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Old 12-20-2011, 08:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Kato is now 9 months old and has started training in PSA. He's had 3 or 4 sessions now. At the last training session they shot off a few rounds from a blank gun while we were doing obedience. Kato did not cower at all and was not afraid but he did become distracted by it. He kept looking in the direction of the shot. I tried to work him through the distraction as I normally would but as the shots continued he became more distracted and pretty much stopped his obedience. I'd say he almost shutdown on me which he has never done. It was his first exposure to gun shots and I think he would have been fine if they had stopped after 1 or 2 shots but instead they continued for several more. I stopped trying to push him through obedience at that point and let him do some jumps (fun/motion).

After a rest I took him out and we did the bitework which he did fine and he didn't seem at all bothered.

I am wondering if this is something that can be conditioned and if it is unusual. The helper said not to worry about it and hopefully he will come along with it.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The more he is exposed to it, the less he'll react. When Karlo hears a gunshot, he will look around but then carry on. The first couple times he heard it, it ramped him up some(whip) and he went into protection mode even though we were doing obedience. Because the helper was the one firing the gun, Karlo was thinking it was bitework time.
You did the right thing in changing up your training to distract him.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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We took Scarlett to Colonial Williamsburg yesterday. They fired a cannon twice and she was distracted the first time...then hid under a bench after the second one. Since cannon fire isn't a common occurrence around our home, we aren't too concerned.

Thunder does not bother her at all, but our last dog melted down everytime we had a storm.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Make sure that you are not reacting to him reacting. This can make an issue where one did not exist. I would ask them to give two shots, you release and play, then go back into OB, two shots, release and play. If the nerves are good he will stop noticing fairly quickly and there will not be a problem.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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He was not really reacting. He just looked away from me and towards the gunfire. He continued to work until the gunfire continued and with each shot I lost more of his attention until I could not get his attention back. I was not aware that they were even going to fire the gun. Next time I will ask for a more controlled scenario. Hopefully the weather will cooperate so that we can continue to train outside for a while so we can do this.
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Becoming distracted and not listening is a reaction
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I train neutrality to gunfire like this:

As a pup, or young dog, I take them to the range and park the car at a distance, windows closed. They become acclimated pretty quickly to the gunfire. Next, I take them out and play ball, or do some light OB at a distance. I keep it all fun, and don't pay any attention to the gunfire in the background.

Then, I move the vehicle a bit closer, with every session. I leave the windows up, or partially up, which muffles the sound a bit. Repeat as necessary: every dog is different, so their progression is very individual as well. I have had great luck with this method. I like a dog that is gunfire neutral. If the dog hears it, and glances toward it, then refocuses, I personally don't see that as faulty...maybe for strictly a sport dog there are point deduction issues, but I prefer a dog that is attentive to it's environment, so I don't personally have a big issue with it, though some may disagree.

I have considered using the gundog training CD's, and if anyone should know about gunfire issues, it should be the gundog people. I think it's important to steal....errrr...."borrow" every tool we can from other venues...maybe it will be very valid for the working dog crowd as well. I'll let you know how it works out if I give it a shot at some point. Since not everyone has the ability to be near a range with any frequency, this might be a viable option.

@Techie: Who are you training with? Did you end up linking up with Jeff R.? PM me if you prefer
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Last edited by Tim Connell; 12-26-2011 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks Tim, that's a good idea. Maybe I'll try to find a range around here.
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Old 01-08-2012, 02:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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We moved 5 weeks ago from the suburbs to the country. We hear nothing but gun shots now. My 1 1/2 yr old female gsd is fearful of the noise. She runs and hides. Any suggestions? Do we just not react to her when she does this? Any suggestions is appreciated.
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Old 01-08-2012, 03:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHawkins View Post
We moved 5 weeks ago from the suburbs to the country. We hear nothing but gun shots now. My 1 1/2 yr old female gsd is fearful of the noise. She runs and hides. Any suggestions? Do we just not react to her when she does this? Any suggestions is appreciated.
I have a dog that gets freaked out by gunshots, I got a Thundershirt for him and it really helps. Thundershirt | The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment
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