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#7074307 - 02/11/18 09:35 AM Gun Shy Help
TX Hitman Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 310
Loc: West Texas
I came across a English Pointer that someone was fostering and trying to find a good home. He is a young dog, maybe a year old or so. Thought I could make him a hunting dog. Took him out before the season and he was naturally hunting birds. He pointed a bird in some tall grass and flushed it before I got close enough. Thought this is awesome, and I can work with him on that. When the bird flushed, I fired a shot up in the air. He booked it back to the house and was scared to death. Gun shy. I have read some on how to cure it and am I expose him to gun shots every trip to the ranch. He is a great dog and gets along with our 2 small lap dogs and is the best dog around my 4 year old daughter so he will be staying around.

I worked with him all season this year and canít seem to get any results. We are avid birds hunters and he loves going everywhere I go. Funny thing is he hunts nonstop until we fire the first shot. Literally in the UTV shivering. Once we load up and start driving again, he bailed out and continues to hunt.

Other than time and constant shot exposures, does anyone have any other suggestions that might help?

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#7074334 - 02/11/18 09:58 AM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: TX Hitman]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 45533
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
I've had two that were soft to the gun. I had pen raised quail. I walked a quail in front of the kennel with my other two dogs. They all rushed the gate. I fired a cap pistol. It eventually got the shy pups rushing the gate even while firing a louder blank.

Delmar Smith would put them on a chain gang and simply ignore them while working other pups. That takes more bird dogs. You might shop around for a pro trainer. I remember one who said it was the easiest money he ever made.

A pup that birdy should come around pretty soon. Leave it on the UTV for a few hunts. That should bold it up.
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill









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#7074450 - 02/11/18 11:26 AM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: TX Hitman]
TX Hitman Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 310
Loc: West Texas
Thx Bill

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#7074499 - 02/11/18 12:03 PM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: TX Hitman]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 45533
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
Wonder why all the people who preferred soft pups sat this one out?
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill









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#7074765 - 02/11/18 04:28 PM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: TX Hitman]
Judd Online   content


Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 11735
Loc: Sachse, TX
Big difference between gun shy and soft Mr. Bill.

I'd talk to some trainers, that is not something that can be taken lightly and there is a point of no return so don't keep at it.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: Phil Robertson
Don't let your ears hear what your eyes didn't see, and don't let your mouth say what your heart doesn't feel

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#7074865 - 02/11/18 05:45 PM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: Judd]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 45533
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
Originally Posted By: Judd
Big difference between gun shy and soft Mr. Bill.

I'd talk to some trainers, that is not something that can be taken lightly and there is a point of no return so don't keep at it.


I've never seen a gun shy hard bird dog.
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill









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#7075388 - 02/12/18 09:06 AM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: bill oxner]
Guy Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 27848
Loc: Lake X
If you gun condition your dog correctly, which is required for soft dogs, you can avoid making your soft dog gun shy. Itís easy really, just take smalls steps and gradually introduce your dog to gun fire. But once you make your dog gun shy, reversing it is not easy, but can be done.

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#7075403 - 02/12/18 09:17 AM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: TX Hitman]
scalebuster Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/25/10
Posts: 2996
Thatís the reason he was a foster dog. Iíd give him to someone that wants a pet and get another bird dog.

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#7075406 - 02/12/18 09:19 AM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: Guy]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 45533
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
Originally Posted By: Guy
If you gun condition your dog correctly, which is required for soft dogs, you can avoid making your soft dog gun shy. Itís easy really, just take smalls steps and gradually introduce your dog to gun fire. But once you make your dog gun shy, reversing it is not easy, but can be done.


Not always true.


Originally Posted By: bill oxner
The softest one I ever had would choke at the first grass burr, but wouldn't hunt wearing boots, or hunt in front of a vehicle. She was afraid if the flapping of the wing of a crippled bird.

Her name was Peaches. She had the best nose of any bird dog I've ever seen. I remember picking the other dogs up after finding no birds. I'd put Peaches down and she would take a straight line to the nearest covey.

This is Peaches.



I broke her into the gun and hunted her with no problems her first year. She came back soft to the gun her second year and I had to start over.

How do you guys who prefer soft dogs break them to the gun?
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill









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#7075807 - 02/12/18 02:12 PM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: bill oxner]
Sniper John Offline
gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16781
Loc: North Texas
Originally Posted By: bill oxner
Originally Posted By: Judd
Big difference between gun shy and soft Mr. Bill.

I'd talk to some trainers, that is not something that can be taken lightly and there is a point of no return so don't keep at it.


I've never seen a gun shy hard bird dog.


