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Old 04-09-2009, 10:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Too old to desensitize to gun shots?

If you don't have access to guns or a shooting range, I had my dad light single firecrackers from a distance while I worked with onlead heeling exercises. Not quite a gun, but the noise and smell are similar.

For the OP, it sounds like the dog was fine for many years, and is now having major problems, am I correct? This makes me think that perhaps something happened, perhaps while you were not home, that gives her a negative association with the gun shots. I had a dog that never ever had a problem with storms until one day while I was at work there was a terrible hail storm that destroyed the metal awning above my front door. It had to be an awful noise, and she was then afraid of storms after that. Anytime after that incident that we had a storm, I got her to play with me, and work on some obedience work, praising every positive and neutral reaction to the storm. She has recovered from the incident, and storms no longer phase her.

There is a difference between dogs that genetically have weak nerves and dogs that experience a frightening incident. Do people who suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome have weak nerves? Probably not. May not be the same thing, but I think it's similar.
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Too old to desensitize to gun shots?

Quote:
Quote:There is a difference between dogs that genetically have weak nerves and dogs that experience a frightening incident. Do people who suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome have weak nerves? Probably not. May not be the same thing, but I think it's similar.
Actually, there is not. A totally sound dog is not going to be traumatized permanently by a single incident. The OP is concerned about the dog because it is a SAR dog, not a pet. The dog may or may not get over this. My dogs have survived hurricanes blowing through and gone back to work. Now, how often the OP's dog might be exposed to gunfire,I don't know. If that is the only noise that the dog reacts to, working career really might not be in jeopardy.
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:52 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Too old to desensitize to gun shots?

Well, I got my answer to my own question yesterday about how Lexi would react when out on a search ect with gun fire yesterday. I had the dogs out for their daily walk and play session yesterday on the property. I was in the back of our 10 acres when the shots started. Small caliber rapid fire. Lexi never reacted! Not so much as a head check in that direction. In fact the only dog to even show anything was my HRD dog who did one small head check in that direction and then kept playing.

So here is my question, why would Lexi show such a severe reaction when out in the yard but nothing when out with me? Am I the stability in this situation? When she has reacted in the yard I was not out with her at the time but I have walked out in the yard with her and she still just wants to get in the house.

Is this a situational behavior she has developed? Lexi has always been a confident secure dog when working, why would she be so much more reactive in the back yard? While yesterday pleased me greatly to see her so nonreactive it also adds to this puzzle.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Too old to desensitize to gun shots?

Quote:
Quote:Is this a situational behavior she has developed? Lexi has always been a confident secure dog when working, why would she be so much more reactive in the back yard? While yesterday pleased me greatly to see her so nonreactive it also adds to this puzzle.
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I would bet that something happened in your yard that is connected to the gunshots in close proximity to her. Gunfire at a distance is apparently not a problem for her
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