gun-fire question

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MI-Man
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gun-fire question

Post by MI-Man » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:46 pm

Over the last five months, I have worked my GSP (14 months old) on introducing birds and gun fire. I started small, working up to a 12 ga.
I recently worked her on three chukars, all of which, I popped off a 12 ga (two blanks, one live round) as the birds were released from the launcher. She does not show any signs of being gun shy, she does not hesitate at this point, at all. One of the birds I knocked down, she did local the dead bird and retrieved it...my hopes was to start teaching her the relationship between bird/gun-fire/and (at times!) dead bird.

My question, now that I have her exposed to gun-fire, what are the "no, no's" at this point??

Just want to make sure she continues to be comfortable around the gun. Also, at this point, I only shoot off a gun when there is a live bird in the air. And, I will continue this, want her to continue to assoicate the gun with birds!

Thanks -
MI-MAN

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Doc E
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Re: gun-fire question

Post by Doc E » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:58 pm

No-No = Don't shoot the dog.
Next step = Steady to Flush/Shot/Fall

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roaniecowpony
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Re: gun-fire question

Post by roaniecowpony » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:49 pm

Don't fire right over the dog's head.

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mtlhdr
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Re: gun-fire question

Post by mtlhdr » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:06 pm

How about multiple shooters with multiple shots (e.g., decoying ducks)? I was planning on trying to avoid that during my pups first season.

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by Brazos » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:40 pm

I don't have a ton of experience but have a story. I have a 13+ year old GSP (laying by me snoring right now). This dog is a hunter and was stellar as a young dog. No fear of guns. She would retrieve everyone's dove on some crazy dove hunts with tons of birds and shooting. Then a hail storm hit my neighborhood. My next door neighbor had his roof replaced. She has been seriously gun shy every since. I don't know why the roof nail guns effected her that bad but it was obvious she was scared to death. From that point forward anytime I started to turn the knob on my gun safe she would run upstairs and hide under my bed, not to come out for hours (couldn't drag here out from under it). Now that I have told you my story I am not sure what advice to give other than never take it for granted. Just because you have jumped a hurdle doesn't mean things can't be reversed. I have a new EP pup I am picking up 6/22. After owning 2 gun shy dogs I plan to be very careful.

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MI-Man
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Re: gun-fire question

Post by MI-Man » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:50 am

Thanks for the story Brazos. Exactly why I ask the question.
Congrats on your new pup!

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by DonF » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:46 am

We had a GSP years ago that gun's didn't bother in the least. But the ex burned trash one time and Tiny was there and something in the trash exploded. Ever since she'd run hide from a fire but never a shotgun. She was terrified of thunder too. Got to be how the association to noise is made. I suspect having a gun out when the burn pile exploded would have tied it to the gun. What I don't understand in your case is how she made to tie between a nail gun and shotgun? They don't even sound the same going off. Maybe she just learned to associate the shot gun with a lot of noise? Probably the sound like a machine gun. Finish roofs are generally stapled on and most guy's have the safety wired so the gun will fire every time it hit's rather than having to pull the trigger every time. Poor old girl! She's got the association with a loud noise and the shotgun and must have thought that was a shotgun.
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Re: gun-fire question

Post by 4dabirds » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:21 pm

Dogs have very small brains. They have no ability to rationalize the difference between gunfire and thunder as it relates to their safety. They are very adept at reading cues in their environment to determine wether something is safe or dangerous , or wether it will gain reward or correction. Their ability to learn is limited by their perception of associating one thing with another to determine wether something is safe or dangerous ,rewarding or not. They learn by association. A dog that has not been properly introduced to the gun and then subsequently given enough repetitions of the drill to make the positive association with birds and guns will always be at risk of making the negative association at a future date. When properly done the dog is catching a pigeon at the exact moment the gun is fired at a distance of a hundred yards starting with a 22 blank and moving up through the gauges of a shotgun. As each gauge is used the shooter moves closer to the person throwing the birds for the dog several yards at a time until the shooter is near the thrower. The birds are clipped winged and are flying away from the shooter. As the dog catches the bird the gun is fired .Once the introduction is done the drill can be continued to ingrain the association into the dog that the gunfire is equal to the bird. To the dog the gunfire means it is time to get a bird in its mouth. Once this is done properly the dog will run toward gunfire expecting a bird. Having the dog catch the bird is important as it creates the greatest distraction for the dog while the gunfire is subliminally planted in the dogs mind. The dog should never have a reaction to the gun at any time this is drilled , if it has ,you are too close, too loud ,or both. This drill can be done over a period of several weeks ,there is no need to rush it. Be sure the dog is aggressively chasing the birds before dong this drill. If the dog is not properly introduced to birds first it can make a negative association with the birds even without the gun fire.

