What is considered gun shy

Little Brit

New member
Just wondering on what is considered gun shy. What are some reactions dogs will do if they are gun shy. I know the odvious run away but what else.

Reason I'm asking is I have introduced my pup to cap guns, .22 and she is ok. Now I'm firing my 12g out in the field and she will stop when I fire (I always fire when she is a fair distance out) then she runs back to me but she doesnt seemed bothered by the shot she seems excited. Is it normal for her to run back to me after I fire the gun. Note I am not firing at birds infront of her yet.
 

Uncle Buck

New member
She is not gunshy. She is returning to the source of the shot I beleive, to see wht is going on. I would shoot or throw a dead bird with a shot and hopefully she will run to the falling bird.
 

Little Brit

New member
Ok sounds good. Would it be ok to shoot over her while throwing a bird for her and will this effect anything while tring to get her steady on point with a launcher.
 

SetterNut

New member
Brit

Not being able to see the pups reaction, I could be off base. But I really don't like to see a pup react at all to the gun. I don't know of a reason why your pup would be coming back to you at this stage when you shoot unless you have already killed birds over it. Could be that the pup is uncertain with the sound, I think you need to be careful here.


When I expose a pup to gunfire I do it by having the pup chasing a bird hard and blanking at a distance. If the pup reacts at all, I wait a few days and try it again.

There is no reason to rush this, you can never be too safe at this step.

Good luck and play it safe with this.
 

BritChaser

Well-known member
Not gun shy, but I wouldn't shoot around her anymore unless you're actually hunting. You've established her comfort with gunshot so that job is done. No need to do more. You want the shooting and the birds to be a strong connection in the dog's mind.
 
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oldandnew

New member
I would affirm the above advice. Quit shooting! Use the gun as an after affect of good bird dog work. Dog finds a bird, points, you jump it, shoot, dog follows the bird, never heard the shot, completely focused on the bird. Now after she gets the bird, then you want her to find you!:). Your OK where you are. By the way, some really good bird dogs become uneasy and "gunshy" around lightning storms, but never worry about shooting. It can come along later, long after you assumed it was gone, after many lightning storms in the past.
 

Gatzby

Active member
Brit

Not being able to see the pups reaction, I could be off base. But I really don't like to see a pup react at all to the gun. I don't know of a reason why your pup would be coming back to you at this stage when you shoot unless you have already killed birds over it. Could be that the pup is uncertain with the sound, I think you need to be careful here.


When I expose a pup to gunfire I do it by having the pup chasing a bird hard and blanking at a distance. If the pup reacts at all, I wait a few days and try it again.

There is no reason to rush this, you can never be too safe at this step.

Good luck and play it safe with this.

This is good advice. He's running to you for reassurance, sort of like bolting from e collar corrections. Slow down and introduce small bore gunfire with a live flier. Dogs are not born gunshy they are made to be gunshy.

Good luck
Steve
 

Little Brit

New member
I have already introduced with live birds and cap gun, live bird .22 blank, no problems. I shot the 12g with no birds maybe this is the problem she want to see if I had birds. Not a big deal as I only did this twice and she didn't come back every time. I'm not to worried about it. Once I get more birds infront of her she will be fine.
 

SetterNut

New member
I have already introduced with live birds and cap gun, live bird .22 blank, no problems. I shot the 12g with no birds maybe this is the problem she want to see if I had birds. Not a big deal as I only did this twice and she didn't come back every time. I'm not to worried about it. Once I get more birds infront of her she will be fine.

When you can't see how the dog reacts, you are guessing at the situation.
But having the dog distracted (chasing) with birds when shooting is the way it's done around these parts.
 

Gatzby

Active member
Have someone else shoot while you watch the dog closely. This is not an area to take risks. Start with the gun a long ways away while you play with a pigeon and the pup. Move the gunner closer in very small increments. If you see any reaction from the dog back the gunner off and give it a day or so and try again. Their is no time line to this, some dogs take a couple sessions a few take a dozen or more

Good luck
 

birdshooter

Active member
Brit

Not being able to see the pups reaction, I could be off base. But I really don't like to see a pup react at all to the gun. I don't know of a reason why your pup would be coming back to you at this stage when you shoot unless you have already killed birds over it. Could be that the pup is uncertain with the sound, I think you need to be careful here.


When I expose a pup to gunfire I do it by having the pup chasing a bird hard and blanking at a distance. If the pup reacts at all, I wait a few days and try it again.

There is no reason to rush this, you can never be too safe at this step.

Good luck and play it safe with this.

100% wholeheartedly agree with this. When pup is chasing bird he/she is totally focused on getting that bird. If he/she reacts to the shot in full chase then you know you may have an issue that is gun related. Most well bred pups will have enough prey drive that they will be ecstatic about getting to that bird and will not flinch at the shot, but it could happen.

As others have said, just be careful to start a good distance with a helper if you can and slowly work it in looking for any indication from the pup of a negative reaction.
 
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Zimbass

New member
All good advice, I started with 22 blank when running on a flushed bird, then moved to a 20 gauge only firing when on the chase and a good distance out. I also make sure the muzzle of the the gun is pointed away from the direction of the pup at first. I watch the dog the whole time so I can see if there is any reaction at the same time I'm taking a no look shot up and away from the direction of the pup, kinda of strange pulling the trigger and not looking at what your shooting.
 
I have already introduced with live birds and cap gun, live bird .22 blank, no problems. I shot the 12g with no birds maybe this is the problem she want to see if I had birds. Not a big deal as I only did this twice and she didn't come back every time. I'm not to worried about it. Once I get more birds infront of her she will be fine.

One fact that you can't change, it's much easier to create a gunshy dog than it is to cure one. George Hickox talks about how dogs are creatures of association. They don't have the ability to reason and logically think things out. If it were me, I would put the gun away and focus exclusively on bird work and yard work, try to build up the dog's boldness and reinforce the positive association with birds, then under extremely controlled circumstances re-introduce the gun but only when the dog is fired up, pedal to the metal, in hot pursuit of a bird that is in the air. (Zimbass made a great point about the pointing the muzzle of the gun away from the dog at first) I spent two seasons not shooting over one of my dogs because I could not get her steady on wild birds, it was frustrating but worth it in the long run. Full disclosure, while it was frustrating, she wasn't my only dog and I knew I could kill plenty of birds over her partner so I was only frustrated until I got back to the truck and switched dogs. It wasn't near the sacrifice it would have been if she had been my only dog.
 
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