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I didnt want to hijack another thread that was going on but I was curious to this topic as it frequents somewhat regularly. I have an honest question. Is this a breed thing or what? I have only ever had setters and there is not one that I havent shot over at ten weeks old and have had quite a few and never ran into a problem. I always just put a couple birds out and let them point and chase around ten - eleven weeks old and shoot when they chase, and it seems like there is frequntly a post talking about 6 month to a year and a half old dogs being gun shy. Is this more of a problem with some of the other breeds? I have only ever used a blank gun in training and taken pups straight to the field hunting with a shotgun without so much as even a hesitation when the gun goes off, most of the time if there are more than one out they come running because they know a bird is probably dead. Just curious for some input, like I said its an honest question. Do any of you who have this problem think it is less prey drive in certain breeds, or is it just inaccurate timing by the trainer?
 

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To be honest my Pointer has never shown any signs of gun shyness with a cap gun or blank gun. I just prefer to play it safe and am waiting a while yet with the shotgun.
 

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I have an honest question. Is this a breed thing or what? I have only ever had setters and there is not one that I havent shot over at ten weeks old and have had quite a few and never ran into a problem.
Why would you ever question whether or not "gun shyness" is breed related - based on your own anecdotal experience. I've never had a GSP that was gun shy so perhaps that means that GSPs are genetically programed not to be gun shy. Perhaps your proper introduction of your dogs to the gun has a lot more to do with avoiding gun shyness than genetics. I can assure you that if you give me a setter pup or any other breed, I can guarantee 100% that I can make it gun shy - which of course I never would. There is absolutely no relationship between gun shyness and breed. Those dogs that are gun shy were made that way by their owners stupidity: "Hey Joe, let's take your pup out to the gun club tomorrow and see if it's gun shy." :tdo12: If it isn't there's a good chance it will be.

Hoppe's no.10
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Maybe a bit misworded on my part, I know gun shyness is man made, however do you think there are certain lines or breeds that could be more susceptible to becoming gun shy with a smaller margin of error in the training process? I am not going to generalize any one line of dogs, but I think that for EXAMPLE a certain line of setters could be less bold in general therefore being more at risk when encountering a situation like this if not careful. In that given line, if they come with a lot of prey drive, and biddability, I would think you could overcome a mistake along the way a bit easier? Do you see certain lines of GSP's that you would term "softer" to train? If so would you feel that a mistake around this line with a gun would be more detrimental as say one that generally tends to be more of a rugged line? As I said this was meant to be a discussion not a negative thread as words on here easily get twisted.
 

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I'm no trainer, but I think that it stands to reason that the softer the dog (of any breed) the more careful and deliberate you need to be with gun-breaking. I also believe that I've seen enough gun-broke young dogs of many breeds to suspect it's not really a breed characteristic.
 

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I would have to agree, it is a combination of the dogs temperment and experience. Nature-nurture. How much each can influence a pups development would be stricktly individual. A timid pup handled right could be fine. A bold pup subjected to Hoppes#10s Hypothetical training could be made to be gun shy. The question would be. Which can be rehabilitated? if either.
 

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I would think that genetics (not breed related) has to do some with it, just as it has to do with bird drive, range, ect. But main driver is the handler!!! What brings me to the point that if dog has enough bird drive, and gun fire is introduced to him properlly, with birds in the field, I am almoust certain that dog will not even notice the shot.
Dogs can focus only on one thing at the time, and if they are focused on chasing a bird and gun goes off, they will not even hear it, or not make anything significant of it.
So my point is if you distruct a dog with some activity that they really like, it would be reasonably easy to introduce a gunfire to him. Problem can happens when we take a dog in unfamiliar suroundings and dog in uneasy to start with, than we throw some birds at him and start shooting......:dizzy:
Any dog can be made a gun shy, but I bealive that any dog can be just fine with gun going off by his side, as long as you figure out what works best for that particular dog, unrelated to the breed or even breed lines.
 

