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deadfeathers

Gun Shy?

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deadfeathers

My buddy has a female yellow lab. In the last week or so she has started spooking at the shot of a gun. He started her off right when he first got her with pot and pans while she was eating, then a .22 from far away and then closer, all the way up to a shotgun. She was fine until just this past week or so. She is still young, only 9 or 10 months old. Any tips to help her get over this. Will she grow out of it, or is he going to have to start over with the basics. Never had to deal with this situation before. Any help would be appreciated.

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Stiff

I'd take her to a gun range where there is constant shooting - like a trap leauge. Start out a half mile or more away from the guns where you can hear them, but they are just background noise. Then start doing something that she loves - like simple retreives with lots of praise and few "rules". Make it fun.

Monitor her response to the guns and slowly work closer (or farther away) from the guns.

I've never read about this but it makes sense to me. Lots of shootng makes it "just background noise" as a opposed to making each shot an "event". Then you are also in control of how loud the shooting becomes. Just walk as far away as needed and continue to have fun... Just make sure she is always having fun and let the fun distract her from the sound of the guns. The guns are there, but just disregard them and keep them as disant as is comfortable for her - but always keep them there.

I started my lab out this way. But we ended up working to right behind the guns the first night and she never had any problems at that time or since, so in my case it was more like prevention than a solution.

Good Luck,

~T

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jbdragon17

I would not take the dog to a gun range ever. That is a quick way to ensure the dog is gun shy.

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setterguy

Do not take her to a gun range.

If you were afraid of heights, would dangling you from the top of the IDS cure you or make more afraid? There are steps that can be taken, and there are even trainers that can help you out. It will be a long process, and one setback in the progress can take you back to square one.

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trailratedtj

why not? i think its a great idea...as long as you stay far away. If you stay far away enough so it sounds lighter than thunder and slow work your way in you'd be fine. If the dog cant take the sound of a gun shot a mile or more away id hate to see the dog during a thunder storm! YES! i do know dogs that curl up pretty good to a thunder storm. anyways if you start just like mentioned it would actually be lighter sounding than pots and pans and a .22 500ft away. Think about it. Now yes if you take the dog to a gun range and tie it up right beside the truck in the parking lot it will probably piss all over him or her self.

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setterguy

Why?

1.) You have no control over when those shots are fired, and how frequent they will be fired or the duration between shots.

2.) Dog already has a hesitation about loud noises, particulary gun shots. You need to be in control of every second during the recovery period .

3.) I don't know of many gun ranges that will allow you to bring live birds onto their grounds. This is what you need the dog to associaite the loud noise with, birds. All you can hope at this point is the dog will like birds, more than it dislikes gunshots and learns to associate one with the other.

4.) Dog went from being OK around guns to not being ok, I would guess that something happened. This has to be a SLOW process, not something that can be fixed in an afternoon.

But by all means, these are simply my thoughts and things I have learned from people who know more than I. If you want to bring your dog to a gun range, I wish you all the luck in the world with your dog.

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Ufatz

Setterguy is on the right track. Please, please PLEASE don't take the dog to a shooting range to attempt a "cure" for a gun shy problem. If you watch closely even some dogs that hunt regularly, when they are young, tend to flinch and get nervous around the constant banging of a trap range etc.

Just go back and start over with the dog. He'll be alright, just take the time. If the dog is frightened now and you take it to a gun club and force it to sit there you will probably PERMANENTLY terrify the animal. frown.gif

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trailratedtj

If you read what i said at all i particularly said i wouldnt carry the dog to the actual range. I said a mile or more away. whatever it takes to get the noise to a level were its barely heard. Basically to where it sounds like a WHISPER, and not standing behind the guy shooting. I think you guys have read to much or heard to much about guys ACTUALLY carry dogs to guy ranges.

What i am agreeing with is basically using the sounds of a gun like the sounds of highway traffic. Imagine your out in the woods miles out from any road, as your walking you faintly hear the sound of cars, the longer you walk and the closer you get it gets louder. As you have been walking you have gotten use to the cars and the next thign you know your staring down the hill looking at a freeway.

Now if you did this with a dog it could be done. THE POINT IS TO GET FAR AWAY TO WERE THE NOISE IS VERY FAINT! VERY VERY FAINT!, so faint if you whisper 2 feet from the dog its not gonna hear a thing(maybe a cricket). Now if you start off at this level and SLOWLY work your way closer(meaning not in a days time, more like a once a week thing, slowly getting more frequent) to where over time your standing back unerneath a gun. If you keep the dog off in a happy world during the reconditioning he should be fine. The dog has already been accustomed to guns and there sounds, he's somehow scared himself away from them.

