Introduction to Gunfire-from Coon River Kennels for Hunters


First want to say that my method is different then other methods. I dont believe in making loud noises around pups when they are young, or during feeding time. I cringe when people take there dawgs to the trap shooting range, or tie dogs up and just start shooting. Gun shyness is man made, some dogs are more timid then others, and my method is designed to fit each individual dog. I have used this method to cure gun shy dogs. I want dogs to understand gun fire and to love it.

What do we want our dogs to love? Thats birds. I get my dogs to LOVE birds. I first start by properly introducing dogs to birds. I start with a live pigeon and clip one wings flight feathers. This way the bird can still fly but only for a short distance. I will take the pup and get them excited about the bird, I will allow the pup to chase as the bird is in my hand, and I will let the bird go. The pup should chase the bird until it hits the ground. I will let the dog catch the bird, I will take the bird before it gets beat up to bad. I will end the session as the pup wants more. I will repeat sessions until I am confident that the dog loves birds. I will then take a freshly killed pigeon and have the dog start retrieving that, I then will go to a frozen pigeon, and then to a fresh killed duck, to a frozen duck. After I have the dog retrieving frozen ducks in training, and loving it its time for intro to gun fire.

You will need two people to help you, one person will shoot the gun, and the other is a bird boy. Now its important that you have been using bird boys in training long before you start introducing gun fire. The only new thing I want the dog to experience is gun fire. I always start with 22 pistol with blanks. I will have the dog at heal, I will have the bird boy in front of me about 30 to 40 yards, and the gun man behind about 40 to 50 yards. I will signal for the bird boy to throw the bird, I will send the dog for the retrieve, and as the dog is running I will signal for the gun man to shoot. Its important for the gun to fire before the dog reaches the bird. Its the dog handler to watch his dog. If the dog shows no sign of being bothered by the gun fire, I will signal for the gun man to move closer, If the dog seems nervous I will move the gun man farther back. When the dog comes back with the bird give tons of praise. If the dog is not bothered I will have the gun man move up 15 yards, and do it again. I will slowly have the gun man move closer until he is standing right behind us. If the dog does not seemed bothered I will have the bird boy shoot the gun and throw the bird. This would conclude this session. I will come back the next day with 22 live rounds, and do the same thing. I will come back the third day with 4-10 shotgun, fourth day with a 20 gauge, and then a 12 gauge. I will train for a couple of days having the bird boy shooting a shot gun and then throwing the bird. After I am confident that the dog loves the shot from the shot gun because he knows he is going to get a bird. I have the gun man come with a second shotgun and do the same thing again. The bird boy will shoot a shotgun and as the dog is running for the mark the gunman will shoot a second shotgun. I will keep working on this until the gun man is shooting right behind the dog. I do this because I have gotten dogs in that the owners swear that in training the dog was just fine with the shot gun in training, but the first day in the duck boat or blind 4 guys got up to shoot and the dog is hiding. Dogs need also to understand multiple gun fire. I know my method is alot of work, but I have never had a gun shy dog using this method. I have cured gun shy dogs with this method. Good luck everyone!!!!!!!!!!

I am not saying that you have to follow a specific time line, I used the 1st 2nd third day as a example. Each dog is different and some go faster through the program and some slower. If you have a gun shy dog I will take months to complete the program. Good luck.

If you are training for competition in field trials or hunt tests you will initially want the bird boy to fire the gun starting with a starter pistol and then change to a 12 gauge and then if you are doing hunt test change to a duck call and gun in back and move up.

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