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Mar 25th, 2012
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Gun breaking issues with GWP #7456427 03/12/19 12:30 PM
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hagop Offline OP
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Looking for some advice. I have a German Wirehaired Pointer who is around 14 months old. She has an extremely strong hunting drive and points well. Several months back my buddy and I gun broke my dog like he’s done to a ton of his GWP’s over the years. We had her on a check cord and would let her chase a quail and I would shoot. Started from far away and ended the day being able to shoot over her and she’d retrieve the bird and bring it to me. She never had an issue with the gun and did great. About a week later I went to help my friend film one of his dogs he was going to post for sell. We shot maybe 3 or 4 times getting a few videos of his dog. Meanwhile my dog was in my truck 100yards away or so. When I went to go get her out of the truck after finishing filming my friends dog, she was shaking and scared. I took her out of the truck and played catch with her with one of the quail we had just shot and she seemed excited to hunt and back to herself.
I went a few weeks without working her with a gun again then we took her on a wild quail hunt in west TX with several finished dogs. She hunted great, excellent drive but when we finally got in to a covey there was 2 shots and she got a little scared again. Not near as bad as the time in my truck and as soon as I showed her the bird she was fine again. We didn’t get on another covey that day.
After that trip I thought it’d be best to take things down a notch with the gun and seek assistance from someone much more familiar in that area of expertise. I dropped her off to get trained a few weeks ago and the guy worked on commands and force fetching. He also incorporated a .22, started far away and over the span of a few days was able to shoot that .22 around her without an issue. He then wanted to work with her using a dead bird so he took one of his dogs out to shoot a pigeon over her then was going to use that bird for training that day. He shot only one time with a 20ga about 300yards from where my dog was in the kennel. He went to go get my dog out and she was terrified again. Wouldn’t leave his side.
She’s definitely much softer than most GWP’s I’ve been around but im ok with that. If we can get her over her gun shyness we’ll be back on track. This dog learns extremely quickly, not near as hard headed as most. She’s also great with my family and overall just a great dog.
My question, do we give her a break from the gun for a while and try again when she’s older? Or is there some other techniques y’all have been successful with on soft gun shy dogs like this? Or do I need to start perfecting my sling shot skills so my dog can hunt with me.
Appreciate the help.

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7456562 03/12/19 02:47 PM
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bill oxner Offline
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I've had two that came back soft to the gun after their first year of hunting. We finally worked through it with more exposure to birds.

The trainer should've better equipped than you are. Delmar Smith wrote that you should just put them on the chain gang and leave the be while you are training other dogs.


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


[Linked Image]




Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7456588 03/12/19 03:15 PM
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I suspect the problem is more that just guns. Sounds like the dog also has a bad case of situation timidity. This dog needs to build more confidence in the field and everywhere else. Always observe her behavior in new situations and don't force her into situations she doesn't like.
Keep in mind that bird pastures smell and look different that the yard and that some dogs will take awhile to feel comfortable in the field even though they preform well in a yard situation. Also, changing habitat drastically can make a dog anxious (West texas, or the prairie don't smell the same as say, south texas and the dog may need some time to feel comfortable in a new type of habitat.
I would take that dog everywhere you can and expose her to as many new situations as possible. Let people fuss over her.
Expose her to new situations.
If possible chain her while you shoot birds over another dog some distance away but in sight. Let her watch the other dog
work while the gun is going off. Don't confine her in a kennel while you shoot. get her out where she can see what is going on.

another possibility, get some one to shoot off in a distance and lead her towards the shot and reward her when she gets there.

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7456849 03/12/19 08:20 PM
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Is it relevant that in the two really bad situations, and two of the three total, she was in a kennel? I always thought most dogs feel safer in a kennel, but it seems this one feels trapped and alone, which multiplies anxiety. If it were my dog, I would definitely eliminate the kennel/truck from the situations with gunfire.

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7457808 03/13/19 11:16 PM
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I think the issue may have to do with the kennel too...


Sombody smells like fried borritos...
Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7458016 03/14/19 03:05 AM
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Sounds like there may be additional problems with being around other dogs and/or being kenneled/in truck. You and/or your trainer needs to keep some eyes on her to see how she is reacting during other dogs being worked and/or shot over. You could also keep her out of the kennel while working other dogs or shooting to she how she responds. Proceed appropriately.


Regards,

Jay
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www.jayschwisow.com

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7470883 03/27/19 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by hagop
Looking for some advice. I have a German Wirehaired Pointer who is around 14 months old. She has an extremely strong hunting drive and points well. Several months back my buddy and I gun broke my dog like he’s done to a ton of his GWP’s over the years. We had her on a check cord and would let her chase a quail and I would shoot. Started from far away and ended the day being able to shoot over her and she’d retrieve the bird and bring it to me. She never had an issue with the gun and did great. About a week later I went to help my friend film one of his dogs he was going to post for sell. We shot maybe 3 or 4 times getting a few videos of his dog. Meanwhile my dog was in my truck 100yards away or so. When I went to go get her out of the truck after finishing filming my friends dog, she was shaking and scared. I took her out of the truck and played catch with her with one of the quail we had just shot and she seemed excited to hunt and back to herself.
I went a few weeks without working her with a gun again then we took her on a wild quail hunt in west TX with several finished dogs. She hunted great, excellent drive but when we finally got in to a covey there was 2 shots and she got a little scared again. Not near as bad as the time in my truck and as soon as I showed her the bird she was fine again. We didn’t get on another covey that day.
After that trip I thought it’d be best to take things down a notch with the gun and seek assistance from someone much more familiar in that area of expertise. I dropped her off to get trained a few weeks ago and the guy worked on commands and force fetching. He also incorporated a .22, started far away and over the span of a few days was able to shoot that .22 around her without an issue. He then wanted to work with her using a dead bird so he took one of his dogs out to shoot a pigeon over her then was going to use that bird for training that day. He shot only one time with a 20ga about 300yards from where my dog was in the kennel. He went to go get my dog out and she was terrified again. Wouldn’t leave his side.
She’s definitely much softer than most GWP’s I’ve been around but im ok with that. If we can get her over her gun shyness we’ll be back on track. This dog learns extremely quickly, not near as hard headed as most. She’s also great with my family and overall just a great dog.
My question, do we give her a break from the gun for a while and try again when she’s older? Or is there some other techniques y’all have been successful with on soft gun shy dogs like this? Or do I need to start perfecting my sling shot skills so my dog can hunt with me.
Appreciate the help.