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by ezzy333 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:29 pm

I have seen many dogs afraid of thunder and not a gun as I am sure most have. Dog as well as people know the difference of sounds they hear. That is why making loud noises in the kennel has little effect in accepting gun fire.

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by ranmcc » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:29 pm

I have raised pointing dogs for over 30 years and have never had a dog that was gun shy. I always use a cap pistol with the round caps from Walmart. When the pups are old enough to start feeding regular dog food I start shooting the cap pistol. I usually holler at first to get their attention and let them know I am coming then start shooting the cap pistol when I bring them their pan of food. They never pay it any attention. Once they are up to 7 or 8 weeks of age I have graduated to a 22 pistol that I shoot in front of the house before I bring them their food. I will then shoot another and get closer and closer each day observing the pups and their reactions. Usually after a number of days I can get all the way to the pen with a shot with no reactions other than their excitement to get fed.

Works every time. Then I start flipping pigeons out in front of them and while they chase I shoot the 209 primer pistol. Transitioning to a small caliber shotgun is no problem when it comes time to kill a bird.

The key is to take the time. A little everyday during their puppyhood saves alot later.

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by SHORTFAT » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:10 pm

I have a gun shy EP... She hates my shotgun, but she cant help herself when I get the check cord, e-collar & grouse bell. If I throw the shot gun in the truck, and come back in the house and get her collar and leash and go to the door, she goes nuts. I open the truck door and say "kennel up" and she jumps right in... once we're in the field, I make sure she has a nose full of bird before I ever touch the gun off... she never even hears it... but if I just get the gun out she will run and hide, scared to death of thunder and even the garbage truck... I think it just depends on the dog... just make sure there are feathers in her nose before the gun goes off... good luck, I'm sure she'll do fine.
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Re: gun-fire question

Post by Brazos » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:42 pm

I posted above about my gun broke GSP that did the 180 when my neighbor re-roofed his house. FWIW she has zero fear of thunder. She wears me out to go outside and hunt in the yard during thunderstorm/rain. It was the roofing nail guns that did it. I guess it was the all day noise while I was at work. She is a super smart dog. Once this started happening as soon as I went to open my gun safe she would haul a$$ crazy scared. She was smart enough to know my guns made a similliar sound as those nail guns. I am positive it was the nail guns. Up until that point the dog was fearless. The first day I came home from work when they started roofing next door I found her in a major panic. My back door was screwed up and I could not drag her outside when the nail guns were going. Like I said in my first post I am no expert. I told my story for others to learn. I am not sure what the lesson was other than to be cautious, never take it for granted, and if you or your neighbors re-roof your house then take your dog to the kennel for a few days.

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by Neil » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:06 pm

With most dogs it is not the noise of thunder, but the static electricty from lighting. When a storm comes up, wipe the dog down with a dryer sheet. Animals that did not learn to avoid lighting did not pass on their genes.

Avoiding gun shy has been explained. I have never seen it in a well adjusted dog. I can cure it, but usually another screw will come lose.

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by ezzy333 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:29 pm

Neil wrote:With most dogs it is not the noise of thunder, but the static electricty from lighting. When a storm comes up, wipe the dog down with a dryer sheet. Animals that did not learn to avoid lighting did not pass on their genes.

Avoiding gun shy has been explained. I have never seen it in a well adjusted dog. I can cure it, but usually another screw will come lose.
Any chance someone shot nails at her?

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by DoubleBarrel GunDogs » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:54 am

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." The words of Ben Franklin is what first comes to mind when I hear people speak of gun problems with dogs. The simple fact is that most dogs that have a gun problem also have an owner that doesn't or didn't realize that there was a problem until the advanced stages were set in. Many people are simply not paying much attention to the dog when the problem is manifested. Taking the dog to the gun range to introduce the gun is one common mistake. Taking the dog hunting without proper gun introduction is nearly as common. The less common causes can be more complicated. Realizing the cause and avoiding further damage is important, but can be difficult for many people to recognize. Its important to realize that a dog can make a lifelong negative association from a single incident.

