1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Dog training advice.

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by mgfi26, Mar 19, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. mgfi26

    mgfi26 TS Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2009
    Messages:
    46
    Have a new puppy and am looking for opinions regarding how old a dog should be before having him around guns? I just got a new puppy (Brittany) and am thinking of taking him to the gun club this wknd. w/me but didn't know the right age for him being around guns, shooting, etc. Any opinions?
    [​IMG]
     
  2. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,353
    Dont ever do that- at any age

    I have seen countless dogs ruined that way- there are many ways that are well documented on how to associate gun fire in a favorable and intergrated manner with gun dogs

    You can find that information anywhere

    I think its nearly abuse to take a dog to a gun club though and have had countless people do that to ruin their dog or have it cower in fear

    Even in the best of situations it wont accomplish anything good

    There is only a downside to this approach -

    regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  3. bigdogtx

    bigdogtx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Messages:
    10,650
    Totally agree with Gene. Once you make a dog gunshy, it is almost impossible to cure it.

    Let him be a baby then a child; think whether you would do _______ to a child can help your decision on whether to do it to a dog.
     
  4. kiv-c

    kiv-c Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    852
    You can begin training by snapping your fingers at mealtime, then progessing to a capgun. The idea is to gradually associate sharp noises like gunfire with pleasurable events, like eating a meal or a treat.

    Kiv
     
  5. mjsweims

    mjsweims Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    Messages:
    98
    Agree with Kiv. Make sure the pup associates the gun noise with fun things. When we have litters we use drink cans filled with coins as play items, then progress to clapping noises and at about 8 weeks I usually take them to a trap range at a distance. At the range I keep at least 3-400 yards away and feed them treats. By the time they are 10 weeks I have introduced them to a shielded blank pistol with treats. Haven't had any gun-shy dogs in over 15 years of doing this.
    Jack
     
  6. smc968

    smc968 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    69
    mgfi26, I have to disagree with the first two replies, especially Gene's. To say that a gun dog... a dog you are going to hunt with... can never be taken to a gun club because it is akin to abuse is (with all due respect) nonsense.

    I have a 1.5 year old vizsla who has been to gun clubs with me numerous times. He couldn't care less about the noise and enjoys meeting all the new people and even some new dogs when others are around. A dog that hunts is going to hear gunfire, so a gun range shouldn't be a problem.

    However, I will agree with the opinion that you should let your dog crawl before walking if you know what I mean. EVERY dog is different. Vizslas are often more sensitive and require softer more positive training than, say, a GSP. Even within breeds every dog is different. In my opinion, it's really almost never too early to bring a dog out into the world to experience new things while they're young, resiliant and impressionable, as long as they're up to the task.

    You should always take baby steps. As kiv-c suggested, see how your dog reacts to noises at home... a snap, a clap, a cap (no rhyme intended). Give your dog treats when the noise occurs (same as any positive training, you want them to associate something with a positive). Then if your pup has no negative reaction, take him to the club, but leave him in the car first to see how the sound affects him. Then if all is well take him outside but not near the fields... just progress slowly.

    I will also agree that it is MUCH easier to slowly train a dog to not care about gunfire than it is to re-train a dog once he or she is gunshy. "Ruining" a dog is always a risk... but if you progress slowly and always try to stay tuned to how your dog reacts you ought to be fine.

    Lastly, if you JUST got this dog, you should probably keep him away from other dogs and pretty much anywhere other dogs might be or have been until at least the 2nd or 3rd full round of vaccinations. It's hard to keep a super cute puppy at home when you just want to show him/her off, but you do NOT want to expose your dog to anything nasty until he has the proper immunity.

    Training a dog is truly a labor of love. Take it slow, keep it positive and you'll be just fine.

    Steve
     
  7. highflyer

    highflyer TS Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,474
    I would never take a dog to the gun club. Especially a pup. Most gun shyness is manmade. You could ruin him before you even get started.
     
  8. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,353
    I was waiting for a response

    SMC968 is obviously defensive because he has taken his dog to the range- but most of his response is ok

    Here is what I would say to SMC968 -- I would look at your dog and see all types of things happening that you dont see- you just dont see it- if we were together and I pointed those little signs out to you- an eyelid moving- or a head turning- or looking down- you would argue with me

    Again- there is absolutely nothing to be gained from this- and everything to lose

    I dont think SMC968 advocated anything to gain from this either-- he probably saw someone else do this- did it- and now he is going to defend it

    Thanks SMC- I am not picking on you -

    regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  9. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    6,262
    I break my new pups into the sound of gunshots by first taking them on several outings with my other dogs where we just basically run around the desert and goof off. This starts as early as 10 week of age. Great fun for the dogs and the pup. When I know the pup is use to going on those outings and is having fun, I'll start firing a few .22 rounds from a rifle just plinking now and then. The pup might take some notice at first but since the other dogs don't get agitated the pup will continue with play time. We continue the outings and start shooting a few handguns and shotguns. By the time we are ready to start training for hunting, the pup is completely at ease with the sound of gunfire.

    Never ended up with gun shy dog.
     
  10. smc968

    smc968 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    69
    No offense taken. I did not mean to explicitly advocate taking dogs to the range... only that I see no problem with it as long as it's done under the right circumstances. Just as you would not want to throw a child into a pool and just see what happens, you probably shouldn't put a puppy right next to a gun and see what happens. Your child will be scared of the water and you dog will be scared of guns, or worse... scared of people holding things that look like guns... noises that sound like guns, etc.

