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Gun Shy

Gun Shy

Postby fox » Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:43 pm

Hi i own a lovely Hungarian Vizsla i waited three years to get her and it was worth the wait .She is now 12 months old and i was expecting great things from her but i introduced her to the gun and i think she is gun shy.When i fire the gun she runs in behind me. Can anyone give me some good advice?

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Postby AZ Brittany Guy » Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:59 pm

Fox,

With no disrespect, gun shyness is man made. Are you the only one that has exposed the pup to gun fire? If so, it will be helpful to know how you exposed the pup. :(
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Postby ezzy333 » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:02 pm

And in the meantime do not shoot around the pup.

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Re: Gun Shy

Postby kninebirddog » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:29 pm

fox wrote:Hi i own a lovely Hungarian Vizsla i waited three years to get her and it was worth the wait .She is now 12 months old and i was expecting great things from her but i introduced her to the gun and i think she is gun shy.When i fire the gun she runs in behind me. Can anyone give me some good advice?

Thanks Fox


From the little you posted..it is not enough top understand what the dog went through

If the dog had no field work no bird work and then no rhyme or reason
you go blast off a round over the dogs head..Yes that can make a dog or even a pup Gunshy faster then anything

cause age has nothing to do with properly introducing a dog to a super loud BANG of a noise.


I would HIGHLY suggest you find an experienced trainer in your area as damage has been done...Need to get the dog on birds build up the prey drive if the dog has a strong prey drive on birds ...The dog with proper methods and intro can be worked over the fear .

This is why I highly say seek a knowledgable person in your area to help work the dog through this cause not knowing what your doing and the timing to help the dog to get over the sound of the shot is only going to further the problem.
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Postby Kiki's Mom » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:46 am

Ireland, huh? Get thee to an experienced and reputable TRAINER POST HASTE! No more gun fire until you do.....

Trekmoore (Bill Thayne) is on this board and may be able to give you a recommendation if he knows of any in the Isle. Bill himself is in Scotland.....

Until then how about a few more details about how her reaction came to be?
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Postby Trekmoor » Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:43 am

Hi Fox,

I agree with the advice given. Your bitch is not neccessarily gun-shy but from what you have posted I think you have made her gun - nervous.
Do not fire a gun of any kind near a pup or a dog that has not become gradually accustomed to gunfire at a distance.

Personally I usually start with someone firing a .410 or 20 bore shotgun more than 100 yards away. I don't use pistols or dummy launchers for this as the "crack" they make has a bad effect on some pups that couldn't care less about shotgun bangs.

I get the pup engaged in a game that it really enjoys and the game continues as the gun is fired. A couple of seconds hesitancy from the pup is fairly common at this first bang but since you are still playing the game unconcernedly the average pup will too. A few repetitions of this at the same range providing the pup is happy are then followed by the gun firer moving 20 - 30 yards closer and so on.

If the pup shows any fear or does not recover quickly from the very first bang , stop for that day. Next time you try have the gun firer further away and use treats along with playing with the pup. Make it a very gradual process.

Avoid firing a gun in any echo prone location, the advice to take your dog to an experienced or pro trainer was very good advice. Such a person would never have allowed this to happen in the first place. The pro- trainer need not be an H.P.R. person, a spaniel or labrador trainer would be fine. I do know of two or three people in Ireland that might help you but you probably know many more yourself. P.M. me if you're stuck.

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Postby kninebirddog » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:30 am

When I intro the Young pups to noise I first start about a day or so before their ears are fully open I will come in the room turn the light on and clap my hands excitingly call out puppy puppy puppy and pet thenm and the next thing they are looking for momma to nurse

All noises are pets and attention and happy time I then introduce a kids little cap gun...
and have the pups excited ready for feeding the first couple times when gruel is introduced Ido the happy clap and then add the cap gun from another room right before i come in slowly working in to the room

My pups hear a noise they are lookig for something drop a broom on the floor they check it out

I have toys which the pups step on a button it makes a noise

then when it goes to the field I will ahve the pups near older dogs and the first gun shots they hear is from hundreds of yards away with the excitement of older dogs. Then we will take them out backing older dogs the first couple times we will check cord the pup in on an older dog on point and then let them smell the bird then flush then the second third imes have them back from a little ways away so they can see the older dog and watch the bird flush
then we will back from a distance and let them see older dog on point and let the watch and hear a bird being shot for the dog again this from a distance

when the dog hasn't shown any negitive signs then we will put a bird out for the pup check cord for a point then we will flush the bird and when the pup is chasing the bird we will introduce a shot while the pup is full of excited prey drive.

