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Re: How Do You Introduce Guns?

The Ryman Setters Forum Forums Training How Do You Introduce Guns? Re: How Do You Introduce Guns?


Glad to see a good discussion about this important topic.  One thing I have found is that although everyone does gun introduction in basically the same manner, sometimes from others we learn a little different step or technique to add to our own.  

I thought that I might share an experience I had with a young gun shy dog that I was able to turn around, but I hope the story might help to prevent someone else from making the mistakes made that led to him being gun shy in the first place.  He was a young dog that I had bred and sold to very nice folks who had owned rymans for many years.  In his puppy months they sent me dandy photos of him pointing naturalized quail around their southern winter home and said he was doing great.  But the next spring they called with a different story.  They said that one day they shot a shotgun over him when he was pointing the quail – just shot the gun into the air (it was not open season) and no other gun intro had been done.  They did that a second time and noticed that he had flinched and left point.  They recognized a problem developing and a friend of theirs recommended sending him to a trainer they knew.  Just a couple weeks after being at the trainer they got the call to come pick up their pup, that he was hopelessly gun shy.  

That was when they called me.  Pretty sheepish that they had not consulted with me earlier.  I said I needed to see him so he came and spent a couple of months with me.  When I first tested him I thought it was hopeless, he was that damaged.   But during his time with me he went from being fearful of even the sight of a gun or checkcord and blinking birds to pointing solidly and chasing at the flush with shotgun being fired over him.  That fall and ever since they had a successful hunting season with him.  I won’t hijack this thread by going into my long and detailed process.  I have to admit that I was a bit nervous when they headed into hunting season as I’m sure his owners were as well, but there was/is a happy ending and they have their hunting dog back.  

The mistakes I want to point out for this discussion were: 1) firing a shotgun over him without other gun intro and maybe more importantly, 2) taking him to a trainer who may be a pro and terrific with other dogs but was obviously a poor match for a young ryman, and 3) not contacting their breeder at the first sign of a problem.  

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