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How to Avoid Gun Shot Shyness with Your Pheasant Dog

Our fear is that they fear. Gun-shyness in upland dogs creates a rotten feeling in a dog owner’s stomach.

All that an owner hoped for is now on the verge of collapse. How does this happen, and what can dog owners do when not in the field to prepare their pups for gun shots?

Chris Chandler, a German Shorthaired Pointer breeder and trainer from Kansas at C.R. Gundogs, offers some advice on training dogs to acclimate to loud, sudden noises.

”Always associate noise with something positive,” Chandler said. From the time an owner first starts to train his pup, this habitual practice needs to be in place.

For example, Chandler bangs metal feed pans together right before he feeds his puppies. He talks loudly around the puppies as well.

Furthermore, he will throw the food in the pan to make a loud crash and even bang against the pen during feeding time.

The pups soon associate something good—feeding—with all this loud noise.

Another easy practice a dog owner can try in his or her back yard is when training a pup for obedience.

“When correcting your dog, don’t jump up and yell at them,” Chandler explained. This teaches a negative feeling in the pup and associates that negative, fearful feeling with a sudden, loud noise.

These practices are easily accomplished in the back yard. A controlled shooting area or the hunting field should not be the only place the pup becomes used to loud noises.

Chandler has been breeding and raising GSPs in Kansas for more than a dozen years. In his experience, he said, “Ten times out of ten, the gun shy dog seems to be created by the owner.”

So, a dog owner doesn’t have to rely completely on a .22-caliber pistol and a training session in the field to train his or her pup about noise and gun shots. Owners should try some positive associations, and see what difference that makes in the pup.

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