This is not done in one day either this is over a course of training sessions and it takes what ever it takes some dogs take to this like ducks to water and the ones that are timid take longer ...but until a dog is happy excited and confident with one step we do not go to the next till that dog is ready.
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Postby Mav&Lizzy » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:31 am

Great advice here!! I'm in nearly the same boat. My son's new pup (will be 1 in Feb) was introduced to birds at a young age and has shown great prey drive and promise. The breeder was firing a starter pistol during feeding time when we picked her up at 9 weeks of age and the pup showed no problems. After that she was not around gunfire for a few months. At about 4 months old I'd take her to the training grounds and put her on the chain gang while working dogs. There was the occassional gunfire from a great distance then and she appeared to not be fazed at all. When working with her I refrained from any gunfire until she was quite a ways away. Usually I'd let her bump and chase a bird and after she got a good distance away and was fixated on the bird I'd fire a single shot which she showed no hesitation with. I let her get gradually closer and closer and she showed absolutely no fear. Eventually at about 7 months of age I killed a bird over her and she picked it up and retrieved it. Things were great. Hunting season came along and she was your typical first year dog. The older ones covered more ground and got most of the points but she would back and chase birds once they busted. Again gunfire didn't seem to faze her.
On once occassion I had a lesser experienced hunter come along and made the mistake of not talking with her more about what I expected. Katie, my sons pup, was on the ground and we kick up a rooster that wasn't pointed. The new hunter unloads her gun, not hitting anything, and my son says "um dad look" I look over and Katie is behind him. He tells me that after about the 3rd shot she busted for him. We go further and the dogs point. Katie hesitantly goes in and backs. I tell everyone to not shot, the birds flush and Katien flinches and looks over her shoulder seemingly in fear. We continue on the hunt and I have the other hunter go away from us about 200 yards and ask her to fire a single shot when she gets there. The shot was a surprise to Katie and she ran back to my son. Once there she acted interested but didn't want to leave his side. Took her back to the truck and that was her last hunt this season. We are back to puppy stuff, just letting her chase pigeons and quail in the yard, not caring if she chases or what.
Now someone please tell me I've done the right thing. I'm scared to death to introduce anymore gunfire at all as this is my sons first dog. Usually it wouldn't be that big of a deal and I either work the dog through it or find a non-hunting home but that isn't a possibility here as this dog is more important to my son than his girlfriend and anyone that has a teenage boy knows there isn't much that is that important!!!
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Postby kninebirddog » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:55 am

That is the second HUGH mistake people make on young dogs. A young pup or dog doing so well and then you take friends along and as described hail marys and unload them guns.

What we do to help a dog get over this...yes this is going to sound backwards but
Put out some birds start off with either carded pigeons or the quail which donot fly great.cause point flush let them chase and catch...once the dog is not displaying ANY hesitation about this then just start carrying a shot gun out in the field ...

again besure there is NO hesistation

then have someone about 200 plus yards out when the dog is in FULL chase shoot off a round in the air the opposite direction

this are going to be one to two bird sessions let the dog sit with other dogs with sounds and excitement way way off in the distance then come back another day

Slowly make sure each session is fun exciting and do not coddle or acknowledge or get frustrated with nervous and scared behavior it is important that everyone acts like everything is fine and dandy.

