Gun Shy Dogs How To Prevent Gun Shyness

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Gun Shy Dogs How To Prevent Gun Shyness

by Michael Russell

Almost all hunters have the fear that they will purchase or raise a pure bred gundog and in the end it will be a complete waste because the dog turns into a quivering mass of jelly at the sound of a gun. There are many who have the mistaken belief that the gun shy dog has inherited this disposition. While it may be true that a dog may inherit a timid nature, this does not necessarily mean that the dog will turn out to be gun shy.

Many hunters also will assume that all dogs from the beginning will be shy at the sound of a gun. However when you actually study this proposition, this might be a mistaken assumption. There is really nothing that should induce a normally socialized dog to quake in fear at the sound of a gun. A normally socialized dog should be exposed from the beginning, in the normal course of events, to rides in the car, walking in neighborhoods where construction is going on, crowds of people, playgrounds, children....numerous noisy events. From the beginning it is important that the gun dog, like any dog, should first of all be well socialized.

From that starting point, there are some tried and true methods that do help to insure that the dog will not turn out to be gun shy. One of them is the firing of a cap pistol at the feeding time of the dog. This however will only be effective if it is started in advance of setting down the food bowl and furthermore should always be done when you are sure that the puppy is not sleeping at the time. Waking the puppy out of a sound sleep by the firing of the pistol is much more likely to induce shyness than to prevent it. The firing of the pistol should be done first at a distance as you are approaching the puppy with the food bowl and gradually lessening the distance. Furthermore encouraging words and petting of the dog should not be given if the dog does show any shyness, since this will only reinforce his shyness. If he shows timidity at the sound of the pistol, simply put the food down and leave him to eat. Repeat the firing of the pistol at the next feeding before making any decisions to continue this. If the dog shows shyness, continue by firing the cap pistol at a farther distance from the dog. If it appears that this is not going well, stop the practice completely.

By far the best and most effective way to introduce the sound of the gun to the puppy is to have him already keyed up and excited about the hunt, which in the end is accompanied always with the sound of the gun anyhow. If a puppy is actually engaged in the hunt and the gun goes off, it is likely that he will not even notice the firing of the gun. The hunter should plan on taking the dog out to hunt and firing the gun off when the dog is actually giving chase to game. If it is not hunting season simply fire the gun into the air. Allow the dog to continue giving chase. If the puppy does notice the sound of the gun then try again the next time and fire the gun at a farther distance from the dog. Any hunting dog that is truly focused in on the excitement of the chase and is a normally well socialized dog will simply accept the sound of the gun as the background noise associated with the hunt. Furthermore, if the hunter is any kind of a shot and it is during hunting season, the dog will get the best reward of all...the chance to actually see and smell the result of his hunting!

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dog Training

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

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