    I was not being defensive, as you suggest, because I have taken my dog to the range, but I have done it, and I will continue to do so. I take him primarily because it's preferable to making him stay home, and he normally sits in the car for a bit, takes a nap, then comes out to play for a bit... repeat. Plus, the more time he can spend becoming comfortable with the sounds and smells of shooting, the better. He's old enough, mature enough, and obedient enough to handle things like that. Pups often are not, but they need to learn, and best to learn the basics when they're young. I wish I had exposed my dog to live birds sooner than I did for example.

    Look Gene... I know my dog, and I have enough experience with dogs to know what would be stepping into harmful territory. My dog is simply not gunshy. As I said though, and I think you'd probably agree... all dogs are different. Maybe you would have some good advice for me about the things my dog does that I don't see... but maybe I'd have some advice for you too. Learning from others who have similar interests and skills is a fantastic way to hone your skills. I participate in numerous hunting dog related groups such as NAVHDA. I run my dog in agility, which he loves, and we've been to a couple of conformation type shows (although that's not really my thing). I think you and I probably have a lot more opinions in common than in opposition Gene... we may just not see eye to eye on this one.

    My biggest piece of advice is just take it slow... whatever you're training. It's always tempting to want things done quickly, but you're going to have a dog for 10+ years hopefully and better to build a solid relationship and have things done right than make big mistakes. I just don't see taking a dog to a range *when he or she is ready* as a big mistake.

    Anyway... too much typing.

    Enjoy your dogs everyone!
     
  11. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,353
    SMC makes a good point though- about absolutes

    I didnt define never very well-- If you are 50-100 yards behind the firing line and the dog is being played with- well that isnt what I think of when I think of people at the gun club with a dog.

    So I guess my never isnt really never-- I will back off of that

    SMC you are right- we are basically in agreement--

    regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  12. SI

    SI TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    35
    You have received many good pieces of advice. Let the puppy bond to you first before putting him/her in a strange setting filled with uncertaintities and new experiences. Each dog, and each breed has different reactions to stress. I have had labs for over 50 years and did have one that showed signs of being gun shy and it took a lot of work but was successful. I personally wouldn't take a new pup to the trap range way to much exposure at first. If normal loud noises don't bother the pup you probably will have little trouble relating to gun noise. Expose the pup to noises and associate it with good things, if you have a metal food bowl just drop it a little or kick it around, noise and food good things! I again, this is a personal preference would not use any type of rifle for training remember a dogs ears are more sensitive than ours and the high pitch, which we don't hear, can bother a dog. If you reload, use primed hulls, a little louder than a cap gun and associated the gun and noise. Good luck on the pup, its a looker.
     
  13. md-11

    md-11 TS Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    33
    SI is spot on when it comes to a dogs hearing and sensitivity to noises. Using a 22 cal. is one of the worst offenders for making a dog gun shy!!! If you want to use a 22 cal. then please use shorts. The soft thud of a short is much more tolerable than the loud crack of a super-sonic LR. To this day my shorthair gets absolutely giddy when he hears a 12 ga. go off yet when I shoot a 22 around him he will come lay down next to me in submission as if asking me not to make that noise again. Take it slow and enjoy the process, it is work but the joy you both will have that day you shoot your first bird with him as your hunting partner makes it all worth while.

    Jeff
     
  14. bigdogtx

    bigdogtx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Messages:
    10,650
    I have always started with a cap gun then a starter pistol then a 20 gauge and have yet had a dog gun shy. Like I have said just take it easy and both of you enjoy his childhood.
     
  15. hrosik123

    hrosik123 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Messages:
    695
    I believe you should ease your dog into hearing gunfire. A short session in the field with your dog and a friend about 100 yadrs away with a 410 or 28 guage is best. Short doses. The goal of a good pointer is to not even notice the gun shot. Training should be slow and steady. A gentle hand with short work sessions and long play time works well. As the dog gets older increase training and decrease play. Never remove play time as it helps with focus and creates a strong bond. I would urge you to buy George Hickox video on training pointing dogs. It will take you through all the steps. Helped me and my French Brittany a lot. Hope this helps
     
  16. Tron

    Tron Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    6,668
    Kitty says that you should beat him with a rolled up news paper.

    <a href="http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v712/Tronspace/?action=view&current=100_1737-1.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>
     
  17. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    11,145
    Don't take it to the gun club yet. Too young. Get him use to gun sounds at home first, while eating and having fun. Don't blow it. SI and Mid-11 have good advice.
     
  18. unplugged

    unplugged Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Messages:
    404
    I agree you can take a dog to the club too early in life. I see guys dragging a new dog that is afraid around numerous clubs.

    One training method I can say works great, is clicker training. If you look up "clicker training" on the web, you will get the basics. My current dog learned every lesson very quickly using the clicker!!
     
  19. high 2

    high 2 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    761
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Tron, do you take Kitty to the gun club? Is Kitty gun shy?
     
  20. SD Trap Family

    SD Trap Family TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    1,156
    We did what SI mentioned in his post about using a metal food dish. It worked great for our 2 Labs. We put the food in another bowl so the puppy knew it was time to eat, then "knocked" on the metal pan a couple times and put some of the food in it, when it was done with that portion we hit the dish again and put in the remainder. Started out not too loud and within 10 days, you could hit it as loud as you wanted.

    11 years ago when we got our first Lab, we went down to the library and got a bunch of books and videos. Amazing, we did this for our NEW puppy but never did that when our kids were born???? Hmmmm Now you can look everything you want to know on the internet.

    Great look puppy. Congrats.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.