So I have an 8 yr old male GSP with great bloodlines. When he was young, I apparently shot a 22 around him too early. He's been gunshy and quite the wuss ever since. He still puts his nose to the ground and chases any small animal that comes in the yard but has never been hunted. Through some convincing of a couple new friends, I'm going to try and break him of being gunshy and take my chances at trying train him enough to do some quail hunting. I'm a realist so I'm not expecting him to ever be a great upland bird dog at this point but if I could get him to hunt at all and retrieve birds, I'd be thrilled at this point. These two guys are gonna help me some but I thought I'd post on here to see if anyone else has ever been in this kinda situation and how their efforts worked. Thanks in advance.
Wow good luck. I know that's going to be tough. I would think you'd start by distant noises while he's feeding. Then move it in closer as he gets use to it. Maybe hunt him with a dog that is pointing so he knows what is expected.
I have done it several times I used to buy and sell bird dogs and on some rare occasions I would get one that was gunshy. They were young enough to make it worthwhile.... Its not fun. I wouldn't use the approach I use on young dogs. That being said... You might try this. Take a longline leash and clip it on him then keep him close to you while you are hunting. If you have other dogs just let them hunt. If they find birds (or when some flush just shoot one time... make sure the dog sees the birds before you shoot. Only shoot once... try to hit the bird. then calmly talk to the dog and pet him then find the bird... whatever you do DO NOT fire off several rounds or have all your hunting buddies open up with a barrage at the birds. Repeat. Have patience. Lots of patience... Your dog will figure it out when he sees there is a connection between the shooting and birds. If he has the desire to hunt the desire will over run the gunshyness. Patience. Good luck.