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How to Avoid Gun Shyness with Your Pheasant Dog

Best Pheasant Hunting Dog Tips

Our fear is that they fear. Gun-shyness in pheasant hunting 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? Tim Weddington, a German Shorthair Pointer breeder and trainer from Kansas, offers some advice on training dogs to acclimate to loud, sudden noises.

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

Easy Gun-shyness Prevention Practices

Kansas Pheasant Hunting Lodge - A flushing pheasant from an early season hunt in Kansas.

A flushing pheasant from an early season hunt in Kansas.

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. 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.

Tim has been breeding and raising German Shorthair hunting dogs for more than a dozen years. In his experience, Ten times out of ten, the gun-shyness 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.