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DigitalFisherman

New Twist on Gun Shy

7 posts in this topic

I have a 15 mo old golden who is not gun shy. I intro'd her to gun fire slowly at a young age and she has never had a negative reaction (I shot a grouse over her for the first time yesterday... her first flush/retreive of a live bird). The problem is that she is a completely different dog in the duck boat. As soon as we started hearing sots on Saturday, she started shaking and acting afraid. She seamed to calm down by the end of the hunt so I took her back out Sunday morning... same reaction; this time she ended up under my seat. Less than one hour after getting off the water, we had her right next to us while targert shooting and she never even flinched and it was last night (after two bad expereances in the duck boat) that I shot the grouse over her and that tail was waging like mad.

What do you think is happening and what advise do you guys have to get her over this hump?

Thanks, DF

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Lots of commotion out duck hunting compared to grouse hunting. Most guys never train their dog for duck hunting prior to actually going out duck hunting.

Most dogs should be yard trained to hunt ducks during the summer. Set acanoe in your lawn, teach your dog to sit quietly in the boat. Set decoys out in front of you. Do a little calling and have a buddy throw a bumper up and out in the decoys while shooting a starter pistol. Increase the activity and shooting over the next couple days till you are calling a lot in the boat and YOU are doing the shooting with the starter pistol. Still have your buddys throwing the bumpers out in the decoys(have them quack once on the call to get the dogs attention). We've done this with dogs for a couple weeks straight to really get them dialed in on what will be happening while out duck hunting. We over exagerate our calling and shooting and our motions to really get them ready for what will take place in the boat and it helps to reinforce their steadiness in the duck boat. It also helps with teaching retrieving of game back to the boat.

I bet it isn't as much a matter of gun shyness as oppossed to her having very little confidence in the situation she was in. If she is a soft-timid dog, thrusting her into an all out duck hunt may have just blown her away. A lot of times I start my young dogs off with a quiet beaver pond where I'm by myself, can hunt from shore and limit the commotion and shooting of the hunt till I feel he has a good grasp of what is going on...

Good Luck!

Ken

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I'd agree with Ken's assessment. I've done similar "pond training" to initiaite my dogs before an actual hunting situation.

Another factor that makes ducks and doves a unique situation is that the dog is relying on vision to connect the shooting with birds. In the grouse woods and pheasant fields, the dog usually develops a sequence:

1) smell/locate bird

2) bird flies

3) gunshot

4) reward of bird in mouth!

With ducks/doves, there's no scent in their face so the gunshot surprises them if they don't see the bird(s) first and it can throw 'em for a loop. I've done training where I'd take my dog around the corner of a barn, into the woods, etc., and have a friend fire shots 10 yards away where the dog can't see. I reassured my dog things were OK the whole time and I think it paid off later in the duck boat on crowded hunting areas.

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"Lack of confidence in the situation" seems to fit the bill. I have done yard work out of the canoe with her and I have done water work with the canoe beached and she did great. I will try having a buddy shoot/throw from a distance; that approach makes sence. I also agree that finding a quiter place to hunt and from shore would help with the re-intro. I had never hunted duck in this area and didn't know what to expect; come 9am on Saturday it was like the fourth of July with guns popping and ducks buzzing by and those dumb coots constantly fluttering all around us... very exiting for a duck hunter, very overwhelming for a young dog.

Thanks for the advise boys... from me and the pup.

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Big, big difference between shooting a grouse in the woods and a duck from a boat.

I would continue to have someone else do some shooting from the boat while you encourage the dog or have some close shooting done by another person while you are again encouraging the dog.

You might want to do some shooting of your ducks from a land based blind like Ken mentioned to reduce the vibration or echo from the boat.

GOOD LUCK & GOOD HUNTING!!

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She's reacting to the boat and to being confined in the boat. Have you had her in a boat before?

Don't worry, this can be worked out. The water and the boat is upsetting her.

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She has been in the canoe before but not many times.

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  • Posts

    • rundrave

      Posted

      I think you need to go back to basics. What you are trying to do doesn't have to be reinforced in just the boat.

      You need that dog to obey and listen to each command you give. If you are trying to get her to sit/stay then that's what you need to work on.

      You can practice and work on that command every time you open the door to the kennel to let the dog out. You tell her to sit/stay and you open the door. If she doesn't you know close the door and repeat.

      Every time you give your dog a bowl of food don't just give it to her make her sit/stay before she get its. There are  varieties of situation that the sit command can be used for. Start with small exercises and work your way up to bigger more complicated tasks, repetition, repetition repetition. Be sure to praise and always try to end work on a positive note. 

