Skip to main content

Properly Introducing Your Dog to Gunfire

This step will make or break a gun dog, so tread lightly and take your time.

Properly Introducing Your Dog to Gunfire

One way to increase the likelihood of a puppy developing gun shyness is to grab the old 12-gauge, go out to the training area, sit your puppy directly beside you and startle him by cranking off rounds. At this point, you have, by your own devices, created a potential training nightmare, one that the puppy may never get over.

Here's the proper way to introduce gunfire.

I introduce all my pups to gunfire only after they are retrieving well. To accomplish this task, I set my four-shooter launcher out at 100 yards from where I intend to have the puppy sit. I then heel pup over to that predetermined point, command "sit" and then "watch," press the tone button to get pup's attention, and fire a dummy from the launcher that will land in a predetermined spot approximately 20 yards from our position. At this point, the pup should watch the dummy from the time it leaves the launcher until it hits the ground. After a slight delay, I have pup retrieve the dummy.

Introducing-Your-Dog-to-Gunfire


The puppy has now started to associate the sound of gunfire with the dummy and most importantly with his reward, the retrieve. I give the puppy four dummies each day and also move him closer to the dummy launcher until he is sitting directly beside the launcher (in usually four or five days). If at any time the pup flinches, drops or exhibits body language that I deem to be a possible negative reaction, I simply move the dummy launcher further away from pup, thereby reducing the noise level. I repeat the sequence until the desired reaction is achieved — a happy puppy.


When I am totally satisfied with the pup's reaction to the gunfire associated with the launch, I then use my shoulder-mounted launcher not only to further desensitize the pup to gunfire, but also to train the pup to watch the movement of the gun barrel so that later on he will watch for upland birds or waterfowl based on the gun movement. I have found that this makes his transition training to actually hunting scenarios much smoother and faster. From this point in the progression of the pup's training, I use hand thrown, winger thrown, or dummy launchers in all training scenarios.

For the past 15 years, Bill Gibson has studied, trained and learned how to apply low-force training methods from masters in the United Kingdom, Ireland and U.S. Bill and his dogs have won Team and Gundog Challenges in Northern Ireland. He has also served as a judge for the British Field Trial Society of America. A retired law enforcement officer, Bill is the Director of Gundog Operations for Mossy Oak GameKeeper Kennels.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Arkansas Snow Geese

Arkansas Snow Geese

Wildfowl Editor Skip Knowles took this short video showing all the Snow Geese flying. Let's just say, he had a very good hunt!

Picking a Puppy

Picking a Puppy

Wildfowl contributor Mark Romanack shares advice about choosing your next retriever.

Franchi 12-Gauge Affinity Semiauto Shotgun

Franchi 12-Gauge Affinity Semiauto Shotgun

Craig Boddington and Eric Poole take a look at the new modern Franchi Affinity shotgun.

Puppy Training Getting Started

Puppy Training Getting Started

Puppy Training Getting Started

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Chef Jacques Haeringer shows you a great tasting goose legs recipe that will satisfy everybody at the dinner table.Beer-Braised Goose Legs Recipe Recipes

Beer-Braised Goose Legs Recipe

Chef Jacques Haeringer

Chef Jacques Haeringer shows you a great tasting goose legs recipe that will satisfy everybody...

Develop the duck dog of your dreams by paying attention to neurological needs.Early Neurological Stimulation for Better Duck Dogs Retriever

Early Neurological Stimulation for Better Duck Dogs

Tony J. Peterson

Develop the duck dog of your dreams by paying attention to neurological needs.

For a good aquatic intro for your pup, simply take it easy.Basic Water Training for Your Retriever Retriever

Basic Water Training for Your Retriever

Bill Gibson

For a good aquatic intro for your pup, simply take it easy.

The Prairie Potholes Region is alive with waterfowl and a perfect place to test a new shotgun.Testing the Savage Renegauge on North Dakota Waterfowl Stories

Testing the Savage Renegauge on North Dakota Waterfowl

Skip Knowles - May 19, 2020

The Prairie Potholes Region is alive with waterfowl and a perfect place to test a new shotgun.

See More Trending Articles

More Retriever

Healthy weight is a moving target that you should aim for all season with your duck dog.Achieving a Healthy Weight for Your Duck Dog Retriever

Achieving a Healthy Weight for Your Duck Dog

Tony J. Peterson

Healthy weight is a moving target that you should aim for all season with your duck dog.

Make time for these three drills every month, and watch your pup prosper.3 Duck Dog Drills to Practice Every Month Retriever

3 Duck Dog Drills to Practice Every Month

Tom Dokken

Make time for these three drills every month, and watch your pup prosper.

Training never ends - try these quick drills. Daily Drills for Duck Dog Consistency Retriever

Daily Drills for Duck Dog Consistency

Tom Dokken

Training never ends - try these quick drills.

See More Retriever

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Wildfowl subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now