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Thread: Gun Shy Dog

  1. #16
    Member stumpys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    South Auckland
    I had the same problem with my dog - Izzie.

    I followed all the theories on here of bits of wood clapped together when eating - negative experience and went off food. Subsonic .22 and it was even the sight of the rifle that was enducing fear.

    I eventually got through it by a positive experience with a rifle. Izzie was mad on deer scent but brininging the rifle on the hunt induced a fear response, so we went hunting a few times without a rifle and just carried a stick to represent a rifle. Be aware that even your anticipation of the dogs negative reaction could be part of the "erxperience" you are currently having, afterall over 90% of a dogs "communication" is via body language - and yours forms part of the communication you have with your dog.

    If possible set up the perfect hunt, you, rifle and deer. Even if you have to "pay" for an easy hunt it's worth it.

    Does your dog get to chew on any deer products? Hide, hocks etc or is it keep off the actual physical taste of deer, if so the next step is easy. Izzie was mad on the scent of deer but never ever "tasted" it until we shot one. She never "played" with anything deer related at all during her training. With the perfect hunt set up - she smelt the deer, could see the deer, was in a solid down and I fired from in front of here. She heard the bang - got a little fright, but saw the deer drop. Reassurence given and then a slow, back to training like, stalk in on the downed animal where she got the taste and smell of a real deer for the first time up close. Lots of praise on the "finding" the deer and she's never looked back since.

    Happy to talk on the phone if you want any tips - PM me for phone number
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    Last edited by stumpys; 12-06-2022 at 10:50 AM.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    my advise is that your dog will associate the gun with the bad bang and you need to build that back up without any noise. If possible without scaring neighbours bring the gun out when you feed the dog. Get the dog comfortable with that even lay the gun next to the dog while it’s eating. Then get to the point where you either break or work the action while the dog is eating. . Do this for as long as you need before introducing any other noise. You could even use a clapper at dinner time without the gun present getting used to the noise but not trigger the fear of a gun being there to disconnect the two for now.
    Just my 2 cents and what has worked for me in the past.
    Good luck
    rugerman and Moa Hunter like this.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    My current deer dog absolutely hated gun shots and at one point the sight of the gun had him running.

    What I did/do is use wooden clappers, put my dog on a sit and walk 100 yards away and without looking at him for a reaction clap the wood. I personally wouldn't pat my dog and reasure him because you could potentially be reassuring him that its okay to be scared. Instead I absolutely take no notice and watch him out of the corner of my eye to see his reaction. This game also helps with the dog not jumping the shot later down the track. As he relaxes to the claps at 100yards ill slowly come closer until Im next to him. I then start the procedure again but with a suppressed 22 and slowly work up to the desired calibre.

    This can take awhile and I definitely wouldn't rush it. My heading dog is now the opposite when he sees a rifle, way to keen ��
    on its way!



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