Now you tell me....if you start out far enough away and take it slow, how could this fail? Not having control over the gun shot will not have an effect if you introduce them as background noises. As you got closer and more conditioned your could switch over to a field, standing the same distance away from where he's comfortable and slowly start working your way in(once again, taking as much time as needed).

"Your control is the distance"

just as STIFF said.

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Ufatz

Like I said, go back to first base with the dog, slowly and gradually introducing the gun.

This is not complicated, especially if you've trained a few dogs here and there in your life. grin.gif

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Stiff

Hi Guys,

I don't visit this page much, so forgive if I fail to keep up with the conversation.

Definately - distance is the key. I totally agree that you should NOT drive directly to the range and I didn't mean to imply that. Park a long way from the range and just use it as a real sound source - but only get as close as the dog is comfortable with - like more than a half mile to start. Don't measure it - just roll down your window as you approach and stop as soon as you can hear the guns way off in the distance (like a whisper). The dogs reaction will tell you everything you need to know.

Don't focus on the gunshots. Ignore them, and just focus on playing games and having fun. But pay close attention to her reaction to the gunshots in the distance and adjust accordingly.

Driving directly to the range would be a good way to cause much bigger problems.

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jbdragon17

STAY AWAY from the gun range period. You will ruin the dog. Get some live birds and a starter pistol. Get the dog in a situation where it is BIRD CRAZY and associate the gun shot to birds some way or another. Setterguy is RIGHT ON with this.

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uplander

Amen!!!!! Dragon, birds are the answer.... Birds first and then slowly introduce the noise 22 blank or maybe even a cap gun. make sure the dog is focussed on the bird and since it's a lab, I would make sure the dog can catch the bird after the shot is fired........remember just birds first that's what its all about get that dog tuned into the birds and he won't hear anything even his name

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tealitup

When would be too early to introduce the puppy to birds?

I have a 9 week pup and thinking about starting more on birds. She will fetch - and we have been banging pots and pans around when she eats - no fear yet, but I dont want to screw up now.

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setterguy

What kind of dog? I don't think 3 months is too early to start introducing birds. I would just let her see them, chase them, grab em, whatever she wants to do at this point in the game. You just want her to want them...most trainers will have a bird/gun introduction class that will do both for you.

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tealitup

Where can a guy buy wing clipped birds? What kind should I try for? Could they hurt the dog and ruin them for hunting?

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311Hemi

Quote:

Where can a guy buy wing clipped birds? What kind should I try for? Could they hurt the dog and ruin them for hunting?


Game farms, but you will just be buying regular birds. You can also try to trap pigeons....but that takes some effort!

You can then tie their wings together or clip some feathers. You will want to start out with pigeons, quail, or chuckar. Do not start your pup out on pheasants, they are obviously bigger and have claws, no need to have a chance at them scaring the pup or worse yet scratching it.

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setterguy

Right on, thats why I was wondering breed....You want the dog to get real fired up about the birds, take it slow. Let the dog investigate while the birds are still in the crate. If she shows signs of hesitation it may be a little early, if she tries to crawl into the bird box like mine did when she was 10 weeks old, you are probably good to go.

Never seen such a funny sight as her in there with 5-6 chukars. I don't think she thought about the repercussions of her actions. But that is sometimes what makes her such a good dog.

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jbdragon17

I dont think there is anything wrong with getting a pup around birds now either. Just make sure there is lots of praise and lots of excitement. Get that prey drive going!

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uplander

If the dog seems hesitant around birds use a fresh killed one not a live one. Do it as soon as you think the dog is ready...praise and excitement are key!!!!!as jbdragon has said>

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uplander

P.S. won't it be awesome when we can just go hunting instead of sitting in front of the computer..........(9 more days baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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311Hemi

Quote:

P.S. won't it be awesome when we can just go hunting instead of sitting in front of the computer..........(9 more days baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


Unfortunately I still have to...um...work, so I will still be stuck in front of the computer during the weekdays.... mad.gif

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kgpcr4

actually its a valid way to get a dog used to gunfire. I worked at Deltone Kennels when they were one of the best in the US and thier kennels were 100yrds away from the kennels. We would take a gunshy dog out and put him on a 25' lead and leg him walk where he wanted to walk. we NEVER pulled the dog toward teh firing line. just let the dog takes its own sweet time. If the dog goes toward the gunfire let him go as far as he wanted to go. if he wanted to walk away that was fine as well. soon the dog would be up to the firing line paying no attention to the gunfire. It worked. The key is to not make the dog go towards the firing line and let him do it on his own. if he is scared of the gunfire he wont walk towards it.

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