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Hi I have golden cocker from working stock that is gun shy.

I believe it was caused by a firework that went off extremely low over our house last year when he was around 4-5 months old. Since then I have tried him with a 28g at distance and also a starter pistol, starter pistol he was ok with at distance when playing with his favourite frisbee and the shotgun he was scared of still.

He is the hardest worker and keenest dog I have ever been around and he loves it, it's such a shame I can't use him. He is about 14 months old.

Just wondering if there is anyone out there who has been through this or knows of anyone who specialises in this whether it can be trained out of him etc.

If anyone has any advice please contact me.

Thanks

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Do not take him up the clayground - you will do him no favours!

 

My cocker bitch still hates fireworks and is terrified of thunder, but she has associated the boom of the shotgun as something good. Old Farrier is correct in that you need to associate the noise of the gun with something that is fun, but don't use anything that has too much of a harsh crack. My dog really knows the difference, but over exposure is not the key to a cure.

 

I was lucky in that my bitch is obsessed by hunting birds and retrieving and all I had to do was get those two connected with the noise of the gun. Now she gets really excited at the sight of a gun, so you need to find out what makes your dog tick and then use that to help him through it. 14 months is still pretty young though so be patient and I'm sure you'll get there.

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Do not take him up the clayground - you will do him no favours!

 

My cocker bitch still hates fireworks and is terrified of thunder, but she has associated the boom of the shotgun as something good. Old Farrier is correct in that you need to associate the noise of the gun with something that is fun, but don't use anything that has too much of a harsh crack. My dog really knows the difference, but over exposure is not the key to a cure.

 

I was lucky in that my bitch is obsessed by hunting birds and retrieving and all I had to do was get those two connected with the noise of the gun. Now she gets really excited at the sight of a gun, so you need to find out what makes your dog tick and then use that to help him through it. 14 months is still pretty young though so be patient and I'm sure you'll get there.

Can't add anything to this, spot on.

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Gun nervousness can sometimes be cured and it looks as if you've been on the right track with your previous efforts.

 

He needs to associate the sound of a gun with something positive. Some trainers advocate having a friend walk a hundred yards or so from the dog while you remain with it on a lead. Have the friend fire a starting pistol (held inside a gun bag to muffle the noise) and immediately praise the dog and reward it with a treat. If no reaction, repeat the process a couple of times and then stop.

 

Try do this exercise on open ground where there are no trees etc to heighten the noise or create an echo.

 

Do the same thing the next day, only this time get your friend to stand a tiny bit closer. Carry on this process over several weeks unit the gun can be fired at close quarters to the dog. But DONT RUSH things and only adjust things according to the dog's progress - it can take a long time to overlay old behaviours with new ones. As the old saying goes, "Three years to make, three minutes to mar"

 

He looks a cracking little dog and I wish you the very best of luck.

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As above, dog needs to be excited and focused on another activity rather than by gunshot/loud bangs, which it can learn to accept.

 

Some times beating at a formal largish shoot where the dogs are at a distance from the gun line is possible as the dog is hunting pheasants or grouse (lots and therefore completely distracted) whilst shots are in back ground.

 

As he gets better, can work closer to gunshot and eventually with gun alongside.

 

It might take a season to sort but worth trying.

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If it was me I would forget and going shooting and the dummy launcher, and start with a starter pistol, get somebody with you, throw a dummy and send the dog at the same time at a distance away get somebody to fire the starter pistol, if all OK, keep closing the distance until you are going both jobs, then move on to, the launcher, hopefully with his keenness the noise will not be noticed, and like the others said he will then associate noise as a good thing, also remember to train the same way with a cracking flag, as this might be a problem, this might unsteady him as well, I always start mine off with, metal food bowls, and bang them together when feeding them

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I have not had to deal with a gunshy dog but I would go back to basics. Throw a dummy whilst carrying a gun but don,t fire it. When the dog appears to be enjoying these sessions dry fire a not to powerful airgun as you throw the dummy. If that goes ok keep doing it for a few sessions and then progress to louder bangs. Best of luck.

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start slowly and try banging a paper bag or bang a newspaper or the food bowl and work up to a lot of noise just before feeding times over a few weeks or any activity the dog really loves to do as getting out of the kennel or car for a run around etc always something good after noise hope this helps

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This happened with my late fathers Cumberland rough spaniel. At a vermin shoot a load of doves flew out of a barn and 12-15 12 bores let rip with both barrels dog ran of in fright as he had only dogged in before, but with lots of coaching and getting use to hearing a shot gun and associating it with hunting in the woods after many sessions of comforting after gun fired and its ok. When you picked up gun case he was 1st to door 1st in the motor and 1st out looking for prey. So the answer is yes but only with a lot of reassuring from you and be prepared for a long job it will take as long as it takes.

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My cocker at about six months old was out for her evening walk off the lead. Next thing there was an almighty boom. A firework went off and she bolted. I managed to catch her but she struggled so much I had a four inch gash from her claws on my arm. one terrified dog. She is nearly six now and although it took a lot of patience but she does love going out with the gun any gun rifle or shotgun, in fact just go near the cabinet and she all over me like a rash.

 

I agree entirely with previous posts don't go near clay grounds or shoots.

Party poppers with the streamers removed toy cap gun work your way up. But it has to give a high value reward. If yours is like mine and food orientated then use that at first then move on to dummies as the reward.

 

Mine is still not keen on fireworks unless she can she them, don't ask me why I haven't a clue but she likes watching them. I had a Springer that did too.

I hope you get sorted

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I'd say post 4 is about spot on.

 

If ur dog enjoys free running with ur JR? and its not gun shy i'd let them have a free run and wait till a bit away and fire starter pistol.

Thats how i do it with all my pups now when they get to 6-9month at the start, let them free run with the older dogs once a decent distance away fire starter pistol, usually they don't even notice and only wonder why old dogs have stopped and looked at me, but i also have done all the banging bowls, clapping etc before

 

The beating thing might work if dog is allowed to hunt freely on gamey ground with gun shot in distance as it would enjoy hunting so much would probably forget the shots BUT unless u really know the keeper on many shots u would not be allowed work ur dog freely and would probaby be at heel and if u had to stop mid drive if shot to close/loud most keepers would not appreciate it. Also too much hunting in gamey ground with all the other shoot day excitement is not always a good thing for a young dog

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Gun nerves can be cured! Big reward for small bang- working up very slow steps, be prepared to go backwards a few times and don't rush it. A kids cap gun might be a better start.

Gun shy? well that's another matter but it don't sound to be the case

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