Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21

Thread: Best age for gun intro

  1. #1

    Default Best age for gun intro

    Wondering when to introduce the gun to the pup.

    I tried it the other day and she is just past 12 weeks and she didn't seem to mind it (.22 LR) Did it again today and it seemed a bit louder where we were and she flinched a little but I quickly gave her a treat to associate the two and she was okay. Did it a second time and she didn't seem to like ti at all, so I stopped.

    Is there a better way to do it or a better age?

  2. #2

    Default

    What you may have inadvertantly done is encouraged her to be afraid my rewarding her for being scared. If shes scared ignore her.
    The age is fine, for me, the earlier the better.
    Go for a LONG walk in the woods, and shoot the gun a few times while on the walk. Keep moving and keep her mind active. Don't let her dwell on it if she is afraid, just show her it's ok by remaining calm and unaffected by the noise, and keeping moving forward. Act as if it never happened.
    I have a permit for hunting behind Kincaid, and would be happy to show you how I introduce puppies to the noise. It may also help for her to be around other dogs who are not afraid of guns. Dogs learn much more from each other than we could ever hope to teach them.
    Good luck bud, it's great you have so many good questions, it shows a strong desire on your part and in my experience that is the most important element.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the advice. I hope I didn't reward her fear, but I will watch that from now on. I was trying to get her to associate the sound of the shot with a good thing. May have backfired on me. I will try the walk tomorrow and see how she does.

  4. #4

    Default

    I simply get them fired up on retrieving. Lots of field marks and lots of clipped flyers. I then gradually over time start to implement guns into the picture. Gunfire then becomes a part of what they love to do "retrieving and birds".
    As far as age.... Age I don't believe is a factor. But knowing when that pup is ready is another. I've told lots of folks.... Don't Rush the Gun !!

  5. #5
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    1,154

    Default

    Agreed with Wetland Retrievers. DO NOT RUSH IT. I’m no pro, but my understanding is that gun shyness is very easy to cause, and hard to fix. The dog is young, so you have plenty of time to work this out. Be patient, and read your dog. Its sounds like you are in touch with its reactions, so that’s a good thing! Have a family member or friend occupy the puppies time, and start with the gun fire at large distances, slowly decrease the distance over time. It worked great for me. I started slapping 2x4's at meal time when my puppy was on the deck with my wife, and I was on the other side of the house. I eventually moved closer. He had no negative reaction to that sound. After a few weeks I switched to firecrackers at meal time (loud, inexpensive, and no bullets randomly flying around). I again started from a distanced and moved closer over a few weeks. After no reaction to that, I started taking him on long walks in the woods with a friend and or my wife. I put him in a secure happy world, and started gun introduction at this point. I used a .22, then a 20 gauge, then a 16 gauge, then my 12 gauge. For the longest time I fired at distances when he was pre-occupied, and only moved closer when I knew he was ready. I did this over a few months staring at about the same age as you did. I then started incorporating it into his training sessions. I drug it out pretty long, maybe longer than need be, but in the end, I have a dog that is not bothered the slightest bit by gun fire. In fact he is happy when the gun comes out, because he knows we are going some where he thinks is fun! You can have the best bird finding dog in the world, but if he is gun shy….what is the point? There is a ton of info on this subject. I didn’t do a ton of “rewarding” at this stage, because I didn’t want any association. I just had his attention preoccupied with someone/something he could play with or be paying attention to. I guess that was his “reward.” Take your time, because it is a critical step. Also please don’t just fire random shots in the air and such. A .22 can travel a long way. Be sure of your surroundings! God luck.

  6. #6

    Default

    Don't do any training while the dog is eating. Too much activity during feeding can lead to guarding, which is one of the worst behaviors a dog can learn. Even if it is to distract the mind, a toy or game would be much better. Generally, if you are calm and collected, your dog will be, so make sure you are reflecting positive assertive behavior when around her. Be a strong leader.
    A good way to get a shy dog used to the gun is just bring it along on walks. She will begin to associate it with the walks, and like it just for that reason. Then you could work into firing it while she is retrieving/scouting. Dogs who are afraid of guns usually get fearful at just the sight of a (long)gun, so you have half the battle beat if you can get that down.

  7. #7
    Member Burke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    735

    Default

    I agree age is not the biggest factor...knowing your dog is key. If the dog flinches, he is telling you something. Just like lots of other training, if the dog is telling you he isnt ready, step back. You have time.

  8. #8
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    1,154

    Default

    Again know your dog and its surroundings. I personally have never had any problems with meal time activity. Slapping 2x4 in the distance while he was eating on the deck wasn't an in his face training session, just back ground noise. That being said, I never get into the gun intro during meal time. Like I said, go for a walk for this type of training and introduction. I've done this system for three dogs, and not a single one of them has a problem with gun shyness. My uncle and grandpa did the same thing for many labs they raised and trained for hunting and field trails. Meal times aren't very hectic for me, could be for you, so you'll have to watch that as tailwind stated. As evidenced by this thread, the only problem you get by asking questions on a forum is that you'll get a bunch of different opinions! Don't become over-whelmed. Look at the info available (like I said ton of books, and info out there), and find what works best for YOU and YOUR PUP! Tailwind sounds like he has experience, and has offered to take you and your pup out....I would take him up on that offer if I was you! Good luck.

  9. #9

    Default

    Hoyt, I do use that tactic at times, but it is usually to get a dogs attention while walking. Any loud noise, clapping, hitting sticks against trees, and jumping up and down are great for getting a pups attention. I don't use verbal commands at first either, so anything you do to get the dogs attention is great. You're gonna look crazy sometimes...