      I think the most important thing is don't give a command you cant reinforce.

    • Musky hunter 82

      Posted

      I made it out last night, saw a small buck and a nice doe at 20 yards but to quite to hear them and since I'm in some really thick stuff I didn't see them until they were on top of me.  Also saw another deer 40 yards away but couldn't tell what it was, then spooked something behind (not the direction the deer normally head to in the evening) me as I was getting down.  Almost had a Coyote in the CRP grass when I was walking out, big sucker and the second one see in two sits now (one by my wife and now by me), the land owner said that they are coming up on to his yard now.  I've hunted this ground for 12 years and this is the first year I've seen a coyote while hunting.

      Here's a couple of views from the stand, going to move it to the edge of the CRP field that is about 30 yards behind me.

      20160925_164858.jpg

      20160925_164902.jpg

    • paceman

      Posted

      Made it out for a very short sit Saturday Night. Thunder storms had my son and I scrambling for the truck. Our view. Lots of good deer sign in area. Early SE Corn.JPG

    • 750 this week only Im losing money on this but would rather have someone be able to use it than for it to just sit around. After this week I am going to winterize it and it will no longer be for sale.

    • How is she on the sit command?  That is the basis of everything.  She needs to learn to sit still and wait until the next command.  I don't even teach my dogs "stay" because it isn't necessary if they are solid on "sit".  Every dog has the ability to be steady, it is up to you to teach them.  A lab that isn't steady in the boat is not only annoying, it is potentially dangerous with loaded guns and the potential to capsize a boat in open water. 

      If she knows sit but just needs some reinforcement, it may just take a couple trips where you don't even bring the gun along and let others shoot while you handle the dog. 

      If she's real bad, I would recommend going back to the basics. It will be tougher with an older dog versus a puppy but is definitely worth it. Check out the retriever training DVDS by Bill Hillman. They are spendy but definitely worth it.

    • easyrider25

      Posted

      Looking for advice on keeping the dog focused and quiet in the duck boat.  Was out today and we shot enough ducks to keep her busy, however my dog is such a hyper hypo that it's a  little annoying.  Either whining or jumping back and forth from the front and back of the boat.  Do I just need to establish the expectation and keep on her till she finally gets it or is this how some dogs are in the boat? This is her 4th year duck hunting and she has continued to improve each season.  Overall I am happy with her work, especially with the limited amount of hunting I do.  We were out today for 3 hours, shot 8 birds and she did great on the retrieving end and is pretty much focused on the skies, but if something is not constantly dropping from them I feel like I have a screaming baby on my hands.  It's not really that bad, just very annoying.   I would just like her to sit in her spot, stare at the skies and wait for my command.  Is this to much to ask?

    • On 9/24/2016 at 3:30 PM, ZachD said:

      she's getting big

      She's up to 38 pounds at a few days short of 5 months and does not stop going 100 mph. She got exposed to a lot of feathers this weekend at duck camp. She retrieved dead ducks and geese in the yard after our hunts. The goose was a bit big so I chopped a wing off and worked with that after she picked it up and barely made it back a short distance to me. 

      1 person likes this
    • delcecchi

      Posted

      Maybe that is how they can stay in business 

    • flagislanddan

      Posted

      Fishing Report from Flag Island Resort Lake of the Woods, Northwest Angle 9/25/16

       

      Happy Fall!

       

      On the Minnesota side fishing has been great around Soldier’s and Mergan’s Point. Most points have been producing fish as well as bays due to shiners moving into the bays. Raps and spinners have been successful as well as 3/8 ounce jigs with the jig bite turning back on. Shiners, crawlers and fatheads have all been attracting the fish. The magic depth has been between 8 and 18 feet. The duck and goose opener has been successful with many resident birds still around we have not seen any signs of northern birds in the area. There have been many Woodducks and Mallards around.

       

      Over on the Ontario side the Walleye bite has been great and the Crappies are picking up. Anglers have been targeting fall spots and jigging in 18-28 feet of water. Emerald shiners are on the move to spawn so watch for them in channels and bays with creeks. The water temp is cooling down and is approximately at 62 degrees. Trolling for Muskies in 10-18 feet has also been good.

       

      The leaves are starting to change colors and there is definitely a chill in the air but, there is still plenty of time to get in on some wonderful fall fishing. The best part about fall fishing is some of the great wildlife you get to see out and about. Also, it is a good time to start thinking about your winter ice fishing trip, we would love to have you as our guest!

       

      Until next week, good luck fishing!

      Guides Dan Schmidt, Jeremy Glessing and Devin Rau

       

      Flag Island Resort

      218-223-8011

       

      14352408_10154027624047635_3217819021999145477_o.jpg

      14372283_10154027624017635_7564426901939642848_o.jpg

      14463040_10154032392587635_7055875993614459489_n.jpg

    • flagislanddan

      Posted

      Fishing Report from Flag Island Resort Lake of the Woods, Northwest Angle 9/26/16

       

      Happy Fall!

       

      On the Minnesota side fishing has been great around Soldier’s and Mergan’s Point. Most points have been producing fish as well as bays due to shiners moving into the bays. Raps and spinners have been successful as well as 3/8 ounce jigs with the jig bite turning back on. Shiners, crawlers and fatheads have all been attracting the fish. The magic depth has been between 8 and 18 feet. The duck and goose opener has been successful with many resident birds still around we have not seen any signs of northern birds in the area. There have been many Woodducks and Mallards around.

       

      Over on the Ontario side the Walleye bite has been great and the Crappies are picking up. Anglers have been targeting fall spots and jigging in 18-28 feet of water. Emerald shiners are on the move to spawn so watch for them in channels and bays with creeks. The water temp is cooling down and is approximately at 62 degrees. Trolling for Muskies in 10-18 feet has also been good.

       

      The leaves are starting to change colors and there is definitely a chill in the air but, there is still plenty of time to get in on some wonderful fall fishing. The best part about fall fishing is some of the great wildlife you get to see out and about. Also, it is a good time to start thinking about your winter ice fishing trip, we would love to have you as our guest!

       

      Until next week, good luck fishing!

      Guides Dan Schmidt, Jeremy Glessing and Devin Rau

       

      Flag Island Resort

      218-223-8011

       

      14352408_10154027624047635_3217819021999145477_o.jpg

      14372283_10154027624017635_7564426901939642848_o.jpg

      14463040_10154032392587635_7055875993614459489_n.jpg



  • Posts

    • rundrave
      I think you need to go back to basics. What you are trying to do doesn't have to be reinforced in just the boat. You need that dog to obey and listen to each command you give. If you are trying to get her to sit/stay then that's what you need to work on. You can practice and work on that command every time you open the door to the kennel to let the dog out. You tell her to sit/stay and you open the door. If she doesn't you know close the door and repeat. Every time you give your dog a bowl of food don't just give it to her make her sit/stay before she get its. There are  varieties of situation that the sit command can be used for. Start with small exercises and work your way up to bigger more complicated tasks, repetition, repetition repetition. Be sure to praise and always try to end work on a positive note.  I think the most important thing is don't give a command you cant reinforce.
    • Musky hunter 82
      I made it out last night, saw a small buck and a nice doe at 20 yards but to quite to hear them and since I'm in some really thick stuff I didn't see them until they were on top of me.  Also saw another deer 40 yards away but couldn't tell what it was, then spooked something behind (not the direction the deer normally head to in the evening) me as I was getting down.  Almost had a Coyote in the CRP grass when I was walking out, big sucker and the second one see in two sits now (one by my wife and now by me), the land owner said that they are coming up on to his yard now.  I've hunted this ground for 12 years and this is the first year I've seen a coyote while hunting. Here's a couple of views from the stand, going to move it to the edge of the CRP field that is about 30 yards behind me.
    • paceman
      Made it out for a very short sit Saturday Night. Thunder storms had my son and I scrambling for the truck. Our view. Lots of good deer sign in area.
    • ZachD
      750 this week only Im losing money on this but would rather have someone be able to use it than for it to just sit around. After this week I am going to winterize it and it will no longer be for sale.
    • MattL
      How is she on the sit command?  That is the basis of everything.  She needs to learn to sit still and wait until the next command.  I don't even teach my dogs "stay" because it isn't necessary if they are solid on "sit".  Every dog has the ability to be steady, it is up to you to teach them.  A lab that isn't steady in the boat is not only annoying, it is potentially dangerous with loaded guns and the potential to capsize a boat in open water.  If she knows sit but just needs some reinforcement, it may just take a couple trips where you don't even bring the gun along and let others shoot while you handle the dog.  If she's real bad, I would recommend going back to the basics. It will be tougher with an older dog versus a puppy but is definitely worth it. Check out the retriever training DVDS by Bill Hillman. They are spendy but definitely worth it.