I disagree. I am 100% certain you have seen a gun shy hard bird dog. When your definition of a hard dog incorrectly includes not gun shy and when your definition of soft incorrectly includes timid, you will never see the tree despite the forest before you. Give me your best hardest dog for 10 minutes and dare me to make it gun shy. I guarantee I will win that bet.

A gun shy dog is created, not born. Any dog can become that way despite it's other temperaments. As an example take snake avoidance training. With aversion training using an E-coller for negative reinforcement often in a single training session one can condition a dog to avoid the sight, smell and sound of snakes. It will result in a dog exhibiting a reaction to the sight and sound of a snake that is very similar to what a gun shy dog will do when exposed to the sight and sound of a gun. It is because the dog has experienced a significantly negative stimulation that was associated with a gun or sound of gun. Usually learned in the first 6 weeks when a pup is sucking up learned experiences like a sponge both negative and positive. Learning for a dog is an alternation of behavior as a result of individual experience. To make matters worse often the event that caused the behavior is repeated enough that the behavior becomes a lifestyle. Hard or soft has nothing to do with it.

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#7075851 - 02/12/18 02:57 PM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: TX Hitman]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 45533
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
Ive always taken my time to break my pups in to the gun starting when I first got the home. I hunted two soft ones their first year. They were both soft to the gun the second year. I brought them around.

My friend with the red setters got his two a year apart. He let the pups runoff a distance and fired a shotgun in the opposite direction. Neither reacted. We took them hunting.

These are only two examples after 50 years of bird dogs.
_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill









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#7075911 - 02/12/18 03:50 PM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: Sniper John]
NorthTXbirdhunter Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 03/17/11
Posts: 1000
Loc: Rowlett, Texas
Totally agree Sniper John. I have a young, female setter that is soft but not gunshy as much as uncomfortable around unexpected gun fire. It has been a written, hard, and fast rule that there would never be ďtarget practiceĒ around the camp especially around the staked out dogs. 2 weekends ago, a guest let his grandson start popping off a .22 pistol. I looked and the little setter was starting to cow down. To say I had a lively conversation with the Grandpa is an understatement. It has been a long time since I was that pissed at the Hunting lease. Some people just donít think, nor care if they are not doing the training of one of these animals. Needless to say, these two people wonít be frequenting the ranch any longer. Just come to hunt and leave your handguns and rifles at home. I feel like I can help the little girl gain her confidence, but I donít want any useless distractions impeding the progress.

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#7075936 - 02/12/18 04:05 PM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: bill oxner]
Sniper John Offline
gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16781
Loc: North Texas
Originally Posted By: bill oxner
Ive always taken my time to break my pups in to the gun starting when I first got the home. I hunted two soft ones their first year. They were both soft to the gun the second year. I brought them around.

My friend with the red setters got his two a year apart. He let the pups runoff a distance and fired a shotgun in the opposite direction. Neither reacted. We took them hunting.

These are only two examples after 50 years of bird dogs.


I have no idea how those experiences applies to what you have posted. confused2
But "always taken my time to break my pups" and "let the pups runoff a distance and fired a shotgun in the opposite direction" are great examples of not inadvertently teaching an avoidance behavior to gun and shot. You did not "break" your pups, what you did is condition the dog that when the gun comes out or when fired, there is a reward, be it a retrieve, to go hunting, a bird, a pat on the head etc. Now if the first thing you do with a new dog or pup is fire a shotgun next to it's head to see if it is gun shy and of the ones with a hard temperament no matter how many times you repeated it, none ever showed or became gun shy. Then you would have given me an example. Of course after 50 years of gun dogs, you and I know better.

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#7075945 - 02/12/18 04:20 PM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: TX Hitman]
Triple7 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 03/06/13
Posts: 247
So you fired a gun by a dog, not knowing if the dog has ever heard a gun shot, and are disappointed that it's shy?
Well if it wasn't it is now. That's one quick way to ruin a dog.

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#7075947 - 02/12/18 04:24 PM Re: Gun Shy Help [Re: TX Hitman]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 45533
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
Debating the cause will not help the OP. His pup was that way when he got it.

Might get a cap gun and use it around the house often.. That's one of the ways I use to help introduce the pup to the gun. I raised two litters. All the pups in both litters would come running and crawl over me at the sound of the cap gun.

There is a lot we will never learn until dogs learn to talk. Muffin was 5 years old when my wife died. She always like to go bye-bye in the Gator. I couldn't leave her at home, so I took her on my hunts. She's great at flushing and retrieving. The other hunters get a big kick out of shooting birds over her.

_________________________
Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill









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