How is this pup doing? I read your post. If it were my pup I’d only work her by herself and let her get real bird crazy before you shoot over her more. Being force fetched can also take its toll on a soft pup. Just let her point them and chase them after you flush. Pigeons with a launcher work great because everything is controlled if wild bird are in short supply like they are this year. I’d start over with a 22 and reevaluate from there. I hope everything works out well and I dam sure wouldn’t shoot anymore while she’s in the box. I have a soft little gyp that’s never been gun shy but I gun broke her when she was first old enough to chase a broke wing pigeon. She wouldn’t get out and hunt like she should and would completely shut down if you put her on the ground with a male that came sniffing around her. She pissed me off a lot her first year and came close to getting shot several times. We’re both lucky she’s loved unconditionally by my wife. I think besides being scared of the males she was frustrated because she was running with much better mutts and didn’t get to find her own bird very often. The first half of her second season I got smarter an only ran her by herself. She’s as fine a bird dog now as anyone could ever want and doesn’t take any chit off of anything she’s on the ground with. Every dog is different, you just have to learn what works for them. I do however think a lot of birds works for almost all of them, but some just aren’t going to make it. That’s the hardest decision of all. From your post however I think your mutt will be fine if you can figure out what works for her.

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7474600 04/01/19 11:10 AM
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Did the dog have a zap collar on her when she was in the truck the first time? This is a long shot, but once I had my controller button break and every step I took it zapped my dog. If you were walking with the controller and the dog had a collar on, you could have been zapping her. I guess you could have been bumping the button too.

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7475490 04/02/19 08:37 AM
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Don’t hunt first season pups with other people or other people’s dogs

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7495333 04/24/19 09:50 AM
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hagop Offline OP
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Appreciate all the advice/ feedback. We basically just started over letting her chase birds and got her drive back good again. That was the easy part. Then started with a .22 shooting in the ground far away from her while she was chasing hard. We took baby steps to insure there wouldn't be any setbacks again. Slowly moving up on guns and getting closer to her while shooting. After a few weeks I could shoot birds over her with no issues and shes bird crazy as ever. Shes had many birds shots over her now and is quickly learning to obey commands. I look forward to many years of hunting with her.

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7495509 04/24/19 02:57 PM
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I'm a one dog at a time owner/hunter and years ago I put too much pressure on a one year old dog & I made her gunshy. Then I got to feed her for another 12 years. Since that bad experience I have become lots more tolerant as long as "the dog will hunt".

My Dad had a beagle that was useless until it hit 2. Then something clicked and it turned out to be the hound of a lifetime.

Putting my young dog on a chain is about the last thing I would do.

IMO lots of owners expect a lot from dogs that are less than two years old.

It is a long time until next bird season. On the positive side you know the dog will hunt. You know she isn't gun shy. I would back off and focus on prey drive. No electricity. In close obedience work. No gun for now. Lots of praise when it does something right.

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: hagop] #7495608 04/24/19 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by hagop
Appreciate all the advice/ feedback. We basically just started over letting her chase birds and got her drive back good again. That was the easy part. Then started with a .22 shooting in the ground far away from her while she was chasing hard. We took baby steps to insure there wouldn't be any setbacks again. Slowly moving up on guns and getting closer to her while shooting. After a few weeks I could shoot birds over her with no issues and shes bird crazy as ever. Shes had many birds shots over her now and is quickly learning to obey commands. I look forward to many years of hunting with her.

That's awesome! Congrats!


Bobby Barnett

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: GaryRI] #7496260 04/25/19 09:56 AM
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hagop Offline OP
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Appreciate the input. I totally agree with you. That's actually exactly what I've been doing. I'm just letting her be a happy dog and working on basic obedience. Prey drive isn't an issue. We have a few acres at the house and my wife has several bird feeders. As soon as the dog goes outside she starts looking for birds. I'll look out the window and shes just out there pointing, or trying to stalk up on one.

Re: Gun breaking issues with GWP [Re: bobcat1] #7496261 04/25/19 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by bobcat1
Originally Posted by hagop
Appreciate all the advice/ feedback. We basically just started over letting her chase birds and got her drive back good again. That was the easy part. Then started with a .22 shooting in the ground far away from her while she was chasing hard. We took baby steps to insure there wouldn't be any setbacks again. Slowly moving up on guns and getting closer to her while shooting. After a few weeks I could shoot birds over her with no issues and shes bird crazy as ever. Shes had many birds shots over her now and is quickly learning to obey commands. I look forward to many years of hunting with her.

That's awesome! Congrats!


Thanks Bobby!

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