As you have successful short happy session ..slowly work ONE shot closer and closer then in the same direction but only when the dog is in full chase

and then always after all this to remember to only shoot once over the dog when hunting
so she may come around to getting over where a couple hunters can go but ...it may be a couple seasons but always pay attention to what your dogs telling you

ADDED TO STATE
This is best to be done with someone who knows how to read a dog as timing and being able to read your dog is VERY VERY VERY important
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Postby natetnc » Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:14 am

Mav&Lizzy wrote:I tell everyone to not shot, the birds flush and Katien flinches and looks over her shoulder seemingly in fear.


i am not an experienced trainer but from what i have read it seems like you pup is on her way to blinking birds. that should be priority #1, gunshyness doesn't matter if she won't point a bird for you. like k9 said this may be the only time you want them to catch birds but it has been known to get them back on their game. after re-establishing prey drive i would then focus on the loud noises.
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Postby Mav&Lizzy » Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:52 am

Thanks guys, sorry I hijacked the thread. I can reassure you she is not blinking. In the yard she will point and hold for extended periods until the bird begins to walk or she feels pressure from something then she bumps and chases. I wasn't going to admit it but yes I've even let her catch a few since the gun bashfullness. But she has also learned what the shotgun is and does act scared when she sees the gun but with no gun she does great!
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Postby natetnc » Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:24 pm

never heard of doing this but what about just breaking out the gun during the normal course of the day. don't fire it just bring it out, maybe set it to the side while doing yard work or have it out in plain view while you feed her.
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Postby Mav&Lizzy » Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:50 pm

I was thinking of doing just that.
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Postby bobman » Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:09 pm

I posted this once before this is what I would do option one with birds

http://www.nodakoutdoors.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=43926
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gun shy

Postby Robjones » Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:53 pm

I had a gun shy dog. My dog has great desire and overcame her gun shyness in 10 days. But I didnt do it. My trainer did it for me as I met him on this site. He is now helping me break her to wing and shot and everything is great. I will tell you their is alot to reading a dog and It cannot be told to you over the internet. Your breed of dog is delicate and requires the right touch. I know what my trainer did but I wouldnt try to explain it as you may only make things worse.
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Postby Mav&Lizzy » Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:04 am

Just an update. Katie hasn't hunted since mid December. I've had her out on the grounds and her hunt desire hasn't slowed. She is pointing and usually holds until the bird leaves its resting place, not holding on walking birds but at 11 months that doesn't really bother me. Still not shooting around her at all. I don't do alot of training this time of year as any free time is spent hunting but since Katie isn't hunting I've been getting birds out for her some. I decided to work the other dogs on birds last night and put all of them out on the chain gang, including Katie. After planting the birds I got out 2 shotguns and of course all the dogs went nuts as they KNOW what a gun is for. Katie does too but she didn't really seem scared but wasn't excited like the rest get. I placed the gun against a fence near Katie and she seemed to fixate on it. I had my son (remember shes his dog) just sit and pet her and told him to ignore they gun. I carried the other gun with and went and worked the other dogs. After about 2 hours of working dogs on quail and a remote trap I let Katie go to sorta clean the field.

She bumped and chased the first bird. Seemed to just be head racing and not hunting but that bump got her attention. I called her back in and got her going in the direction where I knew a couple of the birds landed. She scent pointed from about 20' away and once I got the bird up she kinda froze like she was waiting for the shot and when she realized it wasn't coming she chased. I got her back pretty quick and hacked her back to where some birds were. She locked up pretty quick and as I approached the area (ditch) the bird was in, it walked out the other side and as soon ask Katie saw it she tore out after it and caught it bringing it back to my son. I CC'd (with it wrapped around her flank) her and again got her into another bird. She held point excellent until I kicked the bird up then she went to give chace, felt the tension of the CC and stayed fairly staunch until I picked her up. Let her run some while I was picking up all the gear and the rest of the dogs. While she was running she passed the Johnny house and went on point, about 15 yards away, and remained there for several minutes. I'm thinking of redoing this same thing one more time, maybe this weekend, then doing it again next week but this 3rd time I thought I'd have my son stay about 200 yards away and shoot. Should I have him shot as the bird rises or after Katie gets in full chase?

