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Gunshy fears

I've got a 1 yr old maleGSP, grandfather FCDixielandRusty and father FC WindjammersCajun Boy. Beautiful dog, great nose. I am second owner of the dog, the previous owner said the dog has heard one shotgun blast in his life. He shot over the dog's first point at approx. 7 mos of age and he was "startled," but definetly not gunshy. Now that I have worked with the dog, I am afraid the dog is gunshy. When I got him he was scared of clapping and popping gum. He's over that, and seems to be almost over the capgun, but he will cower on occasion and come back to me. He seems to forget about it very quickly, and get back to hunting. I have followed the method of shortening the distance of firing, and have encorporated the capgun into feeding time. I have also fired it during retrieving sessions with frozen quail. Sometimes I think he is getting over it, and then he will cower and I will think that it is a lost cause. For example, he will make two retrieves with a capgun shot and then all the sudden cower after the third. I have been working with him since Thanksgiving with mixed success.

The old timers in my family tell me that I need to get him into a real quail situation and see if he will handle it. They say he either will or he won't, and I need to find out before I invest too much time with him. I work with him on a daily basis, spent decent amount of money on him, and hate to have to waste such a great nose. But if he is scared of a capgun sometimes, whats gonna happen around the 20 ga.?

Should I hunt the dog at the end of Jan.? Or call off this season and try next Oct.? Does he sound gunshy or maybe just gun-nervous?

Need Advice,
Gunshyness Fears.

This sounds like a nice dog that got off to a bad start. I would work the dog on birds in the field. Let him hunt and point and flush some birds for awhile, you need to leave the gun out of the picture until this dog is bird crazy. I can't tell you how many birds it will take each dog is different. When the dog is bird crazy you can start introducing the gun again. When the dog is ready put out 3 good flying birds at different places in the field. On the 1st one don't shoot, on the 2nd one if the dog is chasing hard fire the gun 1 time and watch his reaction if he stops chasing the bird that is a sign that the gun is still bothering him. If he stops chasing don't make a big deal out of it, just go and find the 3rd bird let him point and chase don't shoot on this one. It will take a few work outs but I think you will have this dog over the problem in a short time. Good luck and enjoy your dog..

Maurice Lindley
Lindley Kennels
803-243-4979 (Home)
803-243-3583 (Kennel)

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