Gunshots and Hunting dogs


February 1, 2003, 10:03 PM
The wife got me an Anerican Water Spaniel. He is not afraid of firecrackers, thunder, or gunshots. He just looks at me as if to say are you though now? Just curious, what other breeds are less gun shy than others when hunting?

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February 1, 2003, 10:42 PM
Either you are lucky or the dog has been conditioned to it. They can ALL be totally at ease with gun shots and such if conditioned to it, I condition my dogs starting at about 10 weeks old. I take them to the gun club, and park way out from the line moving in a little at a time until the show even a slight sign of being bothered by it. It has never taken more than 3 trips before gunshots are just part of life for them.

I have seen a handfull of dogs RUINED by guys that just started shooting over the dogs. Gunshy dogs are created, not born IMO. First trip out on birds is a darn bad time to bring guns into it, but guys do it all the time.

February 1, 2003, 10:51 PM
i have a pair of labs, and they have both taken to guns rather well. the first one, i just didn't know any better... i worked w/ him on retrieving for a while, then next thing i know it's pheasant season. fortunately for me, gun blasts never bothered him, and evrything went great... when i grab a gun from the cabinet, he grabs my hand in an effort to expedite the process of getting into the field.

the other lab, i was a little more knowledgeable w/. introduced her gradually. let her listen from afar while i shot clay pigeons. used a starter pistol while doing retriever training, etc...

anyway, both dogs love getting into the field, and gun shots really get them wound up.

i agree w/ hsmith, though... any dog can be made to be afraid of guns, and if you introduce them the way i intro'd my first dog, you are taking chances... i got lucky, though.

February 3, 2003, 11:43 AM
had three even the ones who didn't like thunder or fireworks, once they were hunting (quail) they never noticed the shotgun blasts much like their human counter parts.:)

February 3, 2003, 01:53 PM
I have two labs also. They don't care if there is noise or not. When they flush one and I don't fire, they stop and look at me as if to say "this is when you shoot the I have to do everything!"

Had the big male, Budweiser, out yesterday walking the ATV trials on the farm. He never got more than 25 yards from me and was constantly hunting back and forth. Good wind blowing from the east and he made sure he was moving upwind most of the time. He is a joy be in the field with.

February 4, 2003, 04:21 AM
I had a Brittany Spaniel that loved to hunt squirrel. She could have cared less if the BB's were hitting within inches of her nose. It was always a race to see who could get the darn thing first. I always won for the most part. Except for one time I knocked a squirrel out of the tree only wounded and she was on it before it bounced onto it's feet. She grabbed it around the waist and it grabbed her by the upper lip... Talk about funny! She about beat herself to death with that thing shaking her head side to side and howling. That didn't slow her down none either.

Carlos Cabeza
February 4, 2003, 04:28 PM
I have thought about this myself. I have a new Lab pup that I hope to train for bird and waterfowl hunting. I fortunately live on a lake where there is a large concentration of duck hunters and across the lake is a sporting clays facility. The dog doesn't seem to be bothered by the sounds and actually sits and takes attention. I hope this exposure will be enough to condition him to be unafraid of the BOOM BOOM sounds he hears almost daily.
Does anyone agree or should I take some additional measures?

BTW his name is Boomer !:D

February 4, 2003, 07:44 PM
I can't remember having a dog which was afraid of gunshots.

Some dogs are shy of everything, I assume they have been mistreated.

A gradual introduction to gunshots sounds like a good idea, but it's not something I took into consideration.

February 4, 2003, 08:43 PM
Carlos, better to be safe than sorry. A shotgun going off when pointed in your direction is a lot louder than it is when you are the one shooting it, that is the noise the dog is going to be subjected to. Take that dog to the gunclub, work in toward the shooting slowly, WATCH THE DOG, when it does not want to get closer back off. Keep working in until you are standing next to the shooters (with their permission of course). When the dog does not even look to see what the noise is all is good. When the dog figures out what hunting is all about gunfire will be the best music it could ever hear.

The first shot in the field is the last shot in the field for a dog that has never heard gunfire before a lot of times. The risk simply is not worth it. I am not guessing, I have seen this happen to dogs before!! Some guys got lucky once and won't listen, and some guys just don't know better. Either way, it is not the way to go.

February 4, 2003, 10:00 PM
My last bird dog, a lab, would about pee herself when she heard the action of my shotgun because she knew she was going hunting. Gunshots never bothered her after I trained her. Fireworks and thunder on the other hand, sent her cowering and whimpering.

I started her slow by just yelling "bang" when I threw dummies in the air, then had someone fire a .22 into something safe while I threw a dummy and pointed my empty shotgun in the air, then finally went to the shotgun, but kept her at a distance the first few times and gradually brought her in closer. She was still a little skittish up until the first time I took her hunting. The first shot of the day, my dad nailed a dove and it landed right on her head. She figured out what all the noise was about right then and the shotgun blast never bothered her again.:)

February 16, 2003, 11:31 AM
I have 2 Drahthaars (full German version of the GWP) that could care less about gunshots. One is 11 years old and the other is 9 months old. Both were broken with blanks from 6 weeks old up through about 6 months old when they started hunting.

In fact, they both LIKE to hear gunshots as that means they found the pheasants or whatever and I (hopefully) shot it. That way they get to retrieve.

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