I read the other thread on Gun Shy dog about Rob Jones dog. What his trainer did was awesome!! I'm not that worried about Katie because she has never run away from the shot, more like run back to it but thats because she ran to my son for shelter. I've only been around a couple of gun shy dogs before. One was a friend of mine and it did what Rob's dog has did. Ran back to the truck and shivered like the end of the world was coming. It went to a trainer but never came out of it. The other was my Yellow Lab. That dog is now ate up with the arthritis (11 year old) and doesn't hunt but when she sees the gun come out or hears them shooting outside she will tear a house apart to get out to it!!! She barely walks until there is a gun and then its like she is 4 years old again and can't wait to hunt. Her gun shyness was almost exactly like Katie's. She would run back to me then follow me the rest of the hunt. With her I had no idea what to do and just continued to hunt her. She had the drive like I'd never seen before and would get out and find pheasant knowing the shot was coming, run behind me when the shot came but watching the bird while running to me for cover. When the shooting would stop she would creep around me toward the bird until I said "ok" and then the chace was on. She'd go a mile chasing a wounded bird and I don't think we ever lost one hunting with her. For several years after she quit flinching to the shot she was still scared of the gun. If the gun was in the truck she wouldn't jump in the front seat, her favorite place!! I've posted this before but I eventually got an old play gun that looked real and put it in her pen near her self-feeder. She didn't eat for a couple of days but eventually gave in. I finally took the play gun out when it became a chew toy.
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Postby kninebirddog » Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:11 pm

When she is not hesitant about birds then full chase way off

gunshy Soundshy what ever your want to call it...Point blank When the dog comes off the bird whether the dog hides next to you beside you or runs to the truck .....A rose by any other name is still a rose

you can even start by going to walmart and getting a toy cap gun off in a distance lighter vlast sound then a regular blank gun and not quite the blast of a shotgun

Also another thing you can do is some obedience type work and walk her at a comfort zone away then slowly working closer walking on a lead I like the command lead but what ever works for you and when you walking do not allow her to be affixiated on the gun or anything...when yor walking and hunting she has a job paying attnetion to you or hunting for birds

Lot of this is shown on the Dog Whisperer about how to redirect and when to redirect a dogs attention so that other things stop being an issue
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Gun shy

Postby JR » Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:06 pm

I just registered and have been reading this forum and it has been very helpful. I lost a 7 year old French Spaniel to cancer last December. I found her at the dumb friends league and she developed into a great dog. In January I adopted an English Setter from a rescue and am working her through gun shyness. She's a beautiful little dog with a great nose and natural range.

Its a big problem but I am going to put the time in and take it slow. Any further advice you have on working her through is appreciated.
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gun shy

Postby Robjones » Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:18 am

I will tell you Jr that you need to be extremely carefull with this situation! I will not comment on what others are saying but what my trainer did would go against what most people would think to do. It is hard to explain on the internet but once he showed me what he was going to do and now I have seen it, it totally makes sense. Do you have birds? Is your dog bird crazy? If not you cannot fix this dog. The dog needs to learn to associate gun means birds and thats a good thing. My dog is still scared of loud noises and probably always will be-but she LOVES the sound of a shot gun because she knows that means downed bird that she can get. And she knows the difference between a cap gun and a real shot gun.
Bob
Last edited by Robjones on Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Gun shy

Postby Robjones » Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:52 am

I just realized when I said you can't fix it, I didnt mean the dog couldn't be fixed. I just believe you need a good trainer.
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Postby Mark Payton » Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:01 pm

I got two Viszlas over what was definitely "gun sensitivity" a couple of years ago. My procedure was much like Knine's, but the key to their recovery was that they LOVED birds. One of them is now one of the nicest bird dogs that I've ever seen (and I'm a pointer/setter guy!).

That's why I recommend the Perfect Start video to just about anybody. It'll keep people making some of the dumb mistakes that I made many years ago!
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Postby tailcrackin » Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:53 am

Here is lil something to put back in the back of the hat.........if a dog likes birds, 99% of the time they can be worked....In the 1% is the window of
whatever else that the dog will take, or need to complete the fix, or advance the dog in training. The biggest key on our side, is to have patience and read the dog, keep it short an simple, and again have patience. Thanks Jonesy
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