I have an interesting situation and I'm hoping someone can help. I have a 1 1/2 year old GSP who has been hunted over this last season. One hunting trip I noticed she did not enjoy multiple shots fired by my hunting buddy. After a few more shots she came to heal. We stopped hunting mostly because she would not break heal. The next outting she was startled with the flush of the bird. I stopped and we backed up to getting her "birdie" again. That went fine and we worked our way back to caps and birds. She again would come to heal after a few shots. On the last outting she ran to the truck. I did get her to come back but my fear is she has become gun shy. I don't want to continue along the track I'm in because I'm not getting the results I was hoping for. Her prey drive is great, she locks up on points but we have gone backwards with gun fire.
We've tried: Gundog conditioning CD, no problems. Banging pots and pans, hitting plywood with the hammer at feeding time all without a problem. Shots in the field cause her to look back and now it looks like it has gotten worse. I love her as a pet but we're wanting her to hunt, that's what she loves to do as long as I have a silencer.
Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
The first couple of seasons hunting has to be fun and filling the game bag has to be secondary. Fire one shot at flushing game with the shooter being not over the dog. While the dog is on point, walk in at an angle in front of the dog so that they can see you and flush the bird. Have a trustworthy friend or spouse fire only fire once from a short distance away. Firing from right over the dog exposes its sensitive ears to muzzle blast and the pressure wave. You must start over and gain the dogs confidence again. The first couple of seasons hunting with exhuberant friends can be detrimental to the process. Mulitple shots from multiple people is a lot of noise when the dog is already excited by the flush of the bird and the desire to chase.
Patience is the key to starting over.
Good luck, Dan