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Any tip? He's a dog that was supposed to be ready to go, well not quite. We threw bumpers with him all summer not knowing and now I'm feeling WTF. Please help with how to get him past it, awesome companion but needs to be a hunter as well. I'm not sure he ever hunted or retrieved live ducks. Help please.
 

· Dakota Cyclone
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I would start out with a small guage shotgun or even BB gun about 100 yards away and have someone pet him/her when shot. Then throw some fun bumpers for the dog in between. Move closer and closer until you are right on top of the dog without it getting bothered. Then move to higher guages. This will take some time but it can be fixed, just a lot of time and work.
 

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My lab was gun shy, and I was told that at feeding time, stand over the bowl of food banging pots and pans together. By the time he's so eager to get to the food, he wont care about the loud noise of the pans. Continue to do so at feeding time for a while. It didn't take long for my lab to get used to the noises and he hasn't been bothered by the sound of a gun in a long time.
 

· Dakota Cyclone
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My lab was gun shy, and I was told that at feeding time, stand over the bowl of food banging pots and pans together. By the time he's so eager to get to the food, he wont care about the loud noise of the pans. Continue to do so at feeding time for a while. It didn't take long for my lab to get used to the noises and he hasn't been bothered by the sound of a gun in a long time.
I don't know if I would advise this as much. I had a buddy do that and it just made it worse. He was also given his dog by a owner who we believe beat it so that probably had something to do with it as well.
 

· Giant
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My buddy had a gun shy lab, and he got it over it by hitting together sticks at first while they were playing, then working up to steel stakes, then a stick on a pot, then pots together, then pistol snap caps, then .22, then shotgun.

Painstaking, and you have to back off whenever they shy at a level, but he got the dog over it eventually.
 

· Pelican
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You could Purchase or borrow a dummy launcher that shoots 22 blanks. That noise will then go hand and hand with retreiveing. That and its cool as hell to watch how far those bumpers shoot.

Buddy aproach.....have your buddy fire a shotgun when you throw the bumper. Make your buddy start out at like 30-40yds away and then have him move closer as you continue to throw and fire.

Cap gun over your dog when they're feeding
 

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I'd advise against the dummy launcher unless your dog is REALLY into retrieving, and it sounds like that's not the case. Some of them aren't much quieter than a shotgun. You could very well ruin his retrieving by associating the two.

As the others have said. Start small and far away and give 'em some loving while the noise is happening or have him doing something he loves. It'll take some time and there are no shortcuts.

If you are still working on it in the spring there's a retriever club (www.eihra.net) that could be useful. Other guys are shooting and making noise so you can pay attention to your pup. Plus they are full of knowledge. They train at Hawkeye WMA by North Liberty.

Good luck.
 

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Any tip? He's a dog that was supposed to be ready to go, well not quite. We threw bumpers with him all summer not knowing and now I'm feeling WTF. Please help with how to get him past it, awesome companion but needs to be a hunter as well. I'm not sure he ever hunted or retrieved live ducks. Help please.
When I purchased my male lab from a breeder they made all these promises about the dog how he was introduced to gun fire etc. Once I got him home an acclimated and started working with him he was deathly afraid of loud noises and would cower constantly and try to hide. Breaking him of being gun shy was a very timely process so that is my first bit of advice and that is patience. When we started breaking him of loud noise we started with a simple kids cap gun purchased from Walmart. We stood 20 yards away and would work on tasks like Sit and Stay as well as retrieve's. If he would cower or flinch in anyway we would move further apart. I continued to do this until he was completely ok with noise right next to him. After that we went to a .410 doing the same thing but we started much further apart normally 100 yards. Then we went to a 12 gauge. Once we the noise next to him we made sure he was ok with this a few times before moving on. It might have been over kill but I was afraid of moving in the wrong direction. Now he will sit next to me hunting without a twitch. This took several months to do and at first he could really only focus for about 20-30 minutes a day and we broke the routine up so he didn't get used to what we were teaching. Hope this helps.
 

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Follow this video - if you're already dealing with gun shyness, start with just clapping or a .22 at a good distance, then work your way up to a shotgun.

If you see hesitation or flinching - stop immediately and start all over again. It may take quite a bit of time - it may happen in one session, so be patient.

 

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Thanks for the replies guys, should any/all work on a 2 year old? I think I forgot to mention that. He is very timid and calm and a real cuddler I just feel bad for him.
 

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Thanks for the replies guys, should any/all work on a 2 year old? I think I forgot to mention that. He is very timid and calm and a real cuddler I just feel bad for him.
I may be completely wrong about this. But with him being a "softer" dog, he may associate the loud noise as punishment such as being yelled at, so with every time he doesn't cower or acknowledge the noise you my want to give lots of praise so he can associate the noise as a positive thing. Best of luck on your training.

Also don't be discouraged by the age. My dog is now 4 and finally starting to get it.
 

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As Iowawaterfowlerfever knows last year I ran into this with my dog and tell ya what theres nothing more discouraging going out on opener and the dog is gun shy. I shot around mine but nothing like what happened last year. 6 guys in a blind and I was sitting outside x 3 shots at sunrise can be more intimidating to a dog than just shooting a .22 around. and lets just say last year opener was way better than this year.



I talked to very good trainer and he knew my frustration. He said in the 30+ years of training and breeding labs hes never seen a dog ruined. He said hes seen a lot of them that are bad but never one ruined. That gave me hope. I started off banging bowls together while eating, but what I did that helped was got a cap gun. I would get her hyper and praising her and shoot in the other room, soon get closer and so on. then move to .22, and shotguns, but yes I would agree praising, and treats is what fixed my dog and now when you pull up shes fn ready and diving in! good luck man and dont get frustrated it may take time. Mine was fixed last year in 3 weeks, but I work everyday with her.

 

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Thanks again for all the replies, I'm not gonna give up.
 

· Dakota Cyclone
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As Iowawaterfowlerfever knows last year I ran into this with my dog and tell ya what theres nothing more discouraging going out on opener and the dog is gun shy. I shot around mine but nothing like what happened last year. 6 guys in a blind and I was sitting outside x 3 shots at sunrise can be more intimidating to a dog than just shooting a .22 around. and lets just say last year opener was way better than this year.



I talked to very good trainer and he knew my frustration. He said in the 30+ years of training and breeding labs hes never seen a dog ruined. He said hes seen a lot of them that are bad but never one ruined. That gave me hope. I started off banging bowls together while eating, but what I did that helped was got a cap gun. I would get her hyper and praising her and shoot in the other room, soon get closer and so on. then move to .22, and shotguns, but yes I would agree praising, and treats is what fixed my dog and now when you pull up shes fn ready and diving in! good luck man and dont get frustrated it may take time. Mine was fixed last year in 3 weeks, but I work everyday with her.

Is that a black duck in your first picture on opener?
 
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