Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by The Exile, Sep 18, 2022.
Doorbell rings. Dog charges the front door, barking and growling viciously. Owner hugs dog and pets dog; “Easy boy, it’s my friend!”
Message to dog: I get pets and hugs when I charge the door.
It’s sad to watch a dog owner lecture or reasoning with his pet. The pet understands action, body language, tone of voice, not words.
My Son had a Labrador that was subjected to some lame brain kid's throwing firecrackers near her outdoor kennel when she was a pup. Never got over it. Any noise spooked her. He loved that Dog and kept her for a long lifetime. My sixth Labrador and she never flinched once from a gunshot. I started her with an old Winchester .22 and moved up from there.
When my girls were young, they made our dog afraid of the vacuum cleaner. Girls are grown and gone now and that dog has passed. We have always had dogs. Longest we've gone without at least one is 2 long yrs.
My last 3 just got up and moved to another room when I vacuum. They hated the 4th of July and New Years Eve. The three spent the evening on my lap wrapped in towels, shivering.
Now there's only one, she's 14, mostly retired, blind, and arthritic, but still has good hearing. She doesn't pay attention to loud noises any more, but a close loud thunderclap will cause her to raise her head. She let's me share her recliner. She will be our last. We are in our late 70's and early 80's; too old to start over with a puppy, and no one to take care of one left behind.
As it should be. A guy once tried to open my front door late one night. My lab charged the door, barking. I watched the guy run off down the street. I want my dog to bark and charge the door every time. Dogs are far more reliable for early warning than a Ring sensor-that's for sure.
Ten Minute Retriever by John and Amy Dahl or or Gun Dog by Richard Wolters (Wolters has been dead a long time). They discuss techniques on how to address this problem. (Basically, and as I said earlier, it requires a lot of positive reinforcement/food rewards. Essentially connecting gun shots to things they like.) However, depending on the severity of the problem, there may be no repairing the damage.
We lost our beloved Ruger (cocker/springer cross) a couple of months back, but he too hated the 4th of July and New Years Eve, as well as thunderstorms. About 10 years ago, my wife bought something called a "Thundershirt" for him. It was like a real thick and stretchy vest she could wrap around him.
It never worked either. Every time the thunder would start to rumble, or a neighbor up the road started shooting up fireworks, Ruger would head for the bathroom and jump in the bathtub. He'd calm down and quit shaking if I got in the tub with him and held him in my arms until the thunderstorm was over, or the neighbor ran out of fireworks.
This particular dog knew what rifles were. When I first brought him home from the pound, he was OK with sticks, shovels, canes, rakes, brooms, etc but pick up a rifle and he would leave the room.
Once he became accustomed to gunfire though, he would get excited when I picked up a rifle (or rifle case) because he knew it meant we were going out into the forest.
They do have a good sense of smell. My second lab’s best trick to have someone hide something. Let him smell your hand (that touched what you hid), give the command “find it” and in a short time he has your item in his mouth.
@Bottom Gun and @J-Bar both made excellent points for curing dogs of being gun-shy. I've done both. Both work depending on how much patience you have.
I also try to keep my dogs at a hearing safe distance when I'm target shooting because I don't want them to have unnecessary hearing damage.
A Tale of Two Yellow Dogs, and How One Picked a Krag
The first dog I had (Kilo) was a Yellow Lab. At his peak weight, this big dude weighed over 80 pounds. The house SHOOK when this dog walked. Fortunately he was as gentle as a kitten.
He was my first service dog. I had him half of high school and all of college. He was a GREAT service dog, and too smart for his own good.
He was also gun shy. Thunder, gunshots, fireworks...he wasn't having it. "OUT OF SERVICE, BOSS! CHECK BACK IN TWENTY MINUTES!"
The second service dog I had (Winston) was a Golden Retriever. Anyone on this forum who attended the Syracuse, NY gun shows from 2012 to 2019 would have seen me at the show with Winston..