    If you want to use positive association, unload the (long)gun, open the action, and throw a bunch of tiny treat pieces on it twice a day for a week and let her eat them and sniff for as long as she likes. Make sure to use an inexpensive/broken gun. It just needs to look/smell like a gun. That would be perfect starting spot. Sounds like your way past that though.

  10. #10
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    1,154

    Default

    I have looked pretty darn crazy, thats for sure!!!!!!! Great advice, I hope AK explorer can get his pup heading n the right direction! Pretty nice of you to offer to take him and his pup out. I hope it works out!

  11. #11
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Best time to start is in the womb. Seriously, I took my 11 wk old pup to a city Fireworks display, and he slept, but I'd had his mom in the field at least for a walk until she gave birth. We all can't have that. The other thing you can do is let them see you clean your gun, dry fire it, work the mechanisims. The smell and noise is all part of the gun. I have to work on a year old soon so we'll see how that goes.
    Linda
    www.alaskadognews.com

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    975

    Default

    Lots of good advice so far, but I'll just add a couple of comments. Everything pup does must be FUN. If you must, write the word FUN in bold letters on the palm of your hand or on a note taped to the end of your nose so you won't ever forget that everything must be FUN!

    I would NOT take the pup to a gun range or anything similar. It could easily go the wrong way for pup and it's quite difficult to turn around.

    I like having a pup learn this sort of thing while out with older, experienced dogs. Pup sees them having fun and it's easier for pup to have fun as well.

    Well proven method of banging pans (or 2x4s) to call pup to dinner.

    Move slowly. It really isn't that big of a deal. It's not rocket science, but it must be done correctly. Do not introduce gun fire around training birds. That comes later.

    FUN! Fun for the pup. Fun for the trainer.

    You're lucky to have a pup. I want another one.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing any of this stuff than use the services of a pro trainer. Money well spent.


    Jim

  13. #13

    Default

    Thanks - I think maybe that is the problem with her retrieving too - it isn't fun for some reason. I throw the bumper and it is like she knows I want something and she just gets all pouty. I am holding off on the gun until she is really retrieving well.

  14. #14
    Member captaindd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Salcha, AK
    Posts
    762

    Default

    I introduced my pup to gun fire by accident. I had her on my charter boat and had been using a bang stick on large halibut. The pup was in the cabin and all it did was get her excided. My pup is different she has no fear. She attacked the fish, likes chasing the wash down hose, and in the house likes attacking the vacum. I never could figure where she gets it from. He parents are show dogs not hunting dogs.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    975

    Default

    As to the reluctance to retrieve the bumper...If no one else has already said this, than what you need to do for a while is keep the retrieves down to three or so, ensure pup is having fun (this means you have to be fired up and happy as well while doing it!), and then hide the bumper. If you're doing this correctly anyone that sees you will think you have slipped off the edge of reality and lost your mind because of how you are acting. Be animated and make it all FUN! Just like any other kid thing.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tailwind View Post
    I have a permit for hunting behind Kincaid, and would be happy to show you how I introduce puppies to the noise. It may also help for her to be around other dogs who are not afraid of guns. Dogs learn much more from each other than we could ever hope to teach them.
    Good luck bud, it's great you have so many good questions, it shows a strong desire on your part and in my experience that is the most important element.
    I'd be happy to take you up on something like that when I get my pup!

  17. #17

    Default

    Thanks Jim - I will have to try that. I am probably not getting "fun" enough and she thinks it is too much pressure.

  18. #18

    Default

    No problem rhubarb, just let me know when.
    I have an Akita I am working with now, it's been a barrel of laughs.

    Explorer, the gun and retreiving are completely seperate. You don't have to wait on one for the other. Just work on both at different times. Another thing to remember is there are 100 ways to do any of these things. Most of what we are offering here are general guide lines for conduct, but don't be afraid to follow your instincts with these points from ALL of us in mind. There is not one piece of bad advice in this whole thread, with the most important, IMO, being to have fun. Your dog is constantly scanning your mood/behavior for information and guidance, positive vibes from you will pass to your dog, and make her more comfortable.

    You can learn alot about a man from his dog.

  19. #19

    Default

    Tailwind - thanks, and I hope you don't meet my dog or you will think I am no fun at all! LOL

    Generally speaking, I am not really a goofy, fun kind of guy. I have fun, don't get me wrong, but I leave my wife to the goofy stuff. Guess I have to loosen up.

    Jim - I did what you said and acted way more energetic and fun with her than I normally do and she took to it. She retrieved 3 times and I called it quits. About 3 hours later, while she was playing and romping in the yard, I threw a bumper, she grabbed it and brought it to me. I threw it again, the Yorkie went and got it with her just behind him, she wrestled it away from him and then took a route under the truck to bring it to me so he couldn't grab it back! I LOL I stopped after that. She did good today.

  20. #20
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    1,154

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Explorer View Post
    Tailwind - thanks, and I hope you don't meet my dog or you will think I am no fun at all! LOL

    Generally speaking, I am not really a goofy, fun kind of guy. I have fun, don't get me wrong, but I leave my wife to the goofy stuff. Guess I have to loosen up.

    Jim - I did what you said and acted way more energetic and fun with her than I normally do and she took to it. She retrieved 3 times and I called it quits. About 3 hours later, while she was playing and romping in the yard, I threw a bumper, she grabbed it and brought it to me. I threw it again, the Yorkie went and got it with her just behind him, she wrestled it away from him and then took a route under the truck to bring it to me so he couldn't grab it back! I LOL I stopped after that. She did good today.
    Great to hear!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •