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Thread: Gun Shy Dog

  1. #1
    Member Louie's Avatar
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    Gun Shy Dog

    Fresh out outta the big smoke and I finally have a bit of space to start testing my dog around guns and game. Bobs got a great nose on him but turns out he's scared shitless of gunfire.

    We've got my parents mini schnauzer with us that's got no problem with shooting and is keen as hell on rabbits, a real stubborn bitch though. I'm thinking of switching to 22. subs and getting them out together as a first step to create the "gun = rabbit" line of thought then move up the volume/caliber list till i can get him comfortable around 308.

    He's young and impressionable enough to get over it but am keen to hear some thoughts on the best route to success?

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  2. #2
    Member Bobba's Avatar
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    Take it slowly and work up. Can even use two pieces of wood as a clapper, start off lightly and work up. The woods great cos it's not a big scary gun and you can use it anywhere.
    Moa Hunter, Micky Duck and Louie like this.

  3. #3
    sneakywaza I got
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    Take him somewhere open you can do a bit of shooting from the one spot. Leave him in the truck with the door open and on a mat that is his. Shoot slow strings, a distance from the truck and pointed away 180 degrees. After each shot, leave the gun and come back to give him a treat and a pat and a friendly talking to.

    When he is calm and happy about the bang noise, put his mat on the ground close to the truck and continue as before. As he gains calmness, a bit at a time move the mat a little closer to your shooting point, always 180 degrees behind you.

    I chuck my pack on the ground, go to prone or on a knee to shoot an animal, I tell my mutt "back" and he goes into a down behind my feet and ignores the shot until released to go forward.

    If you don't like shooting without a suppressor, imagine what it sounds like to a dog! Must be horrifying.

    If your pooch doesn't have a mat that's his, change that now. It goes anywhere (if practical) he goes, in the lounge, the truck, a mates place, the vet, make it his "spot". Teach him to go to it when you point at it and make him learn it's a good place, if he does something naughty in the house (or where ever) and you get mad, he knows it and runs for his mat, let him stay there and leave the telling off alone, just make him stay there until you've dealt with the problem and you are not mad at him any more. Teaching him about "his" mat means you have a safe place you can take with you, like when you are shooting.

  4. #4
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    Stole this from elsewhere. This guy took his dog to the clay grounds, sat with dog in the car reassuring the mutt. After a few visits leave dog in the car windows up, then windows slightly open. After a while the dog was taken out and walked until he could take the dog to the shooting area. its hard to reassure your best mate when you are causing the noise. Take it slow.
    Moa Hunter and Louie like this.

  5. #5
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    do what 257weatherby said, take it slow and move further away if he is showing fear. Dont reassure them if showing fear as that can reinforce the dogs reaction, better to ignore and more further away and show no interaction with the dog.

    I have been working through the same with my dog, she is timid by nature but wont piss bolt off at a shot so happy with what we have now.

  6. #6
    Member Kimber 7mm-08's Avatar
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    Going through this at the moment with my dog.

    She was good as gold (or so I thought), for the first few deer I shot with her, but the last trip out required more than one shot being fired in succession and now she heads back towards home/hangs back at a shot. Over the weekend I happened to be around someone with an air rifle, and she wasn't keen on that either. Going to start from scratch and build her up as she's good company (and bloody warm next to the sleeping bag!), even though she isn't so crash hot at pointing out deer!

  7. #7
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    All of the above. There's a couple of things that I've done that I'll add to the mix. A bit of noise around tucker time, not to much and build it gently. Totally ignore the dogs reactions, what you're doing is to be seen as perfectly normal. Interaction with the firearm, prop it in a corner in kitchen or lounge, what ever, while you're present. Totally ignore dogs reaction to it. The key to it is lots and lots of patience and consistency. Over time he will improve.
    Moa Hunter, Micky Duck and Louie like this.

  8. #8
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    guns = fun walkies
    big scary noises are unusual...untill you get used to them...banging pots,wood ,the tin fence at tucker time = learns to ignore bangs as other things more important...
    take it slowly and let your wee mate know its ok...my old heading dog would hang back when knew I was going to shoot,was never a problem.
    tetawa, Moa Hunter and Louie like this.
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  9. #9
    Caretaker jakewire's Avatar
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    I've had more trouble getting young Gundogs swimming than having them Gunshy
    However I'd suggest, if he likes his food get the couple of pieces of wood that Bobba suggested and clap them while hes eating softly them louder till he's used after that follow what 257weatherby or/and Chindit has said.
    Moa Hunter and Louie like this.
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  10. #10
    Member Louie's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great advice fellas, he's very food driven so I should be able to make this work. All the thunder and lightning lately doesn't help but I'll post an update in a few weeks.
    RugerM77 likes this.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chindit View Post
    Stole this from elsewhere. This guy took his dog to the clay grounds, sat with dog in the car reassuring the mutt. After a few visits leave dog in the car windows up, then windows slightly open. After a while the dog was taken out and walked until he could take the dog to the shooting area. its hard to reassure your best mate when you are causing the noise. Take it slow.
    you drive 2km away from the gunclub, get out of the car and walk towards the gunclub. if the dog is showing nervousness you stop or walk back reassuring the dog.. maybe a food retreat or a retrieve to take the dogs mind off the banging. It may take many many trips to get to a stage where the dog isnt nervous around the gunfire.
    Moa Hunter likes this.

  12. #12
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    If the dog associates food with the bangs problem solved. Walking the dog with two people and having the other person hold the dog while you walk forward and shoot a rabbit with a 22 and suppressed subs, then skin the rabbit and feed it to the dog. Has worked for me to get the dog used to the gun and wagging its tail when it sees it
    rugerman likes this.
    'Bother' said Pooh, as he chambered another round ... Wong Far King Way

  13. #13
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    My last lab, Sam developed a terrible fear of bangs - rifle or shotgun blasts, thunder, fireworks, but still loved shooting with me. I shot over 500 deer with him, pigeons from hides (in UK), and ducks and geese. Strange that he was terrified of shots but not when I was firing them. Perhaps he saw what my shots did and was worried that shots were aimed at him? ��

    Anyway, I tried all kinds of ways of curing him but none worked.
    Moa Hunter and Micky Duck like this.
    The member formally known as Spitfire

  14. #14
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    Having a dog that isn't gun shy works a treat too.
    Do as above with the distance but they dog will also pickup from the gundog it's okay and exciting.

    I did it with treats just around gun as she wouldn't even go near it without me holding it. Got her okay with 22 shots. Then took her for with some friends and shot some goats with her a few 100m back then let her sniff the dead goats. She quickly learned the gunshots meant dead exiting things. But also wanted to break at the shot. But we got there in the end
    rugerman and Moa Hunter like this.

  15. #15
    Member rugerman's Avatar
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    I try to turn it into a game with my yappers, by starting off with the 22 using subs shooting possums. Once they get the idea that the rifle means a fluffy critter to chew, they usually get all excited when I pick up the rifle as they know it's hunting time.

 

 

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