Now that we have our pups crazy about retrieves both on land and in the water, at 12-15 weeks old, we introduce them to gunfire. By now, they are completely settled into our training routine, familiar with their surroundings and the other dogs. We start off in this phase shooting .22 blanks while they are eating. We do not stand right at their door, we usually start 20-30 yards away from them. We shoot while their head is in the food bowl, watching to make sure they do not flinch or coward down. This is always a very critical stage, we never rush this part.
If a dog cowards we stop immediately. We allow them to finish their food with no other shots, or loud noise. The next day we simply clap or slap two boards together and watch their reaction. If they are good with the boards at a distance, we continue this until we can move directly in front of their door. We’ve seen this last a couple days to about a week or so. But you’re on the puppies time now, do not push them. Once you are slapping two boards together directly in front of them, graduate the next day to .22 gunfire at a distance of 50+ yards. Repeat daily until you can move directly in front of their door. Remember the pup will tell you what the comfortable distance is.
On the other hand, the pup who doesn’t even pick their head out of the bowl with the first day of gunfire, we move to about 10 yards on day two and fire multiple shots.
Each time we are making sure the pup is eating first. Within a week you should be able to shoot a .22 standing at their door. If that is the case, we will begin shooting our .22 when they are in a training session. With the pup standing or sitting beside us, we throw the bumper, and as soon as the pup takes off to retrieve, we shoot the .22 into the ground. This muffles the noise. We do that just to check the pup and make sure they don’t spin around looking at us confused.
This entire drill is to teach them that gunfire is simply background noise and once they hear it, there should be something to go retrieve. In the weeks to come, we will be going in depth about more of our gunfire drills and all we can get accomplished by teaching it at a young age. The drills will become more advanced and eventually we will graduate from the .22 to a .12 gauge. Remember take your time, pay attention to the body language of your pup so you do not make them gun shy.
We currently have Bear, a 5 month old black male for sale. We mentioned him in last month’s article, we are continuing in our basic obedience with him. He will be completed in basics around the Thanksgiving time frame. As on all pups that we sale here at AB Kennels with training, we offer monthly payments for a dog. With the final payment due before the client takes possession of the dog. If you’re looking for a loving and loyal family pet who is kid friendly, give us a call.
Capt. Nathan Beabout
N&M Sportsman’s Adventures
AB Kennels/M2 Breeding