How does one teach a dog not to freak around gunfire?

How does one teach a dog not to freak around gunfire?

This is a discussion on How does one teach a dog not to freak around gunfire? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Want to get my dog hunting squirrels for me. Maybe bunnies too if that is possible. I have heard that you'll ruin them if you ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    How does one teach a dog not to freak around gunfire?

    Want to get my dog hunting squirrels for me. Maybe bunnies too if that is possible. I have heard that you'll ruin them if you get them to tree a squirrel and just start blasting without acclimating him to gunfire first. He'll be too terrified to ever find another squirrel. Anyone done this?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array A1C Lickey's Avatar
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    My wife's dog doesn't hunt with us, but she doesn't have a problem with gunfire. We just held her the first time we shot around her and since then no problem.
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  3. #3
    Member Array libertarian5's Avatar
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    My grandfather trained bird dogs like this:

    Let them get a little hungry, then feed something they really like. After they start eating, set off a noise. Firecrackers work well. You can begin by setting one off 100' away, then come closer for a louder bang. Just do 1-2 bangs per feeding - don't try to do it all at once. Give them lots of praise and reassurance while doing this. Do it again every time you feed until you reach the decibel level for the gun you will be using. He hunted with a 12 gauge and that's a pretty big bang.

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    Member Array S3ymour's Avatar
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    The above method is the same my father in law uses with his dogs, and the same method I used for my horses. It works well, just take it slowly.
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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    My dog was never bothered by it, but I don't think its a good idea to do it around them too much. He sat through a couple practice sessions one day and couldn't hear correctly for about 3 days. Had me a little worried. I figured he would leave if it bothered him.

    The firecracker method seems pretty right on, I just luckily didn't have to employ it.
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    Senior Member Array Andy W.'s Avatar
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    When training retrievers, they say to start by shooting at a distance from the dog & slowly get closer to it. Similar to the firecracker method mentioned above.
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    Senior Member Array Packman73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy W. View Post
    When training retrievers, they say to start by shooting at a distance from the dog & slowly get closer to it. Similar to the firecracker method mentioned above.
    That's what I did with my dogs..

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array havegunjoe's Avatar
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    I have two Chocolate Labs I got when they were 3 months old. I would before feeding bang their dishes together. They would start to associate loud noises with something good. (Don't bang over them as to startle them. I used this method as a dinner time call.) I moved up to a cap gun when they were outside. I'd throw the dummy and shot off a cap gun. You want it to be fun. Out comes a gun associated with a loud noise and boy we are having fun retrieving the dummy. From there we went to a .410, 20 ga, 12 ga. all over a period of time. When I was confident that they were acclimated to the noise I would move up a notch. Keep it fun, keep it short.
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    Senior Member Array dnowell's Avatar
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    Dog ear plugs?

    Does anyone have experience using earplugs with dogs? Seems like if people need them, dogs with their superior hearing should need them even more.

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    It's just a matter of time to get them adjusted to it. My labs adapted quickly....although around here the gunfire is plentiful, it's hard not to get used to it.

    We shoot enough here that even the deer that visit regularly don't even bother to run when they hear gunfire.

    On a side note one of my labs is a gunshot victim himself. He was shot a couple of years ago by a neighbor who thought he was a wild dog who was killing his goats.....even that dog isn't shy around gunfire....On the other hand I have a cat that was also shot once, (he to was somewhere he shouldn't have been......but that's another story) he still hates gunfire....I guess dogs are meant to tolerate noise, where cats aren't....
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  11. #11
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    I agree with the earlier posts about feeding the dog and shooting something in the distance to get them accllimated to gunfire.

    When I was a kid we had a Collie/Shepherd mix. Before we got him, and when he was a puppy, some kids threw firecrackers at him, from then on, hearing any firecracker activity, he was headed for a space behind the clothes washer. The abruptness type scare has bad lasting effects, so best to make it gradual.
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    My Golden ignores gunfire in the woods. Yet at home, I could be shooting chipmunks or pine squirrels with a pellet rifle and she goes in, and climbs into the bed. I'm kind of inclined to think that she considers them friends since she lays and watches them. Nothing else makes sense. If you dog starts being gun shy, there are a lot of training techniques that works in stopping it. I don't use shock collars, and never will.
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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Sounds like they should all work. Too bad firecrackers are illegal in MI, and I live too urban an area to shoot anything. I wonder if I can fire blanks legally? Maybe only out of a genuine blank gun...any tips for city-dwellers? Or is occasionally (once a month or so) often enough to get it done?
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  14. #14
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    All you have to do is associate the noise with a positive experience.
    If you’re a city dweller, start small with something like popping balloons or paper bags. I've used a 2 dollar cap gun before too.
    Oh yeah, make sure your outside... never do it in the home.
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  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    All you have to do is associate the noise with a positive experience.
    If you’re a city dweller, start small with something like popping balloons or paper bags. I've used a 2 dollar cap gun before too.
    Oh yeah, make sure your outside... never do it in the home.
    Popping bags, cap gun...Brilliant.
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