Nate

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by Jidano3 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:56 pm

After reading a few of these posts, I don't feel alone. I have a 1 year old GSP (Penny) that shows signs of being gun shy. Thunder doesn't bother her, neither does the noise of my son playing his drums in the basement. I noticed the signs during training. We had planted some birds off in the distance(80-100 yds). After Penny went on point I flushed the bird and she chased after it, the trainer fired a small blank. She reacted to the noise by working her way back to me and sitting. Since then I have been gradually firing small 22 blanks away from her. She still notices, but i was told with patience, there is hope for her. This is my first bird dog and don't want to rush things. Any suggestions or comments?

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by 4dabirds » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:21 am

Read my post

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by DoubleBarrel GunDogs » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:05 pm

Jidano3 wrote:After reading a few of these posts, I don't feel alone. I have a 1 year old GSP (Penny) that shows signs of being gun shy. Thunder doesn't bother her, neither does the noise of my son playing his drums in the basement. I noticed the signs during training. We had planted some birds off in the distance(80-100 yds). After Penny went on point I flushed the bird and she chased after it, the trainer fired a small blank. She reacted to the noise by working her way back to me and sitting. Since then I have been gradually firing small 22 blanks away from her. She still notices, but i was told with patience, there is hope for her. This is my first bird dog and don't want to rush things. Any suggestions or comments?
How much exposure to birds did she have prior to that first shot?

Was this the first exposure to gunfire the dog experienced?

Was the drill that you described repeated or just done the 1 time with 1 shot fired?

What proximity was the trainer to the dog when the first shot was fired?

What were the trainer's comments or suggestions concerning the situation?

Nate

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by Jidano3 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:30 pm

She had 4 training sessions with birds.
Yes it was her first experience.
The drill was done once..... with one shot( small 22 cal) she reacted by running back to me
The trainer was approx. 50 - 80 yds away with the shot fired behind him.
The trainer suggested taking it slow, to put some of the other training aside until she was okay with gunfire. Not sure if he gave up on her or was trying to save me the cost of him taking care of this.

Since then i take Penny out in the woods and fields, allow her to range a bit and fire a muffled shot. I only do this every other day with 2 shots spread out over an hours time. She still knows a shot was fired, and stops to see were it came from. Being a first timer, I'm not sure if this is progress or not. Was told i need pigeons and clip the wings, show the bird to excite Penny, throw it, let her chase and find it. Just as she finds the bird I was told to fire a shot. Thanks for any replies.

Jim

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by DoubleBarrel GunDogs » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:47 am

Jidano3 wrote:She had 4 training sessions with birds.
Yes it was her first experience.
The drill was done once..... with one shot( small 22 cal) she reacted by running back to me
The trainer was approx. 50 - 80 yds away with the shot fired behind him.
The trainer suggested taking it slow, to put some of the other training aside until she was okay with gunfire. Not sure if he gave up on her or was trying to save me the cost of him taking care of this.

I'd find another trainer if I were you. One that knows how to introduce birds and guns properly. That sounds like some pretty weak advice, given your situation.

Since then i take Penny out in the woods and fields, allow her to range a bit and fire a muffled shot. I only do this every other day with 2 shots spread out over an hours time. She still knows a shot was fired, and stops to see were it came from. Being a first timer, I'm not sure if this is progress or not.

No, it is not. These are just more repetitions of something negative to the dog. She is telling you the sound bothers her every time she stops.

Was told i need pigeons and clip the wings, show the bird to excite Penny, throw it, let her chase and find it. Just as she finds the bird I was told to fire a shot.

This is a good way to introduce the gun, but she's not ready for that yet. She needs more bird exposure without gun fire involved. Continuing to fire the gun in the presence of birds could easily create a bird problem. If that happens you'll have a real problem on your hands.

When you've established an aggressive prey drive you can return to the gun. Start with a .22 crimp, and have an assistant fire it from a distance of 100 yards. Signal the assistant to fire the shot by raising your arm. Signal when the dog is about to catch the bird. Have your assistant move closer by 25 yards and repeat the drill. Unless the dog reacts to the shot, in that case stop the drill.


Thanks for any replies.

Jim

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Re: gun-fire question

Post by Sharon » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:45 am

mtlhdr wrote:How about multiple shooters with multiple shots (e.g., decoying ducks)? I was planning on trying to avoid that during my pups first season.
Absolutely. No multiple shooters year one and maybe year 2.
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