He wasn't all that smart, and he wasn't all that skilled a service dog...or maybe I was the problem. But I loved that dog. He was my buddy, and he was loyal to a fault. Thunder, gunshots, and fireworks didn't bother that dog a whit.
Anyhoo...back to the Syracuse gun show. I was tooling around, and stopped to look at a Krag. I was on the fence about buying it, and Winston jumped on my lap, and wouldn't stop licking my face until I told him I'd buy that rifle.
Conversation between me and the dog: "What? I'm supposed to buy this?"
(Golden Retriever happy growls)
Great...I have a wagging, bouncing dog, and I'm $400 lighter in the wallet. That rifle became "Winston's Krag," and I still have it.
He did a good job of picking...it's an 1898 SA. Every piece of information I have says it should be a rifle, but there it sits a carbine, down to the barrel with correct front sight and barrel band. The serial number places it in a block of 100 that were known to be rifles, one of which was documented at the siege of Peking in 1900. But Springfield's records show a single 1898 carbine manufactured in 1899. So it's JUST BARELY possible that I have THE ONE.
It has an 1898 rifle rear sight and is in what I think is a Bannerman stock. But the carbine stock and rear sight would be an easy swap if I had them.
I'm glad I found this thread. Thanks for letting me pull up a soap box. Kilo has been gone longer than he lived, and I had to put Winston down three years ago today, after a bad seizure he didn't bounce back from (brain tumor).
Yep. It definitely does not mean the dog is no good. Not well suited for hunting, perhaps, but still can be a great dog.
My lab couldn't sit still in a blind. Once he saw the birds, he wanted to go after them. Never could break him of it. We didn't duck hunt much, but we had him for 8 years and he changed our lives.
She has never heard a gun go off so that isn’t it. She is very skittish with Thunder and fireworks so I am sure gun fire is a no-go.
I skimmed the replies and did not see another post by the OP answering the questions I have.
First off is she a rescue? If so you have no idea what kind of life she had before. Even if you got her from the puppy prison at a very young age, generally 8 weeks is the quickest they are available for adoption, you have no idea what she went through in those first 8 weeks. Puppyhood is very different from child hood, they learn very fast and those things they learn then are set in stone, and are very difficult to remove.
It sounds like she knows what a gun is, this is just a thing remember, no different from any other thing. I had one dog that was afraid to death of a garden hose, loved playing in water, but if the hose was out ears came down and tail tucked, and very low to the ground. We figure somewhere along the line she was beat with a garden hose.
The smell thing could be correct, guns do have a specific smell to them, and dogs live through their nose. But if it is just a bad smell to them, like deodorant it usually does not set off a reaction like that. Generally they will quickly leave.
One thing and it could be just wording and how I am reading you, NEVER "force" anything out of a dog. This just underlines the bad in it for them. It must be their idea to see....how to do that, easy.
In the dog world there are different "values" of goodies. Having a pocket with a baggie of their food is a low value goodie. Having a pocket with bacon bits in it is a high value treat. Give her a treat, if she leaves her food she is very scared, if she leaves a high value treat she is about as afraid as she can get. Please don't "force" her to do anything, this is very against what you want.
You need to work with her, Pick a gun, unload it and get her to come to your "gun area". She will get afraid of that entire area, but from what you say it sounds like she will follow you to this area now so we can skip coaxing her into your gun area. So she is in your area, before she gets there take a gun unload it and lay it on the floor. You need to entice her to come close to it, don't touch it yet you just want her in the room with the object. After she is good with the object then try to touch it, have the treat ready (it does not take much, a thumb nail bit of bacon is about right) and offer that treat to her.....in a nut shell this is how it works.
I don't want to really say much more as this will be deemed as a dog training post and not a gun post and removed by the FBI of THR, so I will leave it at that.
If you get to read this, and I hope you do, dogs are special friends like nothing else, go slow, don't force or lock her in, she must come at it with her own pace.
I left out a great deal, but this is a cliff notes version of what you need to do.
Separate names with a comma.