February 26, 2013, 10:46 PM
Does anybody know how to break a dog from being gun shy? I don't have a gun shy dog right now, but have had them in the past. I'm thinking of getting another hunting dog, and want to be prepared in case I get a dud. Any advice is appreciated.

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February 26, 2013, 10:48 PM
Take them with you on the hunt.

February 26, 2013, 10:55 PM
Yep, and let them get that bloody bird taste in their mouth. The thrill of tasting those delicious gamy feathers makes them forget about the boomstick real quick.

February 27, 2013, 12:44 AM
Start with a kids' cap gun; while the dog is paying attention to you - doing tricks or getting fed - pop a cap and then praise (or treat) them. If they run away, don't chase them with the gun but get them to come back on their own and praise them. Eventually they will get excited when the cap gun goes off and you can move to bigger guns until you are tossing their toy and shooting a shotgun in a safe direction.

I've used this to "fix" several dogs, including one that belonged to a guy who had accidentally shot her.

Just remember; dogs are different, some are chow hounds, some want to please you, and some just want to play. Praise according to personality (doganality?).

February 27, 2013, 12:54 AM
Great idea, schaefer. Thanks for sharing it.

February 27, 2013, 08:46 AM
I did the cap gun and other loud noises while the pup was eating. Around 5-6 months old, summer no open hunt season, I'd take him out for runs in the woods. While he was 40-50 yards away playing I'd fire a 22 blank from time to time. Then, when quail season finally opened, the first hunt i was careful not to shoot with him on point right in front of me, and only took one shot per flush. Not sure all that effort was necessary, but now nothing makes him happier than me opening the gun safe.

February 27, 2013, 12:13 PM
Same here. I worked my current dog up by whacking the counter over her food dish with a wooden spoon, worked up to a pot, and then to a cap gun over a few weeks. I started the weekend I got her at 7.5 weeks old. Even on her first exposure to real guns last summer she was not gunshy in the slightest. She just did a quick head pop up as if to say "what was that?" then went back to her stick.

February 27, 2013, 12:24 PM
Start the dog out right as a puppy and they will have no problems later. Do as the others have suggested with a cap gun etc. and work up over a period of a few weeks/months.

Most hunting dogs will run towards a gun shot because they know it means game is there.

February 27, 2013, 01:25 PM
Itís best to not make him gunshy in the first place.

I had a young hound given to me because he was gunshy. He was shot over without being on a lead. After all the commotion (dogs on coon), the owner realized the dog was gone. The owner decided he just needed to get used to it and would tie him out and shoot over him and when the poor dog pulled away, he would get on to him.

I put him in a pen for a couple weeks to let him settle down. I just fed, watered and scooped poo; no other contact. After that, I would put him on a lead and walked him around to get him used to me. A week or two of that and he was starting to understand that Iím the guy that takes care of him and that I donít hurt him.

He would eat like a typical houndÖ I took him a bowl of feed and when he lit into it, I fired a .22 short. He freaked out and went to his box. I didnít say anything or react in any way; I just removed the food and tried again that evening. I did have to make sure to not swing the rifle around; I just kept it close to my chest and fired from there. After a couple days, he would eat and would only jerk down a little when I fired (dab of gravy or a little bacon grease poured over the feed helps :) ). A couple weeks of this and he didnít care about the shooting anymore, but I made sure to keep him on a lead when shooting out a coon until he developed a healthy hatred of coons. When I traded him, you would have to shoot him to keep him off a coon; warning shots would not have been effective. :)

February 27, 2013, 01:32 PM
Thanks for the advice. I thought something like that might work, but I wasn't sure of it. Yhanks for your help.

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