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the way that the young dog is introduced to the gun is probably the most important factor. it's simply operant conditioning. if they associate the report of the gun with something pleasurable, then it's unlikely they will be gunshy. think of Pavlov's dogs that salilvate at the sound of the bell after being conditioned to expect food. and there is nothing more exciting or pleasurable to a young dog than the flush and chase of a wild bird. also the dog is farther away than when using a planted bird.

even horses, that are naturally fearful of loud noises can be trained to accept gunfire. it's a matter of doing it properly.

there probably is a difference among breeds. i've taken my sons jack russell trap shooting, something i wouldnt do with even my most experienced birddogs. and even young retirevers can lay in a blind all day with very heavy loads being discharged near them. probably differences in temperment, the same temperment that causes a setter to be fired up and run hard and far for long periods can make them more suseptible to gunshyness. laid back dogs that are bred for generations to lay still, are less so.

a person can do something several times and get away with it, but if the next time, it doesnt work, then you have a difficult problem to solve. the rule for training animals is the same as the physicians creed, "First, Do No Harm."
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I understand all of this and have never had a problem, I am just surprised at how often I read about this and was just curious if anyone had a reason other than poor timing or experience by the handler.
 

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Every one does things different, most dont allow the dog to show what it is, or what it has.......the first thing is all the whoa stuff, that is usually #1 thing on a new dog owners mind.......they dont even know if they have anything worth whoaing yet.....but that is 95% of what gets done first.

Dogs arent born gunshy, different breeds arent more common, its all in the people....and being in a hurry. Timing is everything...wrong thing at wrong time.....and it blows up. All dogs are different, work with what you have, on their terms......dog will always tell you when they are ready to move forward. Thanks Jonesy
 

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I think that tailcrackin and dogwhistle should really find a way to share the title of "Yoda" on this. Their observations and advice on this matter are sage in my opinion. :bowdown:
 

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Last year I had two dogs that I was working with one I still own(Falco) and the other one has been sold. But BOTH dogs were trained the same way introduced to the gun at 10 weeks and no problem with either one until 8 months Falco started flinching at the shot and til this day don't know why and he does not do it any more:dizzy: But the other pup had a much higher prey drive then Falco.
 

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...Dogs arent born gunshy.... Thanks Jonesy
Would anyone agree that certain individual dogs (not breeds) are born more susceptible to poor gun conditioning techniques?

I have pretty limited experience here, but of the two dogs I have now I'm pretty confident I could have shot off a 12 gauge over the one at 3 months and not seen a flinch but the other dog would have been scarred for life.
 

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Brad this is a good way to look at the dogs. Or lets say, pay attention to them. People dont look at what they got, or focus on what they look at. You have seen in many of my help out posts, that all dogs are different, and even littermates can be exact opposites. The way I focus on work is to see what I have when new dog arrives, first is bird desire......the rest of the stuff doesnt matter. I say that with the hunting breeds....bird desire is number one.......if the dog doesnt have some desire for birds.....we need to work an focus on it first. Then the rest of it will work itself into place. Small steps in training, will always turn out more successful. The dog doesnt get confused, confusion is alot what causes boogers. Work the program of yours to fit the dog......not make the dog fit into the program. This could lead into a very good learning topic. Good start with everyone thats chiming in. Thanks Jonesy
 

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the way i go about things, i dont try to have a dog a "trained" before we go out and hunt wild birds. i run them a lot to get them in condition and condition them to keep track of me in the field. i give them some birds to point, but i try to quit when i'm ahead and dont overdo. show a pup enough pen raised birds and he's going to start making mistakes. i dont want that to become a habit.

a pup is usually about 15months or 6 months in his first season, depending on when he was born. i dont go hunting to kill birds, i go hunting to see my dogs work, birds are just a means to that end. so i dont plan on killing any birds during the first season. watching a bird drop is what can encourage a young dog to creep in and try to catch it himself. if he's doiing well and being very staunch while i take a lot of time before flushing and not busting a bird when i go into flush, then i will pop some blanks from my K22. (handiest handgun made and the best .22 revolver).

if he's doing well with that and staying completely utterly staunch, then, especially with a pup over a year, i will kill some birds and see how it goes.

the shooting conditioning is all part of it in the field and comes very easily and naturally and the dog is so fired up, that i doubt he barely hears the report of the gun. no need to "gun condition" them at home, it just flows right in with everything else under better conditions.

if you put your dog and good dogwork first, everything else will follow. i dont look down at folks that shoot birds. i carry a gun a lot of the time. but shooting a bird is ok, but it doesnt match standing and watching a pup racked on point will the seconds/minutes tick off.
 

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i think it's largely genetic. some breeds are bred to be cautious; setters, border collies. others bred to be the opposite, hounds, retrievers.

but as long as you set things up where gunfire is associated with a very pleasant and exciting thing, you shouldnt have a problem. if you try to force it on them, then it is much more likely to be a problem.
 
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