Personally I would avoid skipping steps to save time considering this is either going to make or break whether you can ever hunt with your dog. Sure you can associate gun shots with retrieving something...but I would rather worry about forming that association later on. The biggest priority to me is getting them used to gunfire and not care about it.

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Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:46 pm
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Post Re: Gun Shy Problems
Bacon bits work really well initially. Get them playing, start at distance with a 22 short, give bacon bits when they don't pin their ears on the shot

